EDITOR WES RAYNAL: Nice car, this 2014 Porsche Cayman S is, but pity the price. The list of cars I’d spend $100K on before this one is too long to get into here; suffice to say I don’t think there’s any semblance of value here.

Not much wrong with the car other than the sticker, though -- no question it’s a delightful driver.

To me it starts with the glorious flat six: The seemingly perfect amount of power, instant throttle response, and cool sounds. Yes, I’d go with ZF’s dual-clutch gearbox.

Toss the car around? Amen to that. The Cayman S will take what you can dish out and then some -- it’s easy to push hard and confidence-inspiring, thanks to the ultra communicative chassis and instant-response steering. And if you just want to poke around town, the car is up for that too, with a better-than-decent ride over potholes and busted pavement.

I like the interior -- build quality looks great and the seats are terrific. I contort myself getting in and out, but it’s not the car’s fault I could stand to lose a few.

Last time I drove a Cayman S, I said that it’s instructional to get in one once in a while to remind oneself how things should be done.

Again, except for the price. The latest Chevrolet Corvette is the $55,000 albatross around Porsche’s neck. I wouldn’t have dreamed of saying that about the C6, but the C7? Absolutely. It’s faster, its interior and exterior are as good now, and it’s a lot better value.

2014 Porsche Cayman S Drive Review

What is it?The redesigned 2014 Porsche Cayman is the highly anticipated successor to the first generation of Porsche's popular entry-level coupe, which arrived in North America in 2005. The new Cayman ...

It can be quite easy to load a Porsche up with $20K to $30K worth of options, and our test 2014 Porsche Cayman S is a perfect example.

ASSOCIATE EDITOR JAKE LINGEMAN: As much as I hate to say it, I’m a little underwhelmed at the Cayman S, too. It starts with the price. I mean $35K worth of options? Who would do that? With all this equipment, $75-$80K seems about right, but more than $100K? No way. The Ferrari-beating Chevrolet Corvette Z06 comes in less than that.

Now, that’s not to say this car isn’t awesome. It is. It looks badass. The bug-eye headlights are cool and the redesign on the taillights looks right. The proportions are perfect. The wheels and brakes look great, and they're incredibly powerful.

It is super low, which makes it a little hard getting in and out. Like a few other sports cars, the easiest way is to roll over and put your hand on the door sill for support. We did find that I could fit in the front trunk. At 5’10” and 155 pounds, that’s a good amount of space for such a small car. A couple of carry on bags could fit easily, or a few sleeping bags or a few cases of beer would also work. Though I’m now pondering the merits of 48 cold ones bouncing over potholes in downtown Detroit. Not a good idea.

Speaking of that suspension, it’s about as hard as I would go for a daily-driven street car. It bangs loudly over big potholes, and low-profile tires don’t do it any favors either. They do look awesome, though.

The steering is great; it feels better than the last 911 I drove. There’s maybe an inch of play at the top before things start turning. Otherwise, it’s extremely direct. The giant Pirelli PZeros keep everything stuck to the pavement -- even misplaced pedal stabs won’t send the tail out, unless you’re really off kilter.

The seven-speed dual-clutch trans' shifts are imperceptible at lower speeds, but it’ll bang a little bit at higher speeds in sport and sport-plus modes. I don’t like that it shifts itself, even in manual mode, if you put the pedal to the floor. I think manual mode should never shift for you, redline or not. I do like that it only drops into second gear when slowing down, unless you grab that last paddle to go down into first.

The 3.4-liter H6 doesn’t really wake up until 4,500 rpm, and doesn’t sound good until about 6,000 rpm. At idle, all Porsches sound like they’re eating valves for breakfast. Something about the noise does add to the experience, though. You put your foot down, it kind of growls up to 4,500 rpm, then you can feel some push in the small of your back. At 6,000 rpm it really gets going, and a few seconds later it’s time to shift.

So, $100K will get you a Nissan GT-RJaguar F-Type R coupe or a Chevy Corvette Z06 with a few thousand to spare. With competition like that, I’m not sure the Porsche Cayman S has what it takes to outsell the other guys. It does have more neutral handling than the GT-R and F-Type R, but I haven’t driven the new Z06 yet. Still, I’m not sure great handling is worth the 200 hp handicap you have to deal with. For me, it isn’t. Great fun for a night, though.

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It's easy to push the 2014 Porsche Cayman S with confidence.

ROAD TEST EDITOR JONATHAN WONG: It’s easy to get sticker shock from the as-tested prices of many of the Porsche press cars that roll in through the Autoweek office. Yes, it’s quite easy to load a Porsche up with $20K to $30K worth of options. The folks in Stuttgart are laughing over schnitzel and beer at the absurd amount of money they make off of options, but more power to them if they can get away with it.

Of course, they are just that -- options, and the good news for consumers is that you don’t have to spring for the pricey carbon ceramic brakes or the fancy infotainment system that includes a kicking Bermester audio system. Forgo those two options, and you’ve whacked $14,130 from the price of our 2014 Porsche Cayman S test car.

What’s important here is the car the Cayman S is at its core, and that’s a magnificent driver’s car. Midengine dynamics, a refined suspension, just-right power from a smooth boxer six-cylinder and appealing looks are all working in the Cayman’s favor. To me, this is probably the most flexible driver’s car available from a higher-volume carmaker today. If you’re looking for the purest driving experience, I would point you towards the Alfa Romeo 4C, but that comes at the expense of daily comfort, a relatively spartan interior and some overall practicality. So I’m saying a Cayman is practical? Yeah, I sort of am if you consider that it does have a trunk that can carry a weekend’s worth of luggage for a couple of people, be comfortable on the street for daily driving and it packs a pretty nice interior with features like Bluetooth, navigation and satellite radio. You can take a road trip with the Cayman and be rather comfortable and happy, while that’s not so much the case with the Alfa.

It’s no longer a big surprise that the Cayman is such an accommodating normal driver even if you consider the low-profile 20-inch Pirelli PZero tires. The 991 Carrera is shockingly cushy on broken streets and the Boxster and Cayman are, too. Porsche sports cars have that two-way argument going for them now being both good for the road and on the track. So you can drive your Porsche sports car to a weekend track day and get there without feeling like you’ve had the daylights beaten out of you and run on track all day and then go home in comfort with the suspension softened.

The redesigned 2014 Porsche Cayman S taillights look awesome.

Over my weekend stint with this Cayman S, I didn’t bomb around hard too much. Instead it was mostly regular commuting all across town with various passengers getting and out of it. One of them commented on the nice leathers covering the dash and door panels, while another found the sport seats to be extremely comfortable and supportive. The interior layout is easy to work through with all buttons clearly labeled. Some may think there are too many buttons in there, but I don’t mind buttons, and would take a bunch of those over scrolling through a bunch of touchscreen menus every time.

No complaints about the engine that’s smooth and punchy particularly from the middle to the top of rev band, nor do I have any problems with the ZF dual-clutch transmission, which is one of the best units in the business. However, when building a Cayman S of my dreams, I would get the standard six-speed manual gearbox and save $3,200 because I’m old-fashioned like that. I know, the dual-clutch will be quicker around a racetrack, but I still like manuals… a lot.

When I did push the Cayman a little, it was as expected with lots of grip, neutral behavior in corners and good steering feel. I do miss all the feedback and feel of the old fully hydraulic steering systems, but the electromechanical system on the Boxster and Cayman are alright. Steering is a bit more communicative in the smaller Porsche sports car than on the 911.

My ideal Cayman S would probably punch in at about $75K, which is still a lot of money. We can sit here and debate about the other cars you could have for that kind of money, but ultimately it comes down to how a car makes you feel. For me, the Cayman S is my pick because dynamically it’s stellar and really entertaining on a track. Then on the flip side, the Cayman is well suited for all the other times when you’re not on a track.

If I’m just looking for a track terror, then give me a 4C. Or maybe, like Jake mentioned above, the new Corvette Z06 may be the ticket for the ultimate $75K sports car. No doubt it should torch a tra

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