Porsche has now launched a new 911, Boxster and Cayman in the last 15 months. A cynic would say that the evolutionary nature of the design changes means there’s very little for anyone in the design space to get excited about. You turn up knowing exactly what you’re going to see. Having seen the Boxster we were pretty sure we knew how the Cayman was going to look. Our greatest hope was that they might have re-worked the rear light treatment. No such luck.
But there’s a lot more to see than first meets the eye (especially when seen in photographs) with this new generation of Porsches. From 987 to 981 Boxster, there were some major proportional shifts. And so it proves with the new Cayman, too. From the front, it’s as expected, carrying over much of the new Boxster’s sheet metal and meaning it now has a fairly different (for Porsche) face to the 911.
But move round to the rear – and especially when seen from the rear three-quarters – and the Cayman has changed quite significantly. The volumes, forms and proportions are really quite different to the car that went before. Gone are those flying buttresses and the sense of an almost duck-tail. In its place is a much more stubby, fastback coupe-like rear end.
The volume swept by the fall of the roofline to the rear of the car has been increased. It’s pulled further backwards, such that there’s a greater volume of metal above the rear wheel than before. It could have been heavy and clunky, but as with other new members of this new generation of Porsche, it’s exceptionally well managed in terms of volumes and surface resolution. And the Cayman retains its distinct rear fender treatment, which gives it much of its personality and just enough differentiation that you’re not in danger of ‘small 911’ mistaken identity moments.
There are elements of the design that are less well resolved. It’s a shame, given the greater differentiation to the core product than before, that it shares some of its wheel designs with the 911 and the side air intakes seem overly soft in form. But overall it’s very well resolved, and this writer happens to think this is a very fine piece of design – a smart step on for the nameplate. But others we spoke to, including some members of the CDN editorial team, were less sure about it and were just a little bit disappointed, saying they thought it had lost some of the old car’s character. What do you think?
posted by Joe Simpson