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I Love This Job

2014 Porsche Cayman

When a friend found out I’d just test-driven the new 2014 Porsche Cayman, he commented, “Who let you drive such an expensive car?” The answer of course, is the folks at Porsche of Buffalo, one of the Northtown dealerships located in Williamsville. And why not? Apparently Alex Greno, my appointed sales professional, assessed the situation, decided I have an honest face (and a legitimate Artvoice business card), and threw me the keys.

As Greno was asking the usual questions, which of course he should have, the little boy in me was saying “Just gimme the keys, gimme the keys!” And soon I was off on one of the more pleasant drives I’ve had in a while.

You’ve got to give it to the Porsche interior designers. There are basically two kinds of cars out there: those you buy to get you where you’re going with the least possible amount of fuss, and the ones you drive. Any Porsche fits into the latter category, but climbing into the Cayman (I’ll confess, it’s my favorite Porsche) just feels…right. Before even moving, the seat cradles your behind, the steering wheel and gauges seem to be right where they belong, and the shifter feels like an extension of your arm. You could almost (and I’m not recommending this for obvious reasons) drive the Cayman blindfolded.

When deciding which Cayman to drive—there’s the basic Cayman, and the Cayman S—I chose the basic car, with its 2.7-liter flat-six engine, rated at 275 horsepower, which is mounted right behind the front seats of this two-seater. Having the engine mounted mid-ship makes for optimum handling—you don’t have the front or rear weight bias you get with the engine at one of the car’s extremities. Of course, Porsche’s superb suspension also figures into the mix. The Cayman S, at a premium of over $10,000, is equipped with a 3.4-liter flat-six, rated at 325 horsepower. (You do get more than just a larger engine for the price.) But honestly, the Cayman, with its smaller base price of $52,600, should be all anyone needs.

As I headed up Main Street into Clarence, I was enthralled with the sound of the car. Even though it was a hot summer afternoon, I decided to turn off the a/c, power-down the windows, turn off the radio, and listen. It’s not the “Oh my God that kid next door is killing me with that exhaust noise” kind of sound. It’s a refined, kind of bluesy, “I’ll have a good cigar and a glass of bourbon” riff you might pay money to listen to.

I’m no speed demon, and you needn’t be to appreciate the Cayman. It’s good to know the power’s there if you need it…like, for example, to pass, to merge quickly, or, when no one’s around, to punch it a bit. Just a bit, mind you; after all, no one’s around. And those bendy roads that used to make you seasick in your Dad’s Olds 98? You’ll be looking for them, taking the long way home just to hit those turns at the right speed in the right gear with a minimum of lean.

What does one get for a base price of $52,600? Eighteen-inch wheels, partial leather sport seats, six-speed manual transmission, brakes with four-piston aluminum fixed monobloc calipers front and rear, aluminum-steel composite body, automatically extending rear spoiler, heated mirrors, green-tinted heat-insulating glass, luggage space of 5.3 cubic-feet front/9.7 cubic-feet rear (the engine’s in the middle, remember?)…you know, I can’t really do justice to the equipment list in this small space. The brochure I took home (a book, actually) is over 120 pages long. And I’m going to enjoy it cover-to-cover. Over and over.

(Can you tell I like the Cayman?)

All I can say is—more info at:

Read more of Jim Corbran's You Auto Know every other week in Artvoice, and more frequently on Artvoice Daily.

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