Ahead of its covers-off moment at this month's Los Angeles motor show, here's the brand new Porsche Cayman on a final shakedown run in Spain. Stuttgart's entry-level coupe will grace UK showrooms in early 2013, packing a two-model range with more power, less weight, and a Boxster-shared cabin.
Has Porsche has finally made sense of the Cayman's styling?
As expected, the Cayman carries over most of its design cues from its Boxster sister. Thanks to being freed from sharing doors with the 911, the Cayman (like the Boxster) now boasts large Carrera GT-inspired scallops in the doors, funnelling air into the much larger side-mounted engine intakes. The whole car is longer and wider than before, allowing a stretched wheelbase and tracks, a la Boxster mk3. And like the soft-top, the Cayman's active rear spoiler sits flush across the rear light clusters when lowered. Up front, the Cayman gets a slightly tweaked front bumper to set it apart from the Boxster's friendly phizzogg, complete with angular apertures similar to the latest Porsche 991.
Of course, what the Boxster doesn't have is the fixed metal roof. Porsche has raked the Cayman's lid further back than the outgoing car, giving a very cab-back stance that is, dare we say it, rather early 911-esque. Inside, it's carry-over Boxster, and none the worse for it.
And what about under the bonnet?
Or under the rear hatch, to be precise. The Cayman sticks with a two-tier model range, both boasting normally-aspirated flat-six engines, sitting amidships in the chassis. The standard Cayman, now a 2.7-litre instead of 2.9, will boast around 261bhp.
Pay the extra for a Cayman S and you get an extra 700cc, and over 311bhp. That sits neatly between a Boxster S, and the 350bhp 911 Carrera 2. Transmissions will be shared between the two mid-engined cars: a six-speed manual is standard, and a seven-speed double-clutch PDK a cost option.
Both engines will score better economy and CO2 output figures than the outgoing car, despite the upped power. Part of that story isn't due to the revised engines - it's also down to an aluminium-intensive diet that drops weight despite the increased dimensions.
Roll on spring 2013! How much should I budget?
Prices for the new Boxster rose by around £1k-2k when it landed in March 2012. A similar increase for its tin-top relative would pitch an option-free Cayman at £40k; the faster, more-kit-as-standard S will come in at just under £50k. At those prices, it's spoiling for a fight with the new Jaguar F-type come summer 2013.
>> Click 'Add you comment' below to tell us if your money's on the new Cayman or F-type as next year's sports car king.