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Porsche’s smallest coupe is a sublime sports car

Porsche 718 Cayman Coupe Review Video
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At a glance

New price £46,150 - £77,253
Lease from new From £624 p/m View lease deals
Used price £23,750 - £83,695
Fuel Economy 25.7 - 33.2 mpg
Road tax cost £205 - £475
Insurance group 42 - 48 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Great fun to drive with sharp handling
  • Strong and powerful engines
  • Remarkably comfortable around town
  • Top-notch build quality and user-friendly interior

 

·        Porsche fans may not like the four-cylinder engine

·        Despite being entry-level, it can be very expensive

·        No rear seats limits practicality

·        A lot of equipment comes as optional extras

CONS

  • Porsche fans may not like the four-cylinder engine
  • Despite being entry-level, it can be very expensive
  • No rear seats limits practicality
  • A lot of equipment comes as optional extras

Porsche 718 Cayman Coupe rivals

Written by Tom Goodlad on

Describing the Porsche Cayman as the company’s cheapest sports car could be a little misleading. No Porsche is really entry-level, such is the level of performance on offer. But, the 718 Cayman is, technically, the German brand’s cheapest model on offer (with one or two caveats).

Previously known as the just the Cayman, it became the 718 Cayman when it and the convertible Boxster were updated to come fitted with four-cylinder engines instead of more traditional six-cylinder ones that powered Porsches for years and years beforehand.

When it was first launched in 2016, it came in two forms: 718 Cayman and 718 Cayman S. Easy. Since then, the range has expanded to include the Cayman T, GTS, GTS 4.0 and the GT4. Not so easy, especially as the controversial move to just four-cylinder engines was changed with the inclusion of more powerful six-cylinder units in those higher up the range.

Front view of the 2019 Porsche 718 Cayman T

As the 718 Cayman covers such a broad spectrum of abilities performance-wise, rivals range from the higher end of the Audi TT range to the Jaguar F-Type and Alpine A110. Is it good enough to cover all these bases and be the best performance car for the widest range of buyers?

Range of powerful petrol engines

Simply called 718 Cayman, the regular car uses a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine with 300hp. If you want more performance, the Cayman S uses a 2.5-litre turbo with 350hp. These were the two cars available at the car’s launch in 2016, both available with a choice of manual or automatic transmissions (Porsche calls the auto PDK).

Side view of the 2019 Porsche 718 Cayman T

The range has been expanded over the years, however, with the addition of the GTS. It uses the same engine as the Cayman S, with power uprated to 365hp and some more pieces of mechanical kit to make it more responsive on the move. That means Porsche has added what it calls the Sport Chrono Package and Porsche Active Suspension Management to make it handle even better and be more involving for the driver. There are also some visual differences on the outside.

Late in 2019 the GTS 4.0 was added to the range, coming with the same enhancements as the regular GTS but with a 4.0-litre petrol engine donated from the top-spec Cayman GT4 with 400hp. Something of a sweet-spot in the range that will appeal to driving enthusiasts because of the sound of the engine and the impressive drive, it feels and sounds like Porsches of old that have a lot of character in terms of the way the engine sounds and how it makes you feel when you drive.

Side detail of the 2020 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS 4.0

Not that any of the regular Caymans drive badly, but the four-cylinder engines don’t sound quite as good as the 4.0-litre unit. Speaking of the GT4, that was added to the top of the range for those who want the ultimate Cayman with 420hp, a manual transmission and several enhancements to make it the go-to performance option in the Cayman range. Arguably, it steps on the toes of some 911 models, in terms of performance and price.

Finally, there’s the Cayman T. Billed as the ‘touring’ version of the regular Cayman, it has the same 300hp 2.0-litre engine but with some mechanical components from the GTS that tweak the suspension and the way the car handles and sits on the road. These are called PADM adaptive body positioning and Porsche Torque Vectoring that weren’t previously available on a 2.0-litre Cayman. In essence, they make tweaks to the way this smallest Porsche drives on the road, all in order to enhance the experience for driving enthusiasts.

Rear driving view of a 2018 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS 2.5

That’s quite a lot to take in, but all cars provide strong performance with an involving drive. There’s no doubting the turbocharged performance on offer, however. Even the base 718 has a decent turn of speed, although you have to rev the Cayman quite hard to access all the thrust.

Pick the more powerful Cayman S and turbo lag (the delay in power delivery you normally experience as the turbocharger starts spinning) is even harder to encounter – this is a very fast car indeed. For most people, you won’t need to spend a huge amount to enjoy driving a 718 Cayman, but it’s hard to ignore the all-round usability of both GTS models.

An everyday supercar

It may sit low to the ground and only have two seats, but the Cayman is much more usable every day than you might expect it to be.

On many models, the ride isn’t as firm and jarring as you might think, while space inside is plentiful for two people, it just takes a bit of effort getting in and out.

There’s a small boot in the rear (125 litres) and some space in the front under the ‘bonnet’ with 150 litres thanks to the mid-engine layout. Overall, that’s more than you’d get in some city cars and superminis, it’s just not all in one place.

Equipment list a bit bare

Interior of the 2019 Porsche 718 Cayman T

As is the case with most Porsches, a lot of equipment that you’d expect to be fitted as standard costs extra. While the basics are there, things like parking sensors, automatic wipers and cruise control all cost extra. If it’s a car you’ll be using everyday, you could end up adding the price significantly.

Similarly, if you do want a fully-loaded Cayman, the price gets eye-wateringly pricey. And while the interior is high-quality and impressive ergonomically, it now looks and feels a little dated next to latest versions of the 911 and Macan with their big screens and touch-sensitive areas on the centre console.

Still, none of that is likely to put people off, as the Cayman is a very rewarding car to drive. You don’t always need the distractions of gadgets and gizmos.

Read on to find out more about the Porsche 718 Cayman.

Porsche 718 Cayman Coupe rivals