Cayman, TT-RS signed for NZ duty

Revealed at the Beijing motor show yesterday and hot-tracking to New Zealand – that’s the plan for Germany’s latest, competing sporting choices.


POWERHAUS performance behind a premium German badge, that’s the promise with the New Zealand-bound big-name street racers that have grabbed attention at the Beijing motor show.

The 718-series Porsche Cayman and the Audi TT RS that were both unveiled yesterday are set to do brisk business for their common New Zealand rights-holder, European Motor Distributors – and might also be pitching for the same crowd.

Porsche New Zealand is more advanced in its planning; sales and marketing manager Jamie Taylor it has not pinned down an exact introductory date – merely promising that deliveries will begin in late 2016 – but has sorted a price. There’s a surprise twist with the latter, insofar that for the first time, the hard-top is more affordable than its rag-top Boxster twin.

The 718 Cayman starts at $123,900 with the 718 Cayman S from $148,500. The numerical designation is a reminder that the powertrains mirror that of the Boxster, with Porsche dropping the straight six engines for a pair of turbo four-pots, in 2.0-litre and 2.5-litre formats. It’s also a first that the Cayman and Boxster have identical engine outputs for the first time.

Meantime, Audi New Zealand general manager Dean Sheed says while the second-generation TT RS is expected to be here by early 2017, there’s still a lot of work to do. Not only is pricing subject to ongoing negotiation with Audi AG but also whether both the coupe and roadster body shapes simultaneously unveiled in Beijing yesterday will be seen here.

“We’re under negotiation with Audi AG regarding the body styles … pricing is also currently under negotiation.”

The latter rates consideration because of what’s happening in the United Kingdom. In what it is one of the TT RS’s priority markets, Ingolstadt’s four-wheel-drive coupe has been priced directly against the Cayman S.

They might shape up as equals on the road as well. The model is the first recipient of Audi’s latest turbocharged 2.5-litre five-cylinder petrol engine, which has an aluminium block that gets the kerb weight down by 10kg but also produces significant kapow.

Audi quotes an output of 294kW and claims a 0-100kmh time of 3.7 seconds for the coupe. That’s 0.4s quicker than the old TT RS hardtop with a dual-clutch gearbox and 0.5s inside the time Porsche quotes for the new 257kW turbocharged 2.5-litre four-cylinder powering the Cayman S.

Obviously, this is the sort of stuff that makes for a good sale pitch. Sheed says he won’t have a clear idea of volume expectations until the pricing is sorted, but he seems confident the new version will at least match the 21 unit count the original TT RS achieved here from 2009 to 2013.

 “The new TT RS builds upon the already successful TT formula and further extends the performance characteristics of the much awarded RS3 – NZ Sports Car of the year in 2015,” Sheed said.

“The TT RS is a clear example of Audi DNA and Audi Sport with its lightweight material technology, design innovation, class leading interior with a virtual cockpit and supercar-like driving performance”

He said one facet of particular technical interest is that it’s the first Audi using Matrix OLED – that’s for organic light emitting diode - rear lighting. This “extends Audi’s leading positioning with respect to automotive lighting.”

The TT RTS roadster is 90kg heavier than the coupe and that reflects in a 0-100kmh optimum that is 0.2s slower than the coupe’s, though still 0.3s quicker than the previous model. Top speed for both TT RS editions is limited to 250kmh, although it can be raised to 280kmh.

Peak torque is 480Nm between 1700 and high 5850rpm, 15Nm more than the old model.

A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox with TT RS specific ratios is standard, along with launch control software and steering wheel-mounted shift paddles.

The new TT RS rides on a chassis lowered by 10mm over the standard TT. Further changes include stiffer springs and dampers and standard 19in alloy wheels, ceramic brakes will be an option.

The racer stands out from the mainstream TT models by taking new bumpers front and rear, wider door sills, deeper air intakes at the front end, oval exhaust pipes and a large rear fixed spoiler, although buyers can opt for a more subtle extendable spoiler.

The entry Cayman uses a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol unit delivering 221kW and 380Nm, a 25kW/90Nm lift over the old model, while the S 0 in addition to creating 36kW more than the base engine – also has more torque: 420Nm between 1900rpm and 4500rpm, an increase of 50Nm compared with the outgoing model. 

When paired with PDK and optional Sport Chrono Package, the Cayman clocks 0- 100kmh in 4.7s, on to a top speed of 275kmh, or 10kmh slower than the S.

The switch to smaller engines delivers fuel-efficiency gains, with the Cayman burning between 6.9 and 7.4 litres per 100km on the combined cycle, depending on transmission choice in markets where there is one (NZ seems set to be PDK pure), down from 7.7-8.2L/100km.

The Cayman S is also more frugal, consuming 7.3-8.1L/100km, a drop from 8.0-8.8L/100km of the old model.

Porsche says the chassis has been “completely retuned”, helping lateral rigidity and wheel tracking, while redesigned springs and stabiliser bars make for added firmness and the shock absorber tune has also been revised.

Steering is now 10 percent more direct, according to Porsche, and the half-inch wider rear wheels and redeveloped tyres make for “increased lateral force and hence greater cornering stability”.

Dynamic options include the Porsche Torque Vectoring and Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), which lowers the ride height by 100mm, or in the S model by 20mm with the PASM sport suspension.

The optional Sport Chrono Package is accessed via a switch on the steering wheel and a new Individual setting supplements the previous modes of Normal, Sport and Sport Plus. 

Braking has been boosted with 330mm discs at the front and 299mm at the rear. The new Cayman takes the brake system from the old Cayman S, while the new Cayman S uses the four-piston callipers from the 911 Carrera matched with 6mm-thicker brake discs.

The Cayman takes most of its design cues from its drop-top sibling, featuring bi-Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights (DRL), although LED headlights with the now-familiar four-point DRLs are offered as an option.

Inside, the changes match those of the Boxster's, with the upper dash and airvents all new, a new 918 Spyder-inspired steering wheel and a revised Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system.