The interior is similar to the Boxster's, but like the exterior offers slightly revised design cues, as well as additional rear storage space. When combined with the space up under the hood, the Cayman offers a total of 14.4 cubic feet of space, about 4.5 more than the Boxster. As a passenger, one thing I wished for was a grab-handle somewhere on the door, like on the Carrera, as passengers tend to be slung around enthusiastically if the driver is in a particularly sporting mood.

Overall, the driving experience behind the Cayman's wheel is distinctively Porsche, from its smooth, rapid acceleration to its superbly bolstered seats and world-class shifter mechanism. Like its 997 and 987 brethren, it is a finely honed instrument engineered for a specific purpose: spirited driving. The 2006 Cayman S is slated for arrival on American shores in early January.

2006 Porsche Cayman S
Base Price: $58,900
Longitudinal mid-engine, rear-wheel drive
3.4-liter flat six, dohc, four valves per cylinder
Six-speed manual; five-speed automatic w/ Tiptronic S optional
Optimized MacPherson design, independent transverse arms, longitudinal arms and spring struts, conical stump springs with inner damper, twin-sleeve gas dampers
Twin-circuit system split front to rear, four-piston aluminum monoblock calipers, cross-drilled vented discs, PSM 8.0; PCCB optional
Length x Width x Height (in.): 171 x 71 x 51
Wheelbase: 95 in.
Curb Weight: 2,955 lb
Peak Power: 295 bhp @ 6250 rpm
Peak Torque: 251 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm
0-62 mph: 5.4 sec.
Top Speed: 171 mph

Porsche Panamera

With the official introduction of the Cayman S, Porsche acknowledged another new-car project has finally been approved by its supervisory board. Called Panamera, it will be a front-engine, rear-drive sport coupe distinguished by four doors and a four-passenger capacity. The new car's name is derived from the legendary Carrera Panamericana long-distance race. Production will be based in Leipzig, Germany, where Porsche already builds the Cayenne and Carrera GT. Total investment in the new model line, including development, will likely be more than 1 billion euro and will come entirely from the company's own funds and resources.

While further details are not available at this early stage, the Panamera is tentatively scheduled to enter the market in 2009.

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