After trading in my '05 Mazda RX8, i was looking for an affordable sports car upgrade that wasn't a convertible. Nothing i saw was remotely better than my RX8 until i reviewed the base Porsche Cayman. Debuting in '06, the hardtop/hatchback Cayman offers Porsche quality at a realistic price point. The key is finding the right combo of year & mileage. In '09, the Cayman received significant upgrades inside & out. Too many to list here but the highlights include better horsepower, suspension, comfort & design. The base model is $10K lower on average than the S series, which has 315hp. At 265hp, it has plenty of power & handling is a dream. The automatic, which is harder to find, has paddle shifters on the steering wheel to easily segue into manuel mode if you so choose. Excellant gas mileage is a surprise bonus. 20 city, 28 highway. If you think you could never afford a Porsche, consider test driving a Cayman. You won't be sorry.
This car is for people who enjoy a good sports ride, don't commute far distances and don't sit in traffic. City friendly ride in comparison to Carrera 911 with an exhilarating pull in the back. The engine in the middle of the car brings the centrifugal force in the curves to the minimum. The car feels like it is glued to the road. Great breaks. Money I spend on gas for this car goes under "entertainment". I got my Cayman for an affordable price because of higher demand on automatic. American population drives mostly automatic for a few very good reasons: long distances and traffic plus not too many curvy roads in LA where I live. Also, most people opt for a convertible which is not my preference so I got a hard top.
The Cayman is beautifully designed. It is well balanced with mid engine and wide stance. It has superior power but isn't over the top 500HP. It retains it's value or appreciates. How many cars have you owned that go up in value? Good for travel; trunk in front and back. Good mileage; 20-25 MPG Maintenance costs higher but reasonable for performance vehicle. Makes me proud EVERY time I look at it; turns heads and generates conversation. Opportunities to join Porsche club and track car if that is your desire.