Description: Excerpt from Automobile Magazine article by George Kacher, click below for entire article.

Eleven miles up, eleven miles down. No police, no black ice, no farm traffic. Simply eleven miles of the most gorgeous road: corners of all radii, dips and crests, climbs and descents, some blind stuff and some wide open, the black tarmac covered with a light-gray dusting of winter salt. When you hit the Sport Plus button, and pull the gear lever to the left into M, you can feel it straight away: the limits are quite low, the car feels rather nervous, the electronic helpers enter the game much earlier than expected. How come? Because it's 7 degrees outside, the road salt is acting like fine sand, and the fly yellow Cayman S is shod with Michelin Pilot Alpine M&S tires. They are at their best in a relatively narrow temperature window. When cold, the grip slackens suddenly, like a broken fishing line. When really hot, the footwear indulges in ridiculous slip angles, but as long as you keep them in their comfort zone, they will encourage you to put the new Porsche to the real test.

We have always liked the Cayman S for its poise and precision, balanced handling, and accessible performance. The new, second-generation Cayman has those same characteristics, but it has lost 65 pounds and gained 5 hp. Torsional rigidity improves by 40 percent, the wheelbase increases by 2.4 inches, and the standard tire size has gone up from 18 to 19 inches. The result is a nimbler and even more determined sports car that really shines on this deserted Bavarian road. The normally aspirated flat six obeys throttle orders as if it were governed by a telemetric mastermind, the seven-speed PDK dual-clutch gearbox hammers through the ratios like a rapid-fire weapon, stability control works reliably in minimum interference mode, the steering does its best not to let the driver feel its electro-mechanical origins, and the brakes snarl at their ABSolute limit whenever optimism challenges the law of physics.

Normally, SportPlus is only for racetrack use, but when you're lucky enough to have a public road all to yourself, it doesn't hurt to push the chips to overload. That's overload as in full punch all the way to the cutout speed, accelerating hard in third gear at 100-plus mph, relishing each and every whiplash upshift, and changing down so early that your head keeps snapping forward in a sequence of wordless nods. You can either dictate the rhythm and the pace by using the paddleshifters or you can slip the lever in D and let the black box mastermind the very rapid progress by itself.

The harder you go, the more conscientious the input should be. It is surprisingly easy to overdrive the Cayman S by being a touch too slow at the wheel, not determined enough on the brakes, and too impatient with the throttle. Mistreated like this, the car will squirm and wiggle, fighting both tarmac and driver, relying on its computerized cleverness to stay on the road. The worst thing one can do in this situation is switch off PSM stability control and pretend to be on top of the game.

Read more: http://www.automobilemag.com/reviews/driven/1302_2014_porsche_cayman_s/#ixzz2N3uJVUoL

Keywords: George Kacher

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