2018 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS Review
Dave Morley’s 2018 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS Review with specs, performance, ride and handling, safety, verdict and score.
IN A NUTSHELL The Porsche 718 Cayman GTS rights some wrongs and stands out as a performance car bargain… if you call $170k a bargain.
2018 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS
Price From $173,100+ORC Warranty three years Safety Not tested Engine 2.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol Power 269kW at 6500rpm Torque 420-430Nm at 1900-5000rpm Transmission six-speed manual; seven-speed PDK Drive rear-wheel drive Dimensions 4393mm (L) 1994mm (W) 1286mm (H) 2475mm (WB) Weight 1352kg Boot Space 425L (150L front; 275L rear) Fuel Tank 64L Spare none Thirst 8.2-9.0L/100km (claimed combined – depending on transmission)
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IT WOULDN’T BE the first time politically correctness has gotten in the way of a good time. In this case, the PC stuff has to do with making cars dolphin-friendly and less likely to rise up and rape the planet. And the good time that arguably suffered was the overall driving experience of Porsche’s mid-engined, two-seater, the Cayman.
What is the Porsche Cayman GTS?
When Porsche ditched the normally-aspirated flat-six that had powered the first generations of Caymans, it replaced the engine with a pair of turbocharged flat-fours. Power and efficiency went up but, along with emissions and fuel consumption, the fun factor came down. Well, in a manner of speaking. See, because the new 718 Cayman was faster than ever before, you could argue that it was, indeed, more fun than ever. But that’s to conveniently forget the fact that car-porn is more than just a 0-100 time and a skid-pan number.
What the Cayman lost with the flat-four was that yowling, wailing soundtrack and the knowledge that it was powered by a flat-six engine; a Porsche trademark if ever there was one. The solution for some of us was to ante up to the Cayman S which replaced the two-litre flat-four with a 2.5-litre version of the same thing which went even harder but still sounded a bit like a Maccas-drive-thru-spec Subaru WRX. Yes, it was faster again, but it just didn’t push the same intellectual buttons.
So now Porsche has moved along the timeline some more to bring us the GTS version of the Cayman (and Boxster) 718. Power is up even more with an extra 11kW over and above the 258 of the Cayman S to arrive at a stirring 269kW and an eye-watering 430Nm of torque. This, by any standards, is not a bad trick from 2.5 litres. It’s achieved partly by using a revised intake tract but mainly by bumping the maximum boost pressure from 1.1 bar to 1.3 bar. The secret to that is in the new variable-geometry turbocharger and Porsche now claims a 0-100km/h time of 4.1 seconds which, knowing Porsche, will probably be conservative.
What’s the interior like?
Inside, there’s swathes of alcantara including the steering wheel and all of the company’s latest go-fast tech including active engine mounts, torque vectoring and Sport-Chrono are on board. The Cayman GTS also picks up the 20inch alloys from the Carrera S and there’s a carbon-ceramic brake option. So you know the GTS will be a good thing. In fact, we didn’t need to fly half way round the world to the Ascari race circuit in southern Spain to discover that. Which means the big question revolves around whether the tougher engine and slightly revised looks have been enough to make the Cayman appeal to the hard-core Porschephiles out there.
It’s tempting to presume that the simple expedients of a hectare of alcantara and more poke will wring a major transformation. But that would be to ignore the fact that, for the last decade at least, whenever Porsche unveils a model bearing the GTS badge, it absolutely kicks it into touch. In fact, a Porsche GTS badge on a shopping trolley would probably get it handling properly.
What’s it like to drive?
When it comes to handling, the new GTS does actually raise what was already a very high bar. With a little lower ride height (10mm) and slightly firmer springs, the Cayman GTS now turns in a little more readily (were that actually possible). But it still steers just as neutrally and the ride remains incredibly supple for something that corners so flat and so fast.
It is, however, in the engine bay where the biggest changes have been wrought. The extra power is impossible to discern until you really give the thing a rev, at which point it heads for the redline a little more eagerly. It retains that beautiful, torquey, flexible, fluid feel though, and still gives the impression that it will accelerate from low speeds in high gears. That’s partly due to the short overall gearing that sees the six-speed manual (our pick) turning over at 2400rpm at 100km/h.
But the soundtrack is the biggest improver. The GTS version has a raspier, more sophisticated warble to it. No, you won’t mistake it for a flat-six, but it does have more than just trace elements of that howling wail that helped make the six-cylinder Cayman such a turn-on. And believe it or not, that refinement of the engine note, the partial return to the moaning demeanour that we all loved so dearly, is enough to bring the Cayman back into focus in a philosophical sense.
What safety features does it get?
The Porsche Cayman hasn’t been tested by NCAP bodies but gets driver and passenger airbags, traction and stability controls, tyre pressure monitoring, multi-collision braking, an alarm, front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera. Cost optional extras, include active cruise control and blind spot monitoring.
So, what do we think?
Simply, if the four-cylinder thrum of the first turbocharged Cayman put you off, give the GTS a try before ruling a line through it. It still technically lacks a couple of cylinders (as far as the hard-heads are concerned) but with the sheer pace of the thing, combined with its all-round abilities and now with a tune rather than a blare back in your ears, the Cayman GTS is absolutely the real deal.
It’s also a damn sight cheaper than a Porsche 911 and with a price-tag of $173,100 for the six-speed manual and $179,080 for the eight-speed PDK, it continues to rate as some kind of performance car bargain. Stocks should be in showrooms by March next year.