Porsche Cayman: Regular maintenance essential

How to buy a good one, as used prices edge upwards

The introduction of the new Porsche 718 Cayman, with its downsized four-cylinder turbo engine, has proven controversial – so much so, many are looking afresh at secondhand examples of the previous six-cylinder model. This could see used prices start to firm up and maybe even strengthen: now is thus the time to buy a used Porsche Cayman.

The Cayman coupe was introduced in 2006 and here, we’re looking at this first-generation model, dubbed 987. It was offered in two guises; the first ran from 2006-2008 and a facelifted model was sold from 2008-2013. Both were positioned above the Boxster but below the 911.

The Cayman has always been sold in two guises, the regular car and the Cayman S. The 2006 Cayman used a 2.7-litre flat six engine producing 245bhp; the Cayman S had a 3.4-litre flat six producing 295bhp. Buyers could choose from a six-speed manual or five-speed Tiptronic automatic.

The 2008 facelifted Cayman was fitted with a larger 2.9-litre flat six that produced 265bhp; the S continued with a 3.4-litre motor, producing 315bhp. This time, the six-speed manual was joined by Porsche’s excellent seven-speed PDK automatic.

But although Porsche is famed for its build quality and integrity, you should not assume you can buy a secondhand model without making careful checks. On 2006-2008 models in particular, make sure you look out for worn suspension (knocks and clatters on the test drive are giveaways), corroded exhausts and worn gear cables.

Check the service history very carefully, making sure there haven’t been any missed services or interim oil changes: this is a performance car and regular maintenance is essential. A look at the quality of the tyres might tell you if previous owners have skimped on costs: N-rated tyres are recommended, but is it fitted with cheaper, lower-rated rubber?

2008-on facelifted cars were even better built than earlier models, with upgrades such as more comprehensive infotainment systems. These feel a little more contemporary although the interior architecture of both is the same.

You need to budget for at least £15,000 to buy even an early 2006 Cayman, and even then you might have to accept a few niggles. £16-£19k will secure you an early S or a good, low mileage 2.7-litre car.

Prices for the facelifted 2008-on car fall into the £20-£30k range; the more you spend, the lower the miles will be and the more chance you have of finding a 3.4-litre S PDK. At this level, buying from an official Porsche dealer will give you the backup of the manufacturer’s 111-check used car inspection and warranty.

A budget upwards of £30,000 will secure the best 987-generation Caymans; here, you’ll be looking for the pick of late-model S – If you can afford to spend £33,000, a well-equipped 2011 S in a desirable colour with lots of options should be easy to find.


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