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Wrong Direction, Porsche:
New Cayman Takes Styling Cues from Panamera

July 9, 2013 by Matt

2014 Porsche Cayman Yellow

The 2014 Cayman

2014 Porsche Panamera

The 2014 Panamera

It’s no secret I consider the Porsche Panamera one of the ugliest vehicles available today. In a recent post on Porsche’s much-missed 928, I pointed out Porsche’s reputation for taking what some would consider a less-than-ideal design and persisting with it, improving to the point of excellence:

It’s this resolve that gives me hope that the automaker will refine the technically peerless but aesthetically hideous Panamera to the point where I can actually stand to look at it.

However, when placed side-by-side with a rear view of the Panamera, the brand-new 2nd-generation Cayman’s design seems to take some visual cues from the supersedan. Rather than backing away from the Panamera’s much-maligned squatting, hunchbacked proportions, Porsche actually seems to be doubling down, expanding that visual feature to include at least one more model in its range.

Porsche Cayman R Green

The 2011 Cayman R

At this point, I would normally just throw up my hands and move on…except that the 1st-generation Cayman is a stunning vehicle. Shown above, with the graceful, non-concave integration of the rear deck and fenders, the 1st-gen Cayman becomes more than just “a Boxster with a roof,” achieving a level of visual cohesiveness and purity rare for a hardtop derived from a convertible. The 1st gen looks lean, muscular and lithe where its successor appears slab-sided, bathtub-ish and awkward.

If Porsche applies the same rear-end treatment to a third model, is it officially a trend? Regardless, let’s hope their better aesthetic angels wave them off before we see another example of this unfortunate design direction.

Image credits:

Filed under: Aesthetics, News, Porsche


  1. John D says:

    I have always thought the Cayman one of the most attractive vehicles on the street. Don’t ruin it, Porsche…please???

    • Matt says:

      Well…by all accounts they haven’t ruined it dynamically. If the reviews are to be believed it’s better than ever (and in many ways better than the 911). But the looks… Oy vey. :(

      The silver lining is that values for the 1st gen car will probably drop somewhat now that the 2nd gen is out, and I can’t think of many better track/fun cars than a used Cayman/Boxster.

  2. Maybe I’m in the minority, but I don’t mind the new car’s looks — it’s certainly not like the 996 following the 993.

    Do these comments extend to the new Boxster design as well?

    • Matt says:

      The slab-sided comments extend to the Boxster, but my major criticism—the arched-back look of the rear roofline—obviously doesn’t, the Boxster being what it is.

      And you’re right; it’s nowhere near as bad as the initial 996 debacle…

  3. David D. says:

    I adore the new Cayman. I don’t think the styling cues (design language) is that similar to the (*pukes*) Panamera. Other than they both have really nice wheels. The Panamera is the most wrongheaded thing Porsche could set out to do. Other than The Cayenne. Which brings me to the point, Doesn’t the Panamera look like a couple drunk Cayenne’s gang raped a 911 and this is the bastard child?

    I don’t care how technically peerless it is. For the sake of all that is right and good in this world, kill the beast with fire.

    • Matt says:

      “I don’t care how technically peerless it is. For the sake of all that is right and good in this world, kill the beast with fire.”

      Agree with this. I hope Porsche decides to either “salvage” the Panamera by getting rid of the bumble-butt, or just kills it outright and brings us a proper 928 successor.

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