To answer this question correctly, you have to consider many different aspects of potential car ownership. Aspects such as your budget, what you will use your car for, interior and luggage space, performance, and depreciation all need to be carefully considered before purchasing your Porsche.
Porsche Cayman models are fun, compact, two-seater coupe sports cars. They are not made for daily-driver purposes per se, but the newer models can manage most situations, except practicality and interior space.
If you are looking for a fun sports car, the Cayman is a great choice. It costs less than the 911, but it does offer an exciting Porsche experience. Some might even argue that the Cayman is the more fun sports car of the two.
Budget: Expensive, but cheaper than the 911
Your budget is obviously the main point of consideration when buying a new car. The newest 2021 718 Porsche Cayman costs around $60k and offers a 2.0L 4-cylinder turbocharged engine. The top of the line Porsche Cayman GT4 model costs around $100k and has a sonorous naturally aspired flat 6 engine.
Porsche is rather infamous for plenty of additional options on hand, this means that if you want a decently optioned-out Cayman, you are looking at a fairly expensive car. Some Porsche options enthusiasts consider features such as the Adaptive Sport Seats for $3465, or the LED Headlights that cost $1170 to be essential.
If you want the Porsche PDK dual-clutch automatic, it will cost you another $3200. If you want Porsche Ceramic Brakes, they will set you back for an eyewatering $7400. Upgraded Burmester Audio – $4690, Navigation – $1730, Pain to Sample – $5500 at a minimum!
These prices are incredibly inflated due to Porsche making a limited amount of cars per year. Most profit Porsche accumulates is through add-on options. Porsche is one of the most profitable car brands on the market though, and the options prices certainly do reflect that.
Sporty Caymans offer a dynamic driving experience
Porsche Cayman models are purpose-built 2-seater sports cars that compromise on comfort and luxury in favor of sportiness and agility. This does not mean that these cars are not luxurious or comfortable, but they are not the best luxury option in this price category.
Porsche Caymans excel in a dynamic driving environment. This means that they are not built for dull constant pace highway driving. To own a Porsche Cayman, you have to be able to utilize the dynamic capabilities, otherwise, it doesn’t make sense to own a Cayman.
They are also fairly capable on a track, as even the base model Cayman offers 300hp and a balanced chassis and weight distribution. If you are predominantly using your car for shorter journeys in the city, you are better off buying a more comfortable and practical alternative.
But if you are the type of driver that prefers to take the scenic route, even if it means that you are going to spend more time on the road, the Cayman is built for you.
Interior, luggage space, and depreciation
When it comes to interior space, Porsche Cayman/Boxster models are far from the best options in this price category. They are fairly compact in almost every regard, as this enables the car to be more agile and dynamically capable.
If you are predominantly driving by yourself, or just a single passenger, the Cayman does offer sufficient space. When it comes to luggage space, Porsche Cayman models offer 2 trunk spaces front and back, and combined they offer more luggage space than the larger 911 model does.
Value-wise, the Cayman is not as good as most 911 models because it tends to lose more than half of its value in the first 5 years of ownership. This means that buying a brand new Cayman is not a sound financial decision, but buying a 5-year-old used Porsche Cayman certainly is.
It’s also worth mentioning that some Cayman models, like the $100k Cayman GT4, and the imminent GT4 RS usually hold their value a lot better compared to regular Cayman models.
Is a Porsche Cayman worth it if I have a family?
Well, you have to ask your spouse that question. If you own an additional family car on the side, then it will make more sense to make room for it in the garage, of course. A Porsche Cayman is a fun, thrilling sports car, but at the same time the Cayman offers many of the latest safety features, and the car, in general, is considered fairly safe.
If you do not own a second car, then obviously it’s a poor choice for a family because the Cayman only has 2 seats. You might want to consider the 911, but only if you have a younger child because the back seats in the 911 are not large enough for fully grown adults or long-legged teenagers.
Which generation of the Cayman is the best one to buy?
Well, it depends on your budget. The latest 718 models offer the most comfort and luxury features, but the previous-gen Cayman models are usually the ones to buy if you are looking for a superior sports car experience.
This does not mean that the older models are more dynamically capable, but they do offer a naturally aspirated engine throughout the range, and many Porsche enthusiasts believe that the 2012-2016 Cayman models are the peak Cayman models.
The first and second-generation Cayman models are a bit more questionable. The first-gen Cayman had some engine issues in the earlier days, and the early 2nd gen Cayman models were also kind of questionable. However, if you manage to find a well-maintained and documented example, the low price certainly makes it a tempting proposition.
Is the Porsche Cayman a poor man’s 911?
Some people consider the Porsche Cayman to be a poor man’s 911, but this is far from true because the Porsche Cayman offers a completely different engine layout and placement, and the handling and performance characteristics are miles apart between the two. Some car magazines believe that the 2016 GT4 Cayman is a better sports car than most 911s.
The previous-gen Porsche Cayman GT4 is widely considered as one of the best Porsche sports cars of the modern era, and it’s safe to say that the Cayman is not a poor man’s 911, rather an equally impressive entry-level Porsche sports car.