New Porsche 718 Cayman GTS 4.0 2020 review

The new Porsche 718 Cayman GTS 4.0 ditches turbocharging for a naturally-aspirated flat-six, we find out if it's the pick of the range...

Overall Auto Express Rating

5.0 out of 5

Verdict

It may not look any different, but this new 718 Cayman GTS is a transformation - and the pick of the range. At face value it may seem pricey compared with a regular Cayman S, but the extra cash is worth it for the new naturally-aspirated 4.0-litre engine alone. The additional standard kit it comes with is merely a bonus. To put it simply, this new GTS is one of sweetest, rewarding and enjoyable sports cars on sale.

There were very few faults with the previous Porsche 718 Cayman GTS, but one big problem: the engine. The sweet spot of the range had been dealt a dud hand due to its quite underwhelming 2.5-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine.

Perhaps seeing the error of its ways - although Porsche will never admit to it - the 718 Cayman GTS was wheeled back to Stuttgart for a rethink. Visually, it’s almost identical, the key difference is what you can’t see; the old 2.5-litre four-cylinder turbo has been ditched in favour of a 4.0-litre naturally-aspirated flat-six. Think of it as more of an organ transplant than your standard facelift. 

Now we’ve got the car in the UK for the first time. At £64,480, before options, the GTS sits at the upper end of the range, ahead of the £53,140 Cayman S, which, as we know, sticks with the 2.5 four-cylinder motor. 

That £11,000 price gap is a chunky one, so what do you get for your extra cash? Well, let's talk about the powertrain first. The 4.0-litre flat-six is essentially the same motor you’ll find in the wonderful Cayman GT4. It will rev to 7,800rpm, develops 396bhp, 420Nm of torque and sends all of its power to the rear axle via a six-speed manual gearbox. Quite simply, it is the perfect setup for a sports car the size of the Cayman. 

Other GTS-specific trinkets include some acronyms, such as PTV (Porsche Torque Vectoring, including a mechanically locking rear differential) and PASM (Porsche Active Suspension management). The pair would cost you an extra £2,105 if you were to add them to a Cayman S. 

There’s also Porsche’s Sport Chrono Pack, usually a £1,271 option, tinted Bi-xenon headlamps, another £1,002, and 20-inch alloys, which would cost you around £1,500 to spec on the GTS’s lesser sibling. 

That’s just shy of £6,000 of what would be optional kit fitted as standard then, plus there’s GTS exclusive equipment, such as the centre-exit dual exhaust, active drivetrain mounts and plenty of subtle GTS badging. And of course there’s the engine  - don’t forget the engine. But Porsche will still make you pay an extra £228 for cruise control and £210 for folding mirrors. Stingy. 

Fire up the Cayman GTS and the change is immediately noticeable. Gone is the unpleasant drone from the four-cylinder motor and in its place a deep, rumbling burble at idle from the flat-six. And things only get better from here.

While the engine in the previous turbocharged GTS would have given its best midway through the range, the 4.0-litre unit keeps giving all the way beyond 7,000rpm - and it rewards you if you keep pushing. The six-speed manual operates with a beautiful mechanical precision and snatching second will see you breach the national speed limit with relative ease. 

If there is a gripe with the GTS, and one that has accompanied the car since its launch, it’s the comically long gearing. Use everything the GTS has in third gear and you’re looking at well into three-figure speeds. 

On the road, the GTS strikes a lovely balance between the perfect amount of power and usability; it feels as if you can use all of the engine’s performance at all times without it ever feeling overwhelming. Porsche says 0-62mph takes 4.5 seconds, which is certainly fast enough. Can you go faster for less? Of course, but that’s not what the GTS is about. 

That power is paired up to wonderfully balanced chassis and weighty but precise steering. The GTS may have had a quite dramatic transformation beneath the skin but little has changed with the way it tackles a winding B-road. It’s superb. 

Flicking the Cayman into Sport mode, using the little steering wheel-mounted rotary dial, is where it operates at its best. The throttle, steering and noise all become sharper, while a rev-matching function accompanies downshifts, smoothing out changes and keeping the engine closer to its key operating window. 

Our notoriously rutted and broken tarmac only highlights the Cayman’s excellent body control; rarely does it get flustered when covering ground at speed allowing you to really make the most of the engine and chassis. 

The traction control can be fully deactivated, but a Sport setting within gives you a bit of leeway without totally removing the invisible safety net. And it’s here where the brilliance of the GTS truly shines. 

Other niggles? If we’re picking, the Cayman is beginning to show its age a little inside. The new 911 and Taycan have really moved the game on for Porsche, and one look inside the 718 gives it age away; the centre console is littered with buttons and dials, which aren’t a pain to use, but it just doesn’t look especially clean. Is it enough to spoil what is otherwise a faultless package? Absolutely not.

Model:Porsche 718 Cayman GTS
Price:£64,480
Engine4.0-litre 6cyl petrol
Power/torque:
396bhp/420Nm
Transmission:Six-speed manual, rear wheel drive
0-62mph:4.5 seconds
Top speed:182mph
Economy:25.9
CO2:247g/km
On saleNow

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