The differences between the Porsche Boxster and Cayman are pretty slim. Both models, however, have similarities so precise they’re almost the same car: the Boxster and the Cayman are priced around $50,000, both the Boxster and the Cayman have two passenger seats, both are designed for speed and performance with their flat-six mid engines, and both are shining examples of Porsche’s engineering prowess and capabilities. Both cars also require the same amount of maintenance needed for Porsche cars, but their similarities make it so that their requirements are similar, if not the same.
What differences they do have are minimal, some are aesthetic while others are related to performance, but by and large, the differences between the Boxster and the Cayman are almost negligible. Almost.
For many Porsche fans, the most glaringly obvious difference between then Porsche Boxster and Cayman is that the former is available only as a convertible, while the latter is coupe-only. This difference is highlighted by the Boxster’s retractable canvas fabric roof and the Cayman’s closed-top aesthetic. The Cayman’s roof also sweeps further back, giving it a more elegant look, compared to the Boxster’s sporty vibe.
Beyond that, though, everything else looks almost exactly the same: squat proportions, round headlights, andidentical rear spoilers that cleanly divide the taillights. For all intents and purposes, aside from the roof, it’s practically the same car.
But that’s for the base models: if you’re looking for style differences, you’ll need to check out their special editions. The special editions are what really bring out the differences between the Porsche Boxster and Cayman, at least from a style perspective. Whether it’s the aggressive looking Cayman GT4 or the built-for-speed Boxster Spyder, with its large lip spoiler, roll hoops, and its iconic miniscule fabric roof.
Again, not much of a difference between the Boxster and the Cayman: both cars sport a beautifully-designed, precisely constructed cabin with a long, shallow center console, a design feature taken straight out of the Panamera’s aesthetic bible. Aside from that, both cars also borrow design elements from the mythical 918 Spyder (Porsche’s successful attempt at a ‘hypercar’) with its spoke steering wheel.
The seats are also perfectly positioned to give drivers the most optimal driving position. Both cars also come with standard leather seats, although the Cayman GT4-’s optional bucket seatoption has often been cited as being superior to the standard seats of the base models.
The front and rear compartments, however, is where we see the other key difference between the Boxster and the Cayman. The Boxster’s retractable roof means it needs extra space for both the roof and its machinery, meaning that it only has 9.6 cubic feet of space, while the Cayman boasts a more spacious 14.9 cubic feet of both front and rear trunks.
On the Road
One of the things Porsche kept in mind when designing both the Boxster and the Cayman was the idea that these cars should be driven with its top down. This means designing it to have a relatively low mass and low center of gravity while moving the engine to the middle of the chassis. These are all designed to give both cars the agility it needs to tackle city, freeway, and race track roads. The powerful flat-six engines provide more than enough power to give drivers that gliding feeling without making you feel like you’re flying off the road.
Of course, since only the Boxster has the option of actually putting its top down, many drivers will find the Cayman to be a hair or so stiffer to handle than the Boxster.But even I have to admit that’s a difference between the two so minimal, it’s practically negligible: you’d notice it only if you were looking for it or if you had some kind of instrumentation to tell you. Otherwise, they’re practically identical.
From an engine standpoint, the differences between the Boxster and the Cayman are, again, negligible: both cars use an M96 water-cooled horizontally opposed (or “flat”) V6 engine that gives the Boxster and the Cayman a powerful 265HP punch. This means that the Boxster and the Cayman can go 0-60 in about 5.8 seconds (although some people argue that the Cayman does it at 5.7, but again, who cares?). Both engines carry 2.7 liters of fuel.
To see some real differences between the Boxster and the Cayman, you’ll have to again look at their special versions. The S and GTS variants have a larger engine at 3.4 liters and pumps out 315HP for the Boxster and 330HP for the Cayman. This means that their respective 0-60’s goes down to almost five-seconds flat. But, again, these differences, while there, are so minimal that only an engineer or a nitpicker extraordinaire would notice the difference.
One key difference I noticed, however, is the way they sound: while both S and GTS variants have that lovely Porsche purr, it’s the Cayman GTS, with its sports exhaust system, that really pushes it up a notch into a full-fledged throaty growl, particularly at higher speeds.
The differences between the Boxster and the Cayman’s special editions become more apparent when you take a hard look at the Spyder and the GT$, with their even bigger 3.8 liter engine (borrowed from the 911 S), which provides a whopping 375HP for the Spyder and 385 for the GT4. This means that their 0-60’s drop down even further, with both cars achieving 60 at 4.5 seconds (4.4 for the Cayman GT4).
And here’s where the differences end: in terms of fuel efficiency, while not a priority for sports cars like these, there isn’t a difference between the Boxster and the Cayman, with both cars averaging at 30 miles per gallon, which seems mediocre but remember: these are powerful sports cars. That they’ve brought it down to 30mpg is no small feat whatsoever and is definitely something super impressive.
Which One Should I Get?
Personally, because the differences between the Boxster and the Cayman are so slim, you can choose either and still be very happy with your purchase. That being said, the Cayman does have a very slight edge over the Boxster, particularly if you’re looking for a car that is both fast and practical. The Cayman’s almost 15 cubic feet of storage space is perfect for weekend warriors who want to take their car down to the track on a Saturday and really put it through the ringer. You can do the same with the Boxster, you’ll just have less space for your golf clubs.