These cars won't be affordable forever.
The original Porsche Cayman GT4 was a huge deal to enthusiasts because it finally allowed the mid-engine Cayman to approach the levels of performance found in the 911. This car was followed up by the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4, which was even better courtesy of its 4.0-liter naturally aspirated flat-six producing 414 horsepower. Porsche is even working on a more hardcore Cayman model, rumored to be called the GT4 RS, which should be the ultimate Cayman.
Both the original GT4 and 718 GT4 are incredible sports cars but if you don't quite have $99,200 to spend on a new one, we have an interesting alternative. It may not be well-remembered thanks to the recent popularity of the GT4 models but the 987 generation Porsche Cayman R is still an interesting sports car that is worth your attention.
If any of the 911 special editions are any indication, rare Porsche models tend to be worth big bucks as the years go on. Porsche never released official production numbers but some predict that fewer than 1,500 were ever built. Even using more conservative estimates, no fewer than 3,500 of these cars were built worldwide. In the United States, the car was only available for a single model year (2012) and it is documented that only 563 came stateside with 61 going to Canada. Not only was the Cayman R rare, but it was also the lightest, most powerful, and most track-focused model available during the 987 generation.
When it was new in 2011, the Cayman R carried a base price of $66,300. With the typical assortment of Porsche options, the car could exceed $80,000. Today, these cars are not easy to find but prices range from around $50,000 for high-mileage examples to around $70,000 for lower mileage models, meaning they have held value well.
Most of the cars were finished in Guards Red, Carrera White, Black, and Platinum Silver, which were popular Porsche colors at the time. All of the car's original advertising showed it in a unique shade of Green called Peridot Metallic, which is among the rarest factory colors. As with most Porsche cars, you'll pay extra for a rare color or a Paint to Sample, of which several are known to exist.
By modern Porsche standards, the Cayman R isn't fast with its 3.4-liter flat-six producing 330 horsepower. This car wasn't all about straight-line speed, however, even though its 0-60 mph time of 4.7 seconds was two-tenths quicker than a Cayman S, and that number was reduced to just 4.4 seconds with the optional PDK and Sport Chrono Package. The Cayman R was all about lightness and giving the driver a more raw driving experience.
Porsche stripped out the air conditioning, stereo, and even the door handles plus the cover over the gauges. Together, the Cayman R dropped 121 pounds compared to a Cayman S for a total weight of just 2,849 pounds. Though, if you wanted, Porsche would put the A/C and radio back in for no cost.
If you hop into the Cayman R expecting a luxurious experience, you'll be disappointed. The Cayman R uses aluminum door skins, carbon-fiber backed sport bucket seats, and carbon-fiber interior door panels all in the name of weight reduction. A radio and A/C were considered optional extras and when it is time to get out of the car, you pull on a piece of cloth to open the door because door handles were just too heavy.
If you have between $50,000 and $70,000 to spend on a Porsche, we think the Cayman R is the best one available right now. For around this same price, you could get a base 718 Cayman with a few options or possibly even a 718 Cayman T but both of those cars are turbocharged and lack the purist, track-proven ability of the Cayman R. And while those new cars will only go down in value, we have a feeling that Cayman R prices have room to climb. Now is a great time to buy one before they become collectible.