Porsche Cayman 718 coupe next generation has finally arrived. The makeover revised styling, new engines, mild interior revisions and the arrival of a new prefix for the name: the 718.
For the first time the Cayman costs less than a Boxster, making it the cheapest Porsche you can now buy with prices starting at £40,000 / 5,374,350.00 KES.
The Porsche Cayman 718 is a surprisingly practical sports coupé facing its biggest test yet because like the Boxster this new Cayman has adopted turbocharged engines, ending a long run of highly responsive power plants with superb exhaust notes.
Unlike the 911, this is now a four-cylinder engine losing two cylinders to meet today’s and future regulations on fuel economy and emissions.
Even though the Cayman is clearly a development of the earlier model, nearly all the panels are finely different – the creases in the front and rear wings are now so crisp it’s almost a worry they will slice a craving hand run over them.
There are two models in the Porsche Cayman 718 range: the standard car powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, while the higher performance S uses a 2.5-litre version of the same engine, also with a turbo. Their unusual layout, characteristic of a Porsche, gives them a unique sound – and not in a good way.
The 2.0-litre 718 produces 300bhp and can now claim an average fuel economy of 40.9mpg and 158g/km emissions, while the S boasts 350bhp with 38.7mpg and 167g/km.
Considering the previous Cayman in 3.4-litre S form offered no more than 315bhp, it seems Porsche has met its efficiency targets. As usual two gearboxes are offered: a smooth-shifting manual or a twin-clutch semi-automatic.
However, the sophisticated hum of the old engines is gone, replaced by a loud, active roar, which is unlike any other car on sale. You’ll hear it but you’ll feel it too as its unmistakable heartbeat vibrates through the structure of the car – a noise that will raise the eyebrows of bystanders, let alone potential buyers.
The same could be said of the 718 Boxster but with the Cayman’s closed roof the sound of the engine seems even louder; understandable given it’s just over the driver’s left shoulder. Once the wheels are turning the two Cayman models differ significantly.
In the past the standard Cayman, although clearly a slower car, had a pleasing charm all of its own. It was a precise, almost delicate car to drive. Now, the standard car falls rather flat. It is faster than before – the turbo engine powers it forward much more vigorously from low speeds – but there’s no sparkle to its delivery. And it sounds coarse, almost rough, when the engine is working hard. It can now race from 0 to 60mph in just 4.5 seconds but that seems rather dull when there’s little joy to be had in achieving it.
It’s not so much that the S sounds different, rather that you will be going so quick there isn’t the time to contemplate on the engineering sound effects. This is now a very fast car, capable of getting to 60mph from standstill in just four seconds and reaching speeds of 177mph / 284kmh.
The kick in the back when the turbo chimes in is enough to compress you into the seat and the acceleration is quickly addictive. As for the noise, after a while you grow to accept it. The rest of the car, though, is essentially brilliant. The 718 boasts small but significant changes throughout its chassis and so is even more agile and rewarding to drive.
The 718 makes you drive better than you thought you could and the stronger brakes of the S are another advantage of the more expensive model.
A Lotus will give you even more connection with the road but requires more commitment to own, a BMW M2 coupé has the performance, if not quite the same level of handling.
Changes to the Cayman’s interior are minimal, the most obvious being the latest generation of optional touchscreen infotainment system. There’s a new steering
wheel design, again an optional extra, that features a switch to set the Cayman into pre-configured modes, from normal to very sporty.
It’s a superb driving position in a very solid, well made, if rather purposeful interior – but that matters not a bit. There remains the sizeable luggage area under the bonnet, plus one under the rear hatch and the area behind the front seats.
The 2.0-litre Cayman may start at £40,000 / 5,374,350.00 KES but the S is a far more appealing car. While an S retails from £49,000 / 6,583,578.75 KES, by the time you’ve added the optional extras this is usually a £60,000 / 8,061,525.00 KES purchase – or more.
The Porsche Cayman 718 may have lost a little appeal by adopting the new engines, but the drive is better than ever.
PORSCHE CAYMAN 718 SPECIFICATIONS
- Model: Porsche 718 Cayman
- Price range: £39,878-£48,834
- Engine range: Turbo-petrol – 2.0, 2.5-litre
- Power: 0 to 60mph in 4.0 secs, 177mph top speed (2.5)
- Average fuel economy: 40.9mpg (2.0)
- CO2 emissions range: 158-167g/km
- Rivals: Audi TT, BMW M2, Jaguar F-Type
- Rating: ★★★★★★★★✩✩