Porsche Cayman

Let's face it: In the language of economy cars, you never hear a Porsche accent.

Porsche's always styled itself exclusively for the Monte Carlo crowd - on a winning night. So what to make of this: Their engineers stuck their heads together for this rare model, a Boxster little brother that can turn heads at a base price of a shade less than $50,000.

To be sure, there's plenty of Porsche performance to ooh and aah over in this starter model. The 2.7-liter, 245-horsepower engine will propel you to 60 in just under six seconds. And that qualifies for a none-too-shabby 32 mpg on the highway, 23 mpg in the city. Take it on the track and the Cayman starter model is billed for a top speed of 160 mph.

There are black front-spoiler lips on this two-seater and a trapezoidal tailpipe to mark your rapid departures. And let's not forget the titanium logo in the rear to broadcast your association with the finer things in life.

Need to spend a little more to impress the neighbors? You can still stick with the Cayman. Add on some of the options - like a six-speed manual transmission - and you can get the sticker price up to snuff. Or just buy the Cayman S, which has a few extra bells and whistles (such as a larger, more powerful engine), at a starting price that takes you up by $10,000. But, hey, that also comes with a hotter engine that will knock a full eight-tenths of a second off your zero-to-60 commute time.

Starting at $49,400, or $59,400 for the S.