2012 Porsche Cayman R Review

The 2012 Porsche Cayman R Flips the Script on all the Detractors

All the Cayman haters in the house raise your hands up. Now, feast your eyes on the 2012 Porsche Cayman R. Yes, you’re gawking at a Cayman…boasting 330hp. With 10 extra horses over the Cayman S, along with a 55kg weight cut and a stiffer chassis, the 2012 Cayman R may just sway your biased, 911-4Life mindset, while exceeding the expectations of those who’ve already come to admire the Porsche Cayman, first introduced in 2006 (more specifically, the sexier, current 2nd-generation Cayman introduced in 2009).

Also check out: Cayman Reviews

2012 Porsche Cayman R Review

Under the hood

Powered by a 3.4L flat six boxer engine, the 2012 Cayman R puts down a whopping 330-hp and 273 lb.ft of torque; 0-60mph in under 4.5 seconds with the PDK paired with the Sport Chrono Package, as equipped in this Cayman R.

Cayman R Features

A few features, which truly set the Cayman R apart, include the body kit; lighter 19-inch rims; and the red door handle straps in lieu of conventional handles. Plus, with the reworked suspension the Cayman R sits 20mm lower than it’s Cayman S sibling–a significant height adjustment, enough to both handle high-speed turns at the track while looking lean and mean sitting curbside outside any busy street, easily mistaken for a 911 from the front and side view.

2012 Porsche Cayman R Review2012 Porsche Cayman R Review

7-speed PDK

The smooth-shifting 7-speed PDK transmission with paddle shifters, as in my tester, will run you $4180 extra. But the performance purists hitting the track will likely opt for the standard 6-speed, saving you both precious weight and money. Precious funds you can spend on other things, like mortgage payments, landscaping your yard, or Cayman R options including Bi-Xenon and cornering lights for $1760; the Sound Package Plus including CD Storage for $800; Automatic AC at $2010; and/or the Sport Chrono Package for $1690, all found in this Peridot Metallic colour Cayman R.

Starting at $75,600 CDN MSRP, my Cayman R here equipped with options (less taxes/fees) rings in at $86,060. Personally, I’d do away with the Auto AC, upgraded Sound/CD storage thing, and PDK; keeping only the Sport Chrono Pkg and probably the Bi-Xenon. So, under $5k in options, good to go.

2012 Porsche Cayman R Review

Cayman R Driving Impressions

Though I never took the 2012 Porsche Cayman R to the track (Calgary no longer has a track, by the way, but that’s another story), it’s clear this tight little coupe is built for the chicanes and twisties. In addition to the Cayman R’s weigh trimmings, and despite the Cayman’s stigma as perhaps a “chick-car” or my-dad-is-having-midlife-crisis car, this 2-seater truly is a track specimen: the mid-engine design with it’s ideal weight distribution renders a well-balanced (and I could imagine, a very fun) track rocket. Yet, despite the stiffer handling dynamics, the Cayman R works well on city roads with a surprisingly comfy ride. Thought the confining bucket race seats may pose a problem for the larger-framed individuals. I.e. my brother (dude, lose some weight).

2012 Porsche Cayman R Review

Takeway

Overall, the 2012 Porsche Cayman R is a ballsy little coupe with excessive power, clenched suspension, and menacing looks with the 19-inch rims, body kit, and lower stance. Unlike the Cayman S, you likely won’t see the Cayman R flooding the streets anytime soon. Instead, this rare bird likely belongs to that Porsche fanatic hitting the track on the weekends. If you’re that guy, please get in touch, I’d love to tag along.

Learn more about the all-new Porsche 718 Cayman

CONS:

  • Added options = pricey for a Cayman
  • Belongs on the track (with me in it)
Shooting motors professionally since film was a thing, Amee's work has been published in various outlets including NBC Sports, Chicago Tribune, SuperStreet, GlobeDrive, MotorTrend, and others. He's a writer, editor at TractionLife.com, AJAC member, and full-time digital marketer at Traction Media working with national brands. Find him traveling, spending time with his kids and family. Or golfing, badly.