New Porsche 718 Cayman T 2019 review
Does the new lightweight Porsche 718 Cayman T deliver the driving thrills that it promises?
The added kit offered on the latest Cayman T will appeal to a select group of hardcore Porsche buyers. However you specify it, the Cayman is a fantastic sports car that can hold a torch to models costing twice the price. Yet 90 per cent of buyers won’t notice the difference – such is the brilliance of the base car. In PDK guise, this Cayman T just misses the mark.
Or so Porsche says. The 718 T models (there’s also a Boxster variant for those who prefer roofless thrills) offer that purer driving experience by removing things like the standard car’s infotainment system and lardy metal door pulls. The weight this saves, the brand claims, compensates for the additional heft brought about by a new gasoline particulate filter.
Continuing the theme, both the Cayman and Boxster T have a six-speed manual transmission as standard, and use the basic 296bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine from the cheapest models in the range.
Our car, however, has been fitted with not only the firm’s PCM infotainment system, but also the heavier automatic gearbox. While Porsche’s PDK is among the best transmissions of its type, it removes some of the engagement served so sweetly in the manual car. Given what the 718 Cayman T stands for, we’d save some cash (£2,303) and stick with the manual box.
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The T is said to offer a five to 10 per cent price saving over a similarly-specified base Cayman. It gets the Sport Chrono pack, which isn’t available on the entry-level car, as well as 20-inch wheels and a 20mm drop in ride height. There’s a mechanical diff and torque vectoring, too.
These upgrades give the Cayman immense traction, slingshotting it out of tight bends – especially on smooth, dry roads. But the model’s lightweight ethos doesn’t translate into a harsh ride. Save some heightened road noise, the T is incredibly poised and offers a remarkably comfortable ride. It’s firm, yet there’s a beautiful cushion to the damping that prevents all but the worst bumps shaking through the cabin.
The steering is another T strong point, feeling darty and offering plenty of feel. It’s well weighted – light enough around town, but heavier at high speeds. Linked to the pancake-flat body control, it gives this Cayman an astounding level of agility.
But the trouble is, the standard Cayman is such a fine-handling car that we’d argue that 90 per cent of drivers would never sufficiently exploit the T’s chassis to notice the extra benefits it brings.