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New Porsche 718 Cayman Style Edition 2023 review

The new Porsche 718 Cayman Style Edition stands out from the crowd with a series of bold cosmetic tweaks

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

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Verdict

A head-turning colour and decal pack hasn’t transformed the 718 Cayman, but the Style Edition is a reminder of what a fabulous handling sports car the 718 remains. While we’d stretch to a six-cylinder version if you can, with an electric mid-engined model on the way from Porsche, it will have a lot to live up to if it’s to deliver the same driving involvement.

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Porsche's 718 Cayman will soon be replaced by an EV sports car, but to inject a bit of interest into the petrol-powered version of the Stuttgart firm’s entry-level two-seater, Porsche has released this Style Edition. It’s available with a lively colour palette in both fixed-roof Cayman form and as an open-top 718 Boxster, but it’s the coupe that we’re trying here. 

The most obvious change for our test car comes with its Ruby Star Neo paint finish; a very clear nod to the Ruby Star finish famously worn by the 964-generation 911 Carrera RS. Whether you’re a fan of the colour or not, what’s without question is that it turns a lot of heads.

Here, the visuals are made even more vibrant by the contracting white highlight pack, which includes a double stripe across the bonnet, a door stripe with ‘Porsche’ lettering, and white 718 Cayman badges. These are set off by 20-inch 718 Spyder wheels, also in finished white.

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If you prefer a more subdued look, then the Style Edition is also available in any one of Porsche’s other extensive colour options, and can be specified with black stripes and silver or black wheels at no cost.

Inside, it’s a little more sober regardless, with black leather seats and contrast white stitching. Despite the Cayman’s age – this fourth-generation 982 model came out back in 2016 – it still feels well put together. Plenty of buttons and a dated infotainment system betray its age, though we only see the second of those as a bad thing. It’s a strict two seater, but one with surprising space. A deep storage area in the nose totals 150 litres, while an open area behind the seats adds 184 litres of fairly usable luggage space given this is a mid-engined model.

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Mechanically, the Style Edition is based on the entry-level 718 Cayman, which gives us a chance to revisit a petrol-powered coupe before its aforementioned electric replacement will arrive in 2025.

Turn the key (it still has one of those, albeit in the shape of a Porsche), and the 2.0-litre turbocharged flat-four engine wakes into a rather unpleasant, gravelly idle. The automatic gearbox is fantastic though; the Cayman pulls away smoothly, without the jerkiness or clutch slip of many other manufacturers’ dual-clutch systems. It shifts silkily and responds quickly when you take manual control with either the steering wheel-mounted paddles or the sequential-style shift lever. 

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So what of that engine? It’s certainly effective, with the 296bhp unit capable of firing the 718 from 0-62mph in just 4.9 seconds in PDK form (or 4.7 seconds with the optional Sport Chrono Pack), topping out at 171mph. Unfortunately, as slick as the gearbox is, its ratios are very long. You could easily exceed the motorway speed limit in second gear if you wish. Unless you have your right foot pinned to the carpet, it can feel a little lethargic at times as a result. Long gearing is a regular complaint for us with most Cayman and Boxster models, but it’s at its most pronounced in its least powerful form. The engine sounds a little better with more revs, but it’s more businesslike than spine-tingling.

As ever, it’s the chassis that remains the stand out quality. The ride, though firm at low speed, really comes into its own as the pace increases. Composure is fantastic, with mid-corner bumps doing little to put the 718 off its stride, even if they’re encountered by the loaded outside tyres. The mid-engined balance is a joy, too, giving you the opportunity to adjust the car’s behaviour so easily based on how you choose to negotiate a corner.

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It pulls off that rare trick of being both engaging to drive quickly, yet predictable and secure at the same time. It’s fun because it’s so capable, but with the added reassurance that you’d need to be doing something very silly for it to bite you. If we’re being picky, it doesn’t quite have the fluidity of an Alpine A110 over a country road, but the sophistication is still obvious. 

Another slight downside is that the fat rear tyres throw up an awful lot of road noise, drowning out any music you might choose to listen to and making long motorway cruises a little draining. 

Prices for the 718 Cayman Style Edition start from £57,824, but that doesn’t include the optional PDK gearbox (£2,199) fitted to our car. It means the Style Edition’s starting price is £4,200 more than the standard 718 on which it’s based, but factor in the cost of the wheels (718 Spyder wheels can’t actually be paired with the standard Cayman anyway, but other 20-inch items start from £1,907), the paint (£1,824) plus the exclusive decals and the price gap is much smaller than it might first seem. If you want a soft-top then the 718 Boxster Style Edition costs £2,000 more than the Coupe. 

Model:Porsche 718 Cayman Style Edition PDK
Price:£60,023
Engine:2.0-litre flat-four turbo petrol
Transmission:7-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
Power/torque:296bhp/380Nm
0-62mph:4.9 seconds
Top speed:171mph
Economy:30.7mpg
CO2:208g/km
On sale:Now
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Chief reviewer

Alex joined Auto Express as staff writer in early 2018, helping out with news, drives, features, and the occasional sports report. His current role of Chief reviewer sees him head up our road test team, which gives readers the full lowdown on our comparison tests.

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