Porsche AG, Volkswagen AG’s high-end luxury brand, will make the Cayman sports car lighter and faster to shore up its reputation for performance as it pushes for sales growth.
The third-generation Cayman, which debuted yesterday at the Los Angeles Auto Show, can accelerate to 60 miles per hour in as little as 4.6 seconds, 0.2 seconds faster than its predecessor, the Stuttgart, Germany-based carmaker said. The top speed of the revamped model will be 283 kilometers (176 miles) per hour compared with 277 kph for the current car.
“A longer wheelbase, wider track and larger wheels enhance the driving performance of the mid-engine sports car to a level without equal in its competitive class,” the VW unit said in a statement.
The maker of the 911 sports car is seeking to underscore its high-octane image as it prepares to roll out the more practical Macan compact sport-utility vehicle late next year. The expansion is part of a push to boost sales to at least 200,000 vehicles by 2018, a 71 percent gain from 2011.
After the Macan, Porsche is considering adding two more vehicles, including a smaller version of the Panamera four-door coupe and a $250,000 sports-car to challenge the Ferrari 458 Italia. The 918 Spyder, an $845,000 limited-run hybrid supercar, will be Porsche’s most expensive model ever when deliveries start next year.
Matthias Mueller, the head of the Porsche brand, said in an interview earlier this year that the company intends to ensure that it has a balance between purebred sports cars and other models to maintain its heritage.
“Porsche has great potential to expand into other non-traditional sports-car segments as long as they don’t dilute their image,” said Al Bedwell, an Oxford-based analyst with LMC Automotive.
Porsche trimmed the Cayman’s weight by as much as 30 kilograms (66 pounds) and increased engine output on the base model to 275 horsepower from 265 horsepower to boost speed and improve handling. It also added options like active cruise control and keyless entry and ignition.
Ahead of the relaunch, the Cayman was Porsche’s lowest-selling model last year, with 5,188 vehicles delivered, less than one-third of the sales of the iconic 911. The brand’s best-seller is the Cayenne. With deliveries of 59,873 vehicles, the SUV accounted for more than half of Porsche’s sales worldwide of 116,978 cars in 2011.
The revamped Cayman, which shares underpinnings with the Boxster roadster, will go on sale on March 2 in Europe. The base version starts at 51,385 euros ($66,729), while the 325-horsepower Cayman S begins at 64,118 euros. In the U.S., the Cayman will cost $52,600 and the Cayman S $63,800.