Derived and inspired from the 2nd and 3rd generations of the Porsche Boxster, the Porsche Cayman is another roadster lineup for the company.
The lineup was named after an alligator type called the Caiman, and while they both may share the same name, the Porsche Caiman has a lot of speed and power on the road, and with its sleek design, it is something you would want to go towards instead of running away.
While there have been many models of the Porsche Cayman over the years, most, if not all of them, are widely considered great vehicles with a few downsides here and there.
These slight issues set the tone for me to describe the best and worst years for Porsche Cayman, which I will be doing while ranking them based on my research.
Best Years for Porsche Cayman:
Worst Years for Porsche Cayman:
There are also various questions and problems surrounding the lineup, and I will try my best to answer and state them.
List Of The Best Years For The Porsche Cayman: What Years To Buy
These years are widely considered the best of the best for the lineup as the models show great performance and potential.
#1 Best Year: 2008 Porsche Cayman
The reason why I am placing the 2008 Porsche Cayman in first place on this list is that this model not only had no problems affecting it at all, it received no complaints from the NHSTA and has amassed a huge following of fans who love this year and have declared it the best model of the lineup.
This year only had two different trims available, but they were spectacular and virtually flawless.
The car featured impressive dynamics with a perfectly responsive steering and handling, superb interior quality, great mileage, and smooth-revving power, making the overall riding and driving feel extremely great.
With a mid-sized engine chassis, the car came with six airbags for added protection, an optional dash-top stopwatch, and two areas where you could store your cargo which amounted to decent cargo storage.
The cozy interior cabin is complemented by the plethora of standard safety features such as antilock brakes and an electronic stability system, making this car deserves the top spot on this lost.
#2 Best Year: 2009 Porsche Cayman
Following in the footsteps of the 2008 model, the 2009 Porsche Cayman tried to one-up its predecessor, but due to a couple of complaints raised by the NHTSA regarding the engine and drivetrain, the 2009 Porsche Cayman takes the second spot on this list.
The model featured improved mileage and was not more distinguished from the Porsche Boxster, which helped it establish its own identity.
The model owners greatly appreciated the new headlights and the dual-clutch automated and manual transmission system. Overall it is yet another outstanding model that deserves to be on this list for its sheer reliability and performance.
#3 Best Year: 2012 Porsche Cayman
Skipping a few years and I present to you the 2012 Porsche Cayman, which only received one complaint from the NHTSA regarding the engine but also suffered from a recall which affected a couple of hundred models who now found themselves not having optimally rounded seat belts.
While the two issues may seem big, rest assured that the 2012 Porsche Cayman not only makes up for these mistakes but makes sure you never even think of them as you will be distracted by the intuitive responsiveness of the steering and brakes.
The handling balance is superb, and the gas mileage is outstanding. I am placing this model in 3rd place on this list because of these two reasons.
#4 Best Year: 2011 Porsche Cayman
Before the 2012 Porsche Cayman release, people were driving the 2011 model, which also featured outstanding acceleration and was packed with great handling, braking, and the dual-clutch manual, automated transmission.
I am placing this model in 4th place because not only does this model require premium gas only, which is more of an inconvenience than a bad thing, but because it faced complaints from the NHTSA regarding the drivetrain the engine.
While these complaints were quite a few, they were still enough for me to place the model here as the lineup is full of great vehicles, and ranking them is coming down to very small issues such as this.
#5 Best Year: 2007 Porsche Cayman
Taking the spot at last place on this list is the 2007 Porsche Cayman. I am placing this model in last place because it faced the most varied amount of complaints from the NHTSA.
These complaints were regarding the engine, the body, the exhaust system, and the drivetrain. Despite this, the model was still very successful, laying the foundation for the 2008 model and featuring the same great amount of handling, acceleration, and styling with increased affordability.
The car is also known for its reliability. Owners have reported driving this model as late as 2020, which means at least 13 years of smooth, fun driving.
List Of The Worst Years For The Porsche Cayman: What Years To Avoid
While not necessarily bad, these models do have a few kinks here and there, which knock them down a step from the models listed above.
#1 Worst Year: 2006 Porsche Cayman
I am placing the 2006 Porsche Cayman in the first place because this model had a common problem related to the transmission where the shifter cable would break. This would result in the car getting stuck in gear, and the shifter would become limp.
The NHSTA also raised a complaint against it regarding its engine cooling system as owners have reported that the crankshaft would fail and result in the engine getting blown.
Apart from these two major issues, the 2006 Porsche Cayman has been criticized by owners for its comfortability, finding it lacking in various areas and saying that it could have been better.
Another huge con for this particular year was that it only made one trim available for purchase which meant that people would have to get the same car.
Any upgrades and modifications would have to be done by the owners themselves. This lack of customizability did not do the year any good.
#2 Worst Year: 2021 Porsche Cayman
The 2021 Porsche Cayman is one of the most recent models released into the lineup, so you would think that it would be at least manufactured well.
But unfortunately for people who wanted to buy this model, the company decided to stop new sales of the model as they discovered that the model was manufactured with faulty control rods.
This issue was quite dangerous as it could lead to engine damage and potentially cause a fire, which is very dangerous to both the passengers and other pedestrians.
This issue also caused frequent stalling to occur, which is very annoying. If the model had not temporarily ceased its production, it would have been number one on this list.
#3 Worst Year: 2014 Porsche Cayman
I decided to place the 2014 Porsche Cayman at 4th place because this model had a lot of complaints from the NHSTA and a body-related issue.
The model was recalled four different times, which is sad considering the lineup is full of great models. Just like the complaints of the NHSTA, the recalls were very varied and affected models, which were few and far between.
The body, however, did have an issue that translated to a sagging headliner. This resulted from Glue failure, which caused the fabric to fall onto the driver’s head.
This would be very distracting and annoying while driving and could also potentially cause an obstruction which may hinder driving.
#4 Worst Year: 2010 Porsche Cayman
Due to receiving various complaints regarding the drivetrain and a few issues related to the engine other miscellaneous problems by the NHTSA, the 2010 Porsche Cayman takes 4th place.
The shifter cable was still breaking, and this time was causing a loss of control of the transmission. This issue can cause drivers to get stuck in or out of gear while driving, which can be very dangerous.
This issue was fairly common, but it started to occur at the halfway point of the vehicle’s life span, which is not something you would expect from a sports car.
Owners have reported this occurring as early as 54,000 miles. Having issues like this in the car’s lifespan is not a good sign for longevity.
#5 Worst Year: 2016 Porsche Cayman
The final year on this list is the 2016 Porsche Cayman. I am placing it at the last spot because it suffered from the various interior, electrical, and engine-related issues as highlighted by the NHTSA one recall.
The recall and the interior problem were based on the same thing; the airbag ECU malfunctioning would deactivate the airbags. This would result in an increased chance of injury in a car crash.
The valve timing adjusters sprocket bolts tended to shear under high load. Luckily the company handled the situation early on before the problem festered into something greater.
While many people consider the 2016 Porsche Cayman to be an overall decent vehicle, these problems are ones you just cannot ignore.
What Are The Most Common Problems With The Porsche Cayman?
While none of these problems are initially dangerous or difficult to fix, as they develop, they can lead to massive amounts of damage around the car, which is why you should be aware of these common problems and fix them once you identify them.
1. Air Condition System Issues
Porsche Cayman has a habit of having its air conditioning system run out of refrigerant, resulting in the air conditioner blowing out warm air despite the heater not being on.
This is usually the result of leaks that can occur at any section of the hose or joint and even at the front of the condenser. These leaks go undetected but are not too difficult to fix however the issue itself is quite annoying.
2. Engine Overheating
This issue is the result of engine cylinder cracking caused by any number of reasons, from coolant consumption to oil consumption.
Either case results in the engine overheating, which results in engine damage and can cause the coolant to disappear. This can be an extremely destructive problem if left unchecked.
The only way to properly fix this is to rebuild or replace the engine, which are costly options.
3. Engine Misfires
This issue was also quite common with the Porsche Boxster and was only in select engine types, which also occurs in Porsche Cayman.
A single-cylinder is usually affected, which develops a habit of misfiring above 3,000 rpm, and this becomes even more common at and above 4,000 rpm.
It is caused by failing spark plugs, coils, and injectors and can be easily avoided by replacing the parts causing the issue.
4. Oil Leaks
This is yet another problem that Porsche Cayman shares with the Porsche Boxster. The oil leaks occur mainly at the valve covers, rear main seals, oil cooler seals, and spark plug seals.
The number of areas where the leaks can occur makes it difficult to identify the problem source and can also expand the range of other components affected by the leaking oil, such as oily spark plugs, which can get destroyed over time.
5. Exhaust Rattle
Apart from catalytic failure, which many models can experience, the main exhaust pipe of various models of the Porsche Cayman, which is connected to the catalytic converter, will crack and fail.
This results in a rattling sound as the muffler and the converter are all coming apart internally, which is a very destructive problem as it can result in blockage, which can cause overheating.
This also leads to the exhaust glowing hot red, which is something you do not want to see.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. How Long Will A Porsche Cayman Last?
Like most sports cars, the Porsche Cayman will last as long as it is given proper maintenance and treated with the respect it deserves.
On average, it can last well over 100,000 miles, but with regular and dedicated maintenance, you can bump these numbers up to more than 150,000 miles, resulting in a life span of well over ten years. This is very long-lasting for sports cars.
Q2. Are Porsche Caymans Expensive To Maintain?
You do not buy a German Sportscar because it is cheap to maintain or has low maintenance. You buy it for the sheer force and speed it can provide you with.
This is what you get when you buy a Porsche Cayman, a car that is substantially more expensive to maintain and is very high maintenance but can provide you with a lot of horsepower and ridiculous speeds, which is a decent trade-off.
Q3. Is A Cayman A Real Porsche?
While it was not initially considered as such, the Porsche Cayman, after its launch in 2005, slowly began to build an identity for itself.
With each new model that would be released, the lineup would slowly bring more and more improvements to the point where the Porsche Cayman would eventually be recognized as a genuine Porsche Sportscar and formed its audience with people who were not able to buy the Porsche 911 but still wanted a piece of the action.
Q4. Is Cayman Better Than 911?
Featuring many more features, more horsepower due to the better performing engine, and faster acceleration, the Porsche 911 is substantially better than the Porsche Cayman, being more powerful and faster overall.
While the Cayman does offer good performance, it falls short when in front of the 911 as it should since the 911 costs a lot more than the Porsche Cayman, which makes the Cayman a good vehicle for those who cannot afford the 911.
Q5. How Much Is An Oil Change On A Porsche Cayman?
Depending on the type of engine your Porsche Cayman is using and where you are getting the oil change, you can expect the costs of changing the oil of your Porsche Cayman can be anywhere from $300 at the lowest to $500 at the most.
This is quite a big range so make sure you visit a few places to get the best deal for the job.
The Porsche Cayman is an overall great lineup of vehicles, with almost all of its cars having little to no issues. The issues that the car does, however, face are those which only cause serious damage if left unchecked and go out of control.
The best and worst years for Porsche Cayman have little to differentiate between them as all the models are great, boasting high performance, power, speed, and handling.
Models like the 2008 Cayman have a high reputation for reliability and performance, while models like the 2006 Cayman are less popular due to slight issues.
They are also great daily drives which is a huge plus since they are really fun to drive, and you will want to take them out for a ride now and then.
Hi there! I am Tahir Azam, and this is my blog. WVDOT Automotive is a website dedicated to creating high-quality content for car enthusiasts. I am also an avid car driver. I own and drive a Porsche for my daily tasks. It is the perfect vehicle for my family. I am a proud father of two boys. I spend my mornings and evenings catering to clients at my very own software hub. After getting home, I dedicate a few hours of my time to create an article every day. Well, this is a short introduction about me and I am also a publisher on Amazon. I hope you enjoy reading through my articles, and I also hope that I may have helped you choose an upgrade for your vehicle.