Porsche 718 Cayman review
The entry-level Porsche coupe is no poor-man's choice, as it's arguably more exploitable than the firm's faster models
To all intents and purposes, the Porsche 718 Cayman is an even more involving sports car than the old model. With the move to turbocharged four-cylinder engines, it lacks the previous generation’s electrifying soundtrack, and feels marginally less exciting as a result. However, Porsche has now responded and restored a six-cylinder unit to the GTS 4.0-litre model.
It’s still superb to drive, though, and as it now undercuts the drop-top 718 Boxster, it’s the cheapest Porsche for sale. We’d go for an entry-level Cayman with small wheels and a manual gearbox, because this offers the purest driving thrills with heaps of performance and plenty of luxury. The GTS, with the new 6-cylinder powerplant, is worth considering if you value pin-sharp handling above all else, too. An Audi TT RS is equally aurally stimulating, but it can’t beat a Cayman for outright driving delight - only the Alpine A110 can compete.
The Porsche 718 Cayman is the entry point to the world of new Porsche ownership, but it's by no means a poor man's choice. For starters, it's not cheap, with prices kicking off at around £45,000. But when you consider that it's one of the best handling and most accessible sports cars you can buy, it could easily justify a far higher price. And that statement applies whether you choose the standard car, or go for the faster Cayman S, T or GTS versions. The track-focused Cayman GT4 speaks for itself and offers the ultimate driver’s package, being superbly balanced, precise and razor sharp in its responses.
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The Cayman still shares its running gear with the open-top Boxster, which is now around £2,000 more than the coupe, while the name change to 718 Cayman signifies that it too has switched, in the main, from flat-six to four-cylinder turbo power. That change has boosted efficiency, while performance remains unabridged - in fact, the 718 has the best acceleration and handling of any Cayman yet produced.
Until recently, there weren't many direct rivals for the Porsche Cayman. But today, the Alpine A110 has landed, and it's a strong opponent to go up against. Elsewhere, there's the ageing Lotus Exige, while other rivals at a similar price point include the Jaguar F-Type, Audi TT RS, BMW M2 Competition and new Toyota Supra.
The standard Cayman features a 2.0-litre turbocharged flat-four making 296bhp, and it comes with either a 6-speed manual or optional 7-speed PDK twin-clutch auto. Both gearboxes are great to use, while opting for the latter sees fuel economy and acceleration improved over the manual.
For around £7,000 extra, the 718 Cayman T adds the Sport Chrono pack from the Cayman S, as well as ditching the infotainment system and fitting some additional mechanical kit to further sharpen the driving experience.
The Cayman S starts from around £54,000, and comes with a 2.5-litre turbocharged flat-four engine making 345bhp, again with 6-speed manual or 7-speed PDK gearbox options. The Cayman GTS gains 4.0-litre, 6-cylinder power, producing 394bhp and a price tag starting from just over £64,000. Like the rest of the range, this base price can quickly escalate if you are careless adding options.
The range-topping GT4 uses the same 4.0-litre flat-six engine, but gains an extra 20bhp over the GTS and comes with more sophisticated suspension, special sticky tyres and a host of unique aero-kit. You’ll have to really want one, though, as it’s priced at over £75,000.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe entry-level Porsche coupe is no poor-man's choice, as it's arguably more exploitable than the firm's faster models
- 2Engines, performance and drivePorsche offers a mix of four- and six-cylinder engines, helping ensure the 718 Cayman is a great car to drive in all its guises
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsThe benefit of a turbocharger is better fuel economy and lower emissions – although you still have the full-fat, six-cylinder option
- 4Interior, design and technologyLike all Porsches, the 718 Cayman is beautifully built – but be careful with the options list as kit is stingy and costs can spiral
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe Porsche 718 Cayman is a two-seat sports car, and as a result doesn’t benefit from particularly practical packaging
- 6Reliability and SafetyPorsche tends to fare well when it comes to reliability and safety, but those high star ratings don’t come cheap