The design chief of Porsche, Harm Lagaay asked Grant Larson to develop a new car which is based on the Porsche Boxter, but it has to be sportier and different from the Boxter.
The Porsche Boxter was a two-seater spider variant while the new variant has to be a coupe.
Having only a small budget to work with and due to his commitment to the other more important projects, Grant Larson and Harm Lagaay had to let the concept go.
When the time came for the development of the second-generation Porsche Boxter, Grant Larson was involved with other more important projects, so Pinky Lai was assigned with the designing of the new car. Pinky Lai is the one who designed the Porsche 996.
Harm Lagaay told him to design a coupe variant of the Porsche Boxter to compete with the likes of Toyota Supra, Nissan Skyline GT-R, BMW M3 coupe, Mercedes-Benz AMG coupes, and some other high-performance compact sports coupes.
Pinky Lai decided that whatever the new car was going to be, it should not stray away from its original Boxter roots. Since the new car is also sharing the wheelbase, engine, and hard-points with the Boxter, it could only be differentiated in small ways.
Hard-points such as the A-pillar, door frames, suspension, engine mounts, and cowls couldn’t be changed without developing a completely new structure. This meant that the new car could only have an enclosed coupe-style roofline as well as an enclosed cabin while sharing the lower body with the Boxter.
Pinky Lai and his team developed several concepts and small-scale models of two variations, one featuring a short roof, and the other with a fastback style body. These were supposed to be the new Porsche Boxter-derived sports coupe.
Then both models got their upper bodies completely removed. These models represented what the new second-generation Porsche Boxter would look like in the near future.
Pinky Lai and his engineers then started working on two full-scale models and since Harm Lagaay gave him more than enough freedom and space to do things the way he saw to be fit, he only received small tips and suggestions from Harm Lagaay and Horst Marchart.
Porsche’s management had arranged a meeting for dealers and importers in France, Germany, Europe, the US, and other key markets to show them what Porsche’s future model lineup is going to look like in the near future. This meeting was scheduled just before Easter, and Harm Lagaay decided to take the crowd to show them the in-house development process in the wind tunnel.
A large group of dealers and importers were then taken to the wind tunnel testing location by a motor coach. Since Pinky Lai and his team only had two models, the distributors and importers were then given the chance to check on the models and to voice their suggestions and concerns as well as their sales predictions. This was the first time such a gathering was asked for their opinion, and it was largely thanks to Harm Lagaay. Most of the people chose the long roof variant and when the Porsche executive board gathered to make a decision, they decided to bow their heads to the preferences of the dealers.
Wendelin Wiedeking demanded from his engineers at the production and development sections as well as the staff at the finance division to come up with estimations and figures to make the new car and the second-generation Porsche Boxter profitable.
Eventually, Pinky Lai and his designers were successful in providing a viable and profitable solution.
The result was a complex rear fender and roofline that was made as a single piece using modern-day stamping technologies. This was the first time Porsche had made a one-piece body panel of this size, and since it was a complicated process, much testing was done by the body engineers as well as the designers.
Porsche, just like all the other automotive manufacturers, prices their convertible variants higher than the coupes, because of the complicated, expensive yet necessary reinforcements that have to be done to strengthen the chassis to compensate for the lack of a roof. This reinforcement process improves body roll as well as the structural rigidity of the car. Then the convertible has to be equipped with either a metal folding roof or a folding soft-top to protect the interior as well as the occupants from elements of nature. The folding rood must seal properly to stop water from leaking. To raise or to close the folding roof automatically, expensive hardware is required.
However, this time the coupe variant was more expensive due to the production cost behind the all-new body panels and the lifting rear window. To justify the price tag, Porsche engineers worked on the 2687cc flat-six Type 987 engine to deliver 245hp maximum at 6500rpm. This powertrain was then mated to a five-speed manual gearbox as standard. This new car was called the Porsche Cayman.
The more performance-oriented, Porsche Cayman S was equipped with a 3386cc flat-six engine delivering 295hp at 6250rpm. This engine was mated to a six-speed manual gearbox as standard.
Both these engines are using the VarioCam Plus Induction system.
A small rear spoiler was incorporated into the bodywork. This was basically a wing that arose parallel to and up from a fixed spoiler on the rear boot lid. This small rear spoiler improved the downforce thus resulting in better road holding as well as handling.
Production Porsche Cayman
The Cayman S fastback coupe was first unveiled and went on sale in late 2005. The base in Cayman followed in July 2006.
For the 2009 model year, Porsche unveiled a facelifted Porsche Cayman with minor exterior styling and aerodynamic tweaking.
It was now provided with enlarged capacity engines, a 2.9-liter flat-six engine delivering 255hp maximum and the 3.4-liter inline-six for the Porsche Cayman S now packing 310hp.
Both engines now had direct fuel injection for better combustion, better fuel efficiency, and fewer emissions.
Porsche also offered a new six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed Porsche Dopplekupplungstreibe (PDK) double-clutch transmission unit to choose from.
For the 2011 model year, Porsche introduced the Porsche Cayman R. This variant had the optional Aerokit and the 3.4-liter Porsche Cayman S engine as the standard. The engine was further tuned to deliver 330hp maximum.
Second Generation Porsche Cayman
The second-generation Porsche Cayman was unveiled at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show and the production version of the 981 Porsche Cayman was released as a 2014 model in the spring of 2013.
The Porsche 981 Cayman had a completely new body and now featured a longer wheelbase, a wider front track, and electric steering instead of the hydraulic ones. The interior was also redesigned completely and now shared many styling cues from the Porsche 911 series.
The new Porsche Cayman is equipped with a 2.7-liter inline-six engine. The Porsche Cayman is equipped with a 3.4-liter inline-six engine. Both engines can be equipped with either a six-speed manual or a dual-clutch seven-speed PDK transmission unit.
Third Generation Porsche Cayman
The third-generation Porsche 982 Cayman was introduced for the 2016 model year. Despite sharing almost all the same looks with the second-generation Porsche Cayman, it was clearly an evolution. The headlights and the lower front fascia were completely reworked and the mirrors have been redesigned.
The interior was also largely the same as before, but now it had a PCM 4.0 infotainment system instead of the PCM 3.1 of the previous generation.
The steering wheel now features a mode selector which is similar to the manentino system in Ferraris. The driver could select Sport or Sport Plus driving modes, resulting in a more aggressive throttle response.
Now the Porsche Cayman and Porsche Boxter both were equipped with turbocharged flat-four engines instead of inline-six engines.
Porsche Cayman was equipped with a 2.0-liter turbocharged flat-four while the Porsche Cayman S was equipped with a 2.5-liter turbocharged flat-four. Both engines now deliver more power and torque along with lower fuel consumption.
The turbocharging system in Porsche Cayman S features Variable Turbine Geometry (VTG) technology.
Porsche Cayman takes only 4.1 seconds to reach 0-60mph while the Porsche Cayman S takes only 3.9 seconds.
In 2017, a new GTS 4.0 variant was unveiled. This variant was equipped with a 4.0-liter naturally aspirated six-cylinder boxer engine derived from the Porsche 911 GT4. The maximum power output was 394hp and the maximum torque was measured at 310 lb-ft. This variant was also equipped with a six-speed manual gearbox and a mechanical limited-slip differential as standard.