Porsche Cayman R – does it deserve that badge? With video

Hot on the heels of Total 911’s feature on the superlight 911R from the 1960s (the lightest 911 ever at 830kg), Porsche has just announced the Cayman R, which is also a lightweight model.

This has come as a surprise to many, as it was widely predicted that the new model would be badged Club Sport – a name that’s been used on various lightweight Porsches over the years, including 911s and 968s. From a Porsche enthusiast’s point of view it would have been a logical choice for a car that’s not as extreme as an RS but relies mainly on weight saving to enhance performance.

The Cayman R is 55kg lighter than the standard Cayman S at 1295kg, thanks to lightweight components and a reduced interior specification. Furthermore, power is up 10bhp, while the suspension is lowered and uprated accordingly.

It’s a sign of the times, perhaps, that the R is available with an optional PDK automatic transmission in place of the six-speed manual. Combined with Sport Chrono, PDK gives 0-62mph times of 4.9 seconds, while the top speed is 174mph.

Distinguishing features of the new car include black headlamp surrounds and mirror housings, ‘Porsche’ side decals and a fixed rear spoiler.

All the above sounds very like an RS, albeit a modest one. So why not use the more widely known and admired RS badge on the new Cayman? Perhaps because Porsche wants to keep RS a 911 moniker – after all, the GT3 RS is more than twice the price of the £51,731 Cayman, which goes on sale in February 2011. And why not Club Sport or CS? Maybe because this doesn’t mean as much to today’s buyers whereas R is, at least, half of RS. At the end of the day, badging a car is all about marketing, not heritage.

Whatever the thinking, there’s no doubt that the Cayman R is going to be a lot of fun to drive. Check out our video to get a taste of it.

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