out of 10
If you’ve always wanted a ballistic Porsche sports car, but thought the 911 was too expensive and the Boxster compromised by its roadster design, then the 2011 Porsche Cayman is definitely the car for you. It is essentially a hard-top Boxster and thanks to its mid-engine configuration it remains one of the best handling models in Porsche’s current lineup.

The 2011 model year marks a special time for the Porsche Cayman as two special edition models have been launched, the 2011 Porsche Cayman R and the 2011 Porsche Cayman S Black Edition.

Both come powered by a 3.4-liter flat-six engine with 330 horsepower and 272 pound-feet of torque, which means they’re able to accelerate from 0-60 mph in around 5.0 seconds. Remember, this is a car that’s not much bigger than a Mazda Miata but with an engine almost as powerful as the base unit in the iconic 911 Carrera.

Customers can choose from either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed ‘PDK’ dual clutch transmission. This latter option offers slightly faster acceleration to 60 mph, 0.1 seconds faster in fact, and the fact there’s no third pedal means it’s a breeze around town too.

The sheer speed at which Porsche dual clutch transmissions can shift gears is simply amazing and the unit is well worth a look at, even for conventional manual die-hards.

The Cayman R is also unique in that it gets a special suspension setup that’s 20 millimeters lower than on the Cayman S. Aerodynamics are cleaner too, courtesy of a new set of front and rear spoilers.

Note, both of these models will set you back more than $60k. If your budget is about 10 grand less than that we still recommend testing the regular Cayman model. It still gets a flat-six engine but it displaces just 2.9-liters and outputs 265 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. This base model is also available with the choice of manual or dual clutch transmissions.

It must be noted that the drivetrain is only one bright area of the 2011 Porsche Cayman. Despite its small size, the car’s cabin is very comfortable and its seats supportive. There’s also better-than-average cargo room here, making the Cayman a standout in its segment.

There are also plenty of standard and available luxury amenities such as leather trim, navigation, Bluetooth connectivity and the Sport Chrono package. We also love the 19-inch wheels that are available.

For a full review of the 2011 Porsche Cayman, including a look at the styling, performance, quality and safety, head over to TheCarConnection now.

UPDATEThe Porsche Cayman, Explained: Video

Gordon Robertson, chief driving consultant for Porsche's Experience Center at Silverstone, explains why the Porsche Cayman is one of the best-handling cars in Porsche's current lineup. Read Update

UPDATE2011-12 Porsche 911, 2012 Porsche Boxster, Cayman Models Recalled

Porsche has announced a recall of certain 2011-12 Porsche 911, Boxster and Cayman models to repair a potentially defective seat belt anchor plate. Read Update

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