Cars

A Weekend Drive with the Porsche Cayman

Driving the sports car isn’t just about getting to where you’re going-it’s enjoying the journey itself.
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Most people buy cars out of necessity—that age-old need to get from point A to point B. But after a while, after reaching a certain threshold when driving isn’t just about getting to the destination but enjoying the journey itself, car owners look for a ride that lets them do just that. That’s where sports cars come in. 

There are those who will never understand the appeal of sports cars. For them, automobiles are utilitarian—a tool of conveyance and not much else. But then there are those who see cars as the beautiful pieces of machinery that they are—practical as well as aesthetically pleasing.

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Little wonder then that sports cars still enjoy healthy sales globally. According to online statistics portal Statista, worldwide revenue from sports cars stood at $27.7 billion in 2017 and is expected to grow to as much as $33 billion by 2021. That’s a lot of people choosing flashy performance rather than just regular transport.

Anybody still on the fence about what makes sports cars so great need only get behind the wheel of one to understand what the fuss is all about. That’s certainly true the weekend I got to drive the Porsche 718 Cayman.

I’ve had the opportunity to drive the convertible-top version of the Cayman called the Boxster a few times in the past, so I’m familiar with this range of sports cars from the German carmaker. The difference is that, while I only got to drive the Boxster on paved city streets in Singapore and Manila, this time, I got to take the Cayman out of the urban jungle and into countryside roads.

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Now on its third generation, the Cayman test unit I got was in a gleaming fire truck red, so off the bat, it automatically attracted amazed stares from people on the street. As the person driving it, no matter how hard you try to stop yourself, it’s tough not to feel a sense of prominence and pride. It’s shallow, I know, but that’s just one of the immediate effects you need to be ready for if you ever take the plunge and get yourself a Porsche.

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I set a course towards the Tagaytay—easy and predictable for these kinds of test drives. But this time, I went past the touristy haunts and headed straight for a house inside Canyon Woods. Some friends were hosting a get-together and I thought it’d be nice to pop in (and in a Porsche, no less).

What’s cool about a leisurely ride outside the city is that, at certain points when there are fewer cars on the road, you can floor the gas pedal and really let loose. Just like the Boxster, the Cayman has a turbocharged flat-4 engine, down from the previous iteration’s naturally aspirated six-cylinder engine. I can’t really say what difference it makes (as I never got to experience the previous generation), but this car was more than adept at accelerating and weaving in and out of light traffic along the road in Tagaytay. It’s incredibly responsive and even more so when you activate sport mode with a flick of a button—suddenly, the world outside becomes a blur.

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Because the Cayman is a two-door and two-seater, the space inside is snug, but you expect that if you know anything about sports cars. Still, that doesn’t mean there’s no room to breathe—there’s adequate legroom for the two people inside. The dashboard has a screen for the infotainment system and simple, uncomplicated buttons that even an eight-year-old can operate.

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I stopped for some supplies (chips, drinks, ice) which were easy enough to stash in the hood—yes, the engine’s at the back in this car, although there’s a slightly larger compartment there, too. Afterwards it was an easy, laidback drive to Canyon Woods, with the songs on my favorite road trip playlists blasting softly from the speakers, which was connected to my phone via Bluetooth.

I got to my destination in record time (no, I didn’t break any speeding laws), but it says something about the Porsche Cayman that I couldn’t wait for the visit with my friends to be over so I could go back and drive the car some more. And to me, that’s exactly what “enjoying the journey” means.

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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