If you’re like us, you have a long list of gear you’d love to own. But reality (almost) always steps in, along with bank accounts and eagle-eyed spouses, leaving your gadget desires unfulfilled. What’s a guy to do? Gear Patrol’s series “Want This, Get This” presents a lust-worthy piece of gear along with a more affordable alternative that scratches the same itch.
It’s practically every boy’s dream to own a sports car. Good news: it’s a lie that you have to either win the lottery or inherit a family fortune to afford one. Both machines here couldn’t be more different with regard to country of origin, styling and amenities — and they’re separated by 125 horsepower and over $35,000. What they both deliver, as we’re about to show you, is true driving pleasure, the likes of which we don’t see nearly enough in the automotive industry. Rear wheel drive, tossable chassis and razor sharp steering are a recipe for petrolhead ambrosia, served up hot and fresh. As far as we’re concerned, both of these cars are a splurge — in driving pleasure as well as cold hard cash. But which one’s for you?
Porsche Cayman S
Drive a 911, and you’ve either got petrol running through your veins or you want to look like you do. Drive a Cayman, and you’re unequivocally the former. The last Cayman we drove was the R, and it was as mad as a trip to the asylum yet composed as a brain surgeon. The new generation of Caymans proves no less thrilling, and is several notches up in the technology and design game. The S is quite possibly one of the world’s most balanced and engaging sports cars built today, and the new, sexier lines sure don’t hurt. It’s no 911 wannabe — the Cayman has carved out its own niche that belies its price tag. Powerful but not overbearing, the Cayman S is more tractable than the venerable 911 and undercuts the icon’s price by $20K. 325 horsepower and a 0-60 time of 4.7 seconds mean its damned quick, too. Okay, so $60K+ is still out of reach for most mortals, but it’s one car that feels like it’s worth far more than the asking price. Drive one and you’ll understand what it means to be passionate about cars.
Don’t think that you’ve got to spend 60 grand in order to have your fun. The minds at both Toyota and Subaru (the Subaru BRZ is the FR-S’s sister car) believed that an affordable true driver’s car was possible, and, thank goodness, they were right. You won’t get the looks or the respect from the valet like you would with the Cayman, but anybody who knows anything about cars knows the FR-S is a friend to the weekend trackster.
It’s fairly spartan on the inside: only the driving position, the gearshift, the huge tach and some very good sport seats give the impression of a car that costs more than a $25K. But it’s truly a car that carries on the bargain sports car legacy of the Toyota MR2, the Mazda RX-7 and the Honda S2000; a 200 hp 4-cylinder boxer engine is smooth, albeit a bit buzzy, and well-mated with the very capable chassis and great steering. That’s the formula for deep motoring satisfaction at a great price point. Seriously: for the price of the Cayman you could buy two FR-Ss and still have enough left over for some nice power tweaks. Yeah, now you’re thinking.