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New Cayman

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With the snow causing Britain’s annual transport havoc, the secrets of governments worldwide plastered over the front pages and the coalition’s cuts putting jobs in danger, the letters used to denote differences in car models probably aren’t at the forefront of your mind.

As a result, it’s highly likely you didn’t bat an eyelid at Porsche’s announcement that its latest Cayman sports car is distinguished by the addition of the letter ‘R’ to its name. But for the German car giant, it’s a very important difference.

Porsche reserves the letter for exclusive use on very special models only – such as last year’s 911 GT3 R and 1967’s rare 911 R, only 19 of which were ever made. So the question has to be: “What is it about this version of the Cayman that means it deserves the the exclusive designation?”

First off, there’s an additional 10 horsepower lurking inside the six-cylinder engine. This propels the Cayman R from 0-60mph in a mere 4.9 seconds. Coupled with that extra power, the engineers have also trimmed the weight from 2,954lb to just 2,855lb. All this allows the car to reach a top speed of 175mph.

But its looks are perhaps even more important and the design incorporates nods to the company’s formidable history. Sleek, black-framed headlights and black exterior mirrors hark back to its racing heritage, while the ‘PORSCHE’ lettering along the side of the car recalls the branding on the 1967 classic.

Priced around the £45,000 mark, the Cayman R won’t be available until February next year. So if your initial thoughts were about getting one for Christmas, best ask for some Porsche gift vouchers instead.

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