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Porsche Cayman 987: Buying guide and review (2005-2012)

Porsche Cayman 987: Buying guide and review (2005-2012) Classic and Performance Car
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For years, Porsche 911 fans claimed that there would only ever be one true Porsche sports coupe. First came the Porsche 928, more of a GT than an all-out sports car, and the 911 remained king. The 944 and 968 models were certainly sporty, but no match for the rear-engined and much more powerful 911s. Head down a twisty road in a Cayman however, and you might just change your tune. 
Released in 2005 in top of the range S form, the Cayman was much more than just a hardtop Boxster. It may have shared a lot of componentry with its stablemate, but its increased rigidity and sportier set-up gave the new coupe a very definite edge. 
Now in its second generation, the Cayman range has developed a loyal following thanks to its excellent handling, precise steering and everyday usability. The good ones have started to firm up in value so now seems like a good time to delve into what it takes to get a great used one. 

Which Cayman to buy?

The 3.4-litre 295bhp Cayman S arrived first, joined the following year by the base 245bhp 2.7-litre Cayman. The less powerful car had a five-speed ‘box as standard, but the six-speed manual from the S or a five-speed Tiptronic could be optioned. The limited edition Cayman S Sport was launched in 2008 and featured 303bhp, PASM, a sports exhaust and some individual touches to differentiate it from the rest of the range. 
The mid-life face-lift came in 2009 and some welcome changes were made across the range. The engines were upgraded, both losing the troublesome RMS seals, the S cars gained direct fuel injection along with 25bhp while the non-S models got a 200cc increase and an additional 20bhp. The PDK double clutch transmission replaced the ageing Tiptronic gearbox, the five-speed ‘box was dropped and visually, LED lighting and revised wheels and colour palettes were offered.
Standard equipment was not exactly generous, but in truth, there were few extras that significantly improved the driving experience. Worthwhile options to look out for are PASM (active suspension management) which improves the ride, especially on 19 inch wheels, the sports exhaust system and the LSD which could be optioned on the last Gen II cars. While the early Tiptronic boxes work well enough, the PDK is a far greater setup. It’s of course the manuals that most people went for when new, and the one you will want for the more engaging experience. 
For the ultimate Gen 2 Cayman, the R is the one you will want. With 330bhp and a limited slip diff, it was the default choice in its segment – eclipsing a base 911 around a track too. 
As a daily driver the sweet spot in the range has to be the Gen 2 base model 2.9 Cayman. Well balanced and with enough power to put a smile on your face, this mid-engined sports car is about as good as it gets. The lower levels of grip and more pliant suspension are better suited to bumpy UK roads too.

Performance and specs

Gen II Porsche Cayman S
Engine 3436cc, 24 valve Boxer-six 
Power 321bhp @ 7400rpm 
Torque 273lb.ft @ 4500-5800rpm
Top speed 180mph 
0-62mph 5.0seconds 
Fuel consumption 32.1mpg 
Gearbox Six-speed manual

Dimensions and weight

Wheelbase 2475mm
Length 4380mm
Width 1801mm
Height 1295mm
Weight 1320kg

Common problems

Pre-2009 Caymans, as well as any Porsche using the same block (First two generations of Boxster and first two generations of water cooled 911) are all susceptible to IMS bearing failure, bore scoring or rear main seal leakage. Many cars have gone on to cover 200,000 miles without any issues while a handful have failed far sooner than that. Keep calm, arm yourself with knowledge, and remember that the percentage of cars affected is very low:

• A noisy idle can indicate an impending Intermediate Shaft (IMS) bearing failure. Check for evidence of previous engine rebuilds or repairs.
• Excessive smoke on a cold start and/or high oil consumption may mean that the cylinder bores are scored. Check for an oily exhaust pipe. If unsure a bore scope should be used to check the condition of the cylinder walls.
• Less of an issue are the Rear Main Seals (RMS) which tend to leak a little just to let you know there is still oil in the engine. These can be replaced at the next service but heavy leaking should be checked sooner.
• With all the above issues, the services of a Porsche specialist can be invaluable in providing peace of mind before a purchase.
• While the engines are strong (aside from the points listed above) Gen I cars may develop cylinder head warping if tracked regularly, Gen II cars had four oil pickups (up from two) alleviating the problem. Whether driven hard or gently, changing the oil frequently is highly recommended.
• Specialists can check the ECU to see whether a car has been over-revved, warped discs and non-Porsche specification tyres may also indicate neglect.
• The Gen I cars can suffer from premature front suspension wear and corrosion of the exhaust mountings. Check for knocks and rattles when on the test drive.
• Multiple owners and low mileages may mean lots of cold starts and short trips so don’t be put off by higher mileage examples.
• Cooling systems can develop leaks from road debris damaging the front mounted radiator.

Model history

2005: Porsche Cayman S launched featuring 295bhp 3.4-litre boxer motor. Six-speed manual and five-speed Tiptronic gearboxes available
2006: 245bhp 2.7-litre Cayman launched
2008: Cayman S Sport edition introduced, power up to 303bhp, sports exhaust and PASM standard – 700 built
2009: Mid-life face-lift on all models, 7-speed PDK gearbox replaces Tiptronic unit. PCM (Porsche Communication Management) is upgraded offering touchscreen operation. Cayman S get power upgrade to 320bhp. Base Cayman receives new DFI 2.9l engine pushing power up to 265bhp
2011: Cayman S Black Edition with bespoke trim and lightweight Cayman R with 330bhp and LSD introduced
2012: 981 Cayman launched in late 2012 phasing out the 987 Cayman

Owners clubs, forums and websites

• www.porscheclubgb.com – UK Porsche Club
• www.caymanoc.com – Cayman owners club
• www.rennlist.com – Porsche Forum

Summary and prices

A high-mileage pre-facelift 2006 2.7-litre Cayman starts at £12,000 while an ’05 3.4S is not much more and provides a significant performance boost. Avoid ultra-low mileage multiple owner cars, and sketchy service histories.

The Gen II 2.9-litre Cayman can be found from £18,000 and is a well-balanced choice. At the other end of the scale the 911 baiting Cayman R starts at £40,000 and Gen II S models can be found from £24,000. The capabilities of the Cayman are aptly demonstrated by how fastidious Porsche were in stopping it from eclipsing the 911, get one now while they are still underrated and undervalued.
Words: John Tallodi
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Last updated: 14th Oct 2016
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Porsche Cayman
12450 89000 GBP
  • Porsche Cayman

    £49,990 £49,990

    Variant name:Coupe S ,Derivative:S ,Variant: 3.4 S 2dr PDK Porsche Cayman 3.4 S 2dr PDK

    • Year: 2015
    • Mileage: 14015 mi
    • Engine size: 3.4
    For sale
    £49,990 £49,990
    Dick Lovett-Porsche Centre - Swindon
    01793 615 888 View contact number
  • Porsche Cayman

    £35,500 £35,500

    Variant name:24V ,Derivative:981 ,Variant: 2.7 24V COUPE 2 DOOR, HEATED FRONT SEATS, AIR CONDITIONING, TINTED WINDOWS ALL ROUND, 18 INCH ALLOY WHEELS THIS CAR HAS BEEN HAND PICKED BY STEBBINGS, FULLY VALETED TO THE HIGHEST STANDARD! IT COMES SUPPLIED WITH UPTO DATE SERVICE HISTORY , HPI CHECKED AND CLEAR. PLEASE VISIT OUR WEBSITE FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO VIEW OVER 500 MORE VEHICLES! LOW RATE FINANCE AND PART EXCHANGE AVAILABLE. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained, however, errors may occur. Do not rely entirely on this information but confirm with us about items which may affect your decision to purchase.

    • Year: 2015
    • Mileage: 20831 mi
    • Engine size: 2.7
    For sale
    £35,500 £35,500
  • Porsche Cayman

    £29,995 £29,995

    Variant name:Coupe ,Derivative:S ,Variant: Coupe 3.4S 6 Speed Manual Clinkard Ltd has great pleasure in offering for sale a very well cared for Porsche Cayman 3.4S with the 6 Speed Manual Transmission with optional Sports Shifter. Arguably one of the most rewarding sports cars available with a mid engine set up, perfectly balanced chassis and Porsche's wonderful trademark Flat 6 engine. The specification has been chosen very well as this particular car has everything you could wish for from the options list when new. Unmolested and Completely original. 2011 '11' reg with 37,844 miles. Arctic Silver with Black Leather, Porsche Communications Management with Extended Navigation Module, Sports Seats, 19" Carrera Classic Wheels, Porsche Active Suspension Management (Switchable Suspension - PASM), Bi Xenon Headlamps with Cornering Function, Preparation for Mobile Phone, Fully Automatic Climate Control, Tyre Pressure Monitor, Sound Package Plus including CD Storage, Sports Shift Gear Linkage, Automatic Dimming Mirrors complete with Rain Sensor, 3 Spoke Multi Function Steering Wheel, Rear Park Assist, Universal Audio Interface, Cruise Control, Heated Seats, Factory Fitted 5mm Spacers, Porsche Crests Embossed on Head Rests, Top Tinted Windscreen. Full Porsche Main Dealer Service History, Fantastic Condition and a Joy to Drive.

    • Year: 2011
    • Mileage: 37844 mi
    • Engine size: 3.4
    For sale
    £29,995 £29,995
  • CAYMAN 24V S

    £17,995 £17,995

    GBP 422PCM based on a 10% deposit;;Welcome to the sale of this high spec Porsche Cayman S, benefiting from new disc, pads and callipers all round. Comprehensive service history. This car was purchased new @ Porsche in Leicester and driven straight to Northern Ireland where the first owner of the vehicle lived, the 1st two services were carried out at the main dealer in Belfast. The car has been meretriciously maintained and is in exceptional condition. With Porsche prices rising this is sure to be a great investment for the future. The car is HPi clear.;;Upgrades - ParkAssist - Rear, Bi-Xenon Lighting System, PCM with Extended Navigation Module, Extended Trim Package (Dashboard) in Carbon, Carbon Interior Package, Alloy Wheels - 19in SportDesign, Seat Heating, Floor Mats, Automatic Climate Control, 3 Spoke Sports Steering Wheel in Leather, 2 owners, ;;Next MOT due 01/09/2018, Orange Full leather interior, 2 seats, Black, ;;As an APPROVED RAC DEALER all of our vehicles are inspected to RAC standards. This enables us to provide every vehicle with a Nationwide RAC warranty for 90 days. 12 and 24 month policies available.

    • Mileage: 47000 mi
    • Engine size: 3.387
    For sale
    £17,995 £17,995