Opinion: Why we’re not becoming ‘Total Cayman’ any time soon

So, one of the worst kept secrets in the automotive world is finally out of the bag. The rumours about a GT3-esque version of Porsche’s acclaimed Cayman sports car were verified last week after a test mule was spotted hacking around the Nürburgring.

The mid-engined Cayman has been lauded by the motoring press for its excellent handling dynamics yet, to get the most out of its impressive chassis, many commentators have been calling for a hardcore ‘GT4’ variant (the recently released GTS being little more than a well-specced, slightly hotted-up ‘S’).

With a barely sub-400bhp engine to be fitted (if the internet is to be believed), the new Cayman GT4 will no doubt be faster around the world’s race circuits than some of the 991s at the ‘bottom’ of the range, namely the Carrera and Carrera S models. So where does this leave the Porsche 911?

Porsche 991 Carrera S
The latest Porsche 991 has a heritage built on 50 years of excellence. That is hard to ignore.

Well, truthfully, I don’t think the venerable Zuffenhausen darling has anything to worry about. While the new hot Cayman will undoubtedly win over a few potential 991 Carrera customers with its improved performance and tantalising price tag, the 911 still sits in a niche all of its own.

After all, the 911 is an automotive icon. There are few models that can boast an unbroken 50-year history, certainly not the Cayman (which will celebrate its first decade of existence next year). That history certainly plays a huge role when it comes to deciding which Porsche to buy.

While the Boxster/Cayman strand is improving all the time, the suggestion that it is a ‘poor man’s 911’ still has a hint of truth about it. The 911 has spent countless years on bedroom wall posters and, when it comes to placing an order, it is still the car people often aspire to.

Cayman GTS
The recently released Porsche Cayman GTS has been lauded by the press, but will it steal potential 911 customers?

In 2013, Porsche AG sold 155,094 cars – an increase of eight per cent over 2012). Of those sales, 28,095 were accounted for by the Porsche 911. This represented a seven per cent increase over the 2012 figures.

By comparison the 12,039 Caymans were sold (although the new 981 model wasn’t released until Q1 of the year). Even when combined with the Boxster’s 14,730 sales, this still represents a smaller chunk of Porsche’s overall business than the 911.

While you could argue that the 991 is a more established model than the 981, the 911’s strong figures (which are continually increasing year-on-year) owe more than just coming to market sooner. It’s about heritage, branding, and performance.

Since the release of the 981, the Boxster is no longer the poor relation to the 911 that it once was.
Since the release of the 981, the Boxster is no longer the poor relation to the 911 that it once was…

The latter is of course still abundant throughout the 911 range. While the Cayman GT4 may snap on the heels of the Carrera and Carrera S, the 911 GT3 and Turbo still provide the headline performance figures that attract a wealth of customers.

Moreover, the standard Carrera and Carrera S’s practicality will still play into the 911’s hands. Even if price and performance are comparable, will a stripped out, track-ready Cayman GT4 really appeal to the same customer who is considering the comfy cosseting of a leather-clad Carrera?

No, the Porsche 911 is still going strong, with our without the challenge of in house rivals. Its legacy is continuing to build and, with more models on the way soon, the switch to ‘Total Cayman’ magazine hasn’t even entered our heads.

Do you agree? Comment below or tweet us @Total911 with your thoughts.

...but halo models such as the 991 Turbo still attract customers to the 911.
…but halo models such as the 991 Turbo still attract customers to the 911.

Comments (0)