This is a testing road, a nasty road. It threads its serpentine way through the Tuscan hills without a straight section of asphalt for miles. It’s mainly second gear stuff, with half a turn of steering input left then right, then left, and so on, interjected regularly with a hairpin. I’m struggling to imagine a car that would be faster through here than a Porsche Cayman S. And I’m including a 911 Carrera in that prediction. Rarely have I felt so bolted into a car, so soon after getting behind the steering wheel.
Why is this? Chiefly, it’s to do with the Cayman’s abilities as an overall package. The balance of the chassis is sublime: it cuts these corners into ribbons, turning in briskly and unfailingly, and gripping so hard – especially on 19in wheels with PASM – that your sides start to ache. At times either the front or rear of the car loses grip, but because I can feel what’s going on through the typically accurate steering and the seat of my pants, it becomes a dialogue with the car, rather than a series of nasty surprises. And matters move onto a different level again with the optional ceramic brakes fitted: eye wateringly expensive, but the king of the late brakers, every time.
Porsche may wince at the phrase, but the Cayman is effectively a Boxster coupe. Under that sweeping rear glass lies a 185-litre boot and a new 3.4-litre flat-six, which marries 911 and Boxster parts along with some bespoke items of its own such as the crankshaft. The result is, predictably, a power output shy of a regular Carrera but comfortably above a Boxster S, with 295bhp. It has a character all of its own, however: more raw than a Boxster’s and rougher than a 911’s, with a noticeable sucking sound from the air intake at higher revs.