Porsche Cayman R is Britain’s Best Driver’s Car for 2011

Article by Christian Andrei, on October 14, 2011

Porsche Cayman R was proclaimed Britain’s Best Driver’s Car for 2011 after winning Autocar magazine's yearly competition. The comparison test pitched 11 of the most exciting new vehicles this year against one another on public street and race track to find out which one offers the most excitement for drivers. The value of the 11 vehicles on test was about £900,000 in total.

The Cayman R’s competition involved: Mercedes CLS64 AMG, McLaren MP4-12C, Renault Mégane Trophy, Vauxhall Corsa VXR, Aston Martin Vantage S, Caterham Supersport, Lotus Evora S, BMW 1M and Jaguar XKR-S.

For the six judges from Autocar’s experienced road test team, it was the steering, completeness and ride of the £51,728 Cayman R that stood out -- no mean feat, given that last year’s champion, the Porsche 911 GT3 RS, was also a competitor.

The second place went to the light and nimble Caterham Seven Supersport, which is also one of the least expensive automobiles in the competition with its price of £22,995.

Aston Martin V8 Vantage S took third place, with the 911 GT3 RS ending up on fourth place this time around. In spite of the technical splendor and unquestionable pace of the £168,500 McLaren MP4-12C, speed doesn't always equate to excitement.

Thus, sixth place was the best the McLaren could muster in the assessment, one place behind the Lotus Evora S.

Steve Sutcliffe, who is Autocar’s editor-at-large and Britain’s Best Driver’s Car judge, commented that the Porsche Cayman R’s steering is "about as sweet as it gets," adding that the ride is "150 times better than it has any right to be" given how little body movement there is "when you’re really going for it."

Porsche revealed that the letter R in its alphabet is set aside specifically for special sports cars. This particular letter stands for refined, responsive, and most importantly, racy. All of these qualities are in the mid-engine Porsche Cayman R. Compared to the Cayman S, it is more powerful and lighter, which means it is more efficient and quicker.

Indeed, the Cayman R was designed to deliver what may well be excellent driving dynamics. Considering that it is fitted with a sport chassis developed for it, it offers driving that is more precise unlike that of the Cayman S. In designing the Cayman R, the goal was to lower the weight of this two-seater in order to enhance the agility, driving dynamics, and performance.

As a result, the DIN empty weight of the Cayman R stands at 1,295 kilograms, 55 kilograms lighter compared to the Cayman R. Since the weight of the body was reduced, it also made it possible to lower the power-to-weight ratio.

Using the standard manual transmission, ratio is at 3.9 kilograms per horsepower with the PDK variant at 4.0 kilograms per horsepower. Majority of the reduction in the weight was due to utilizing lightweight components and all without the need for any convenience fitting.

For its bodywork for example, the doors are made of aluminium, like the 911 Turbo, and thus it has lowered its weight by as much as 15 kilograms. Instead of the standard seats equipped in the Cayman S, the Cayman R makes use of the light sports bucket seats thus saving an estimated 12 kilograms.

It needs to be said however that the use of these seats in no way enhances the side support of the driver during bends. As mentioned earlier, convenience fittings were avoided and since it does not have any radio or air conditioning system, weight is lowered even further by 15 kilograms.

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