Our test car for the past week was the Cayman. Living on the Gold Coast mean that we would have preferred the Boxster convertible, but who are we to argue?
To balance out the lack of a folding roof our test Porsche was finished in a brilliant daffodil yellow that almost demanded you wear sunglasses to avoid eye damage – loved it!
The new line of GTS 718 models have significant sports features that were previously options: Sport Chrono Package; Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) with mechanical rear differential lock; and Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), which lowers the body by 10 millimetres.
The 718 Cayman GTS is priced at $173,100; the 718 Boxster GTS at $175,900. On-road costs have to factored in.
The ‘718’ in the title is in recognition of the Porsche 718 sportscars that were victorious in races during the 1950s and ‘60s. It also ties in with the title of the Porsche 918 Spyder hybrid supercar.
The latest Porsche 718 GTS has a new Sport Design front bumper, front light clusters and its bi-xenon headlights are black-tinted. Tinted taillights, black logos, black rear lower bumper and centrally positioned black tailpipes give the GTS an aggressive appearance.
Black GTS logos at the base of the doors, and 20-inch wheels in a black-satin finish and housing red calipers add to the standout looks.
Inside, the Porsche Sports Seats Plus with GTS logos on the headrests can be electrically adjusted two ways and provide increased lateral support and comfort compared to the standard 718 S models. The interior features Alcantara on the trim, centre console, armrests and steering wheel.
Here’s where the biggest changes lie. Like all European engineers the Porsche guys and gals have produced smaller displacement engines to reduce emissions and fuel consumption without any loss of performance. Indeed, they try to increase outputs using the latest technology.
So the Porsche 718 now uses four-cylinder turbo power in place of the flat-sixes of the previous models.
The turbocharged 2.5-litre GTS flat-four engine in 718 format produces 269 kW, which is up a healthy 26 kW over the previous GTS models with their six-cylinder naturally-aspirated 3.4-litre units.
One of the biggest advantages of a turbocharged engine is that it can be produced maximum torque over a big range. In the case of the new 718 series that’s all the way from 1900 revs to 5000. Meaning that in real life daily driving top grunt is on tap virtually all the time. More about this in our Driving segment later.
The latest 718 Cayman is sold with a six-speed manual gearbox, or you can select a Porsche DoppelKupplung (PDK) dual-clutch automatic transmission for a crazy $5980 extra. That’s not a misprint – you’re asked to pay almost $6000 to drive a less entertaining car.
Sadly our test car had the PDK. We would have preferred the manual even though we’re aware it’s not as quick as the auto. Somehow the DIY gearbox is just a much nicer way to drive. Also, we are well aware manuals are near the end of their life, so the more we get to drive before their sad demise the better.
Like all good sportscars the Porsche 718 Cayman GTS has huge reserves of primary safety – the safety that stops you having a crash.
Official crash tests are seldom done on sportscars so there’s no Australasian or European NCAP figure for the secondary safety of this hot Porsche.
Some may lament the loss of the flat-six naturally-aspirated engine in the older Caymans, but we really love this flat-four unit. It fires up with big revs in a racecar type snarl before settling down to a purposeful uneven idle.
Not quite the famed dak-dak idle reminiscent of the three much-loved VW Beetles I owned in my early driving years, the 718’s is far more purposeful than that. (Incidentally, the latest Cayman 718 engine has exactly 10 times the power of my old 36hp Beetle!)
With PDK automatic transmission and the Sport Chrono Package engaged the Cayman GTS accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 4.1 seconds on its way to a top speed of 290 km/h. Note that the official zero to 100 figure for the manual is almost half a second slower – bloody automatic’s gearshifts are quicker than the human ones…
There’s very little turbo lag before the engine really gets on song, and once it’s there it has seemingly endless torque. It snaps up through the gears and you’re doing highly illegal speeds before you really expect them.
There’s good space inside for two, with enough backrest rake adjustment for the passenger to settle down for a peaceful ride. As the engine is just behind the cabin in its mid mounted portion there’s obviously not enough space for even a minimal rear seat.
Two boots, one front one rear carry a fair bit of luggage and there will be plenty of space for the aforementioned two folks in the 718.
Handling is simply sensational because the mid-engine layout gives the 718 exceptional balance. It holds on in curves with nary a hint of jumping off line or suddenly hanging its tail out like big brother 911. And it’s more than happy to change direction on the seriously serpentine sections of our favourite test drive route.
Comfort is generally good but some rough and ready bits of road do give you a jolt, and coarse-chip surfaces can set up quite a din inside the car. Similarly, motorway running on the notorious concrete surfaces of the M1 motorway between the Gold Coast and Brisbane mean you have to turn the audio system way up.
Loved this little very-yellow German sportscar and was sad to hand it back at the end of the test. Not only for the fact that it makes a pleasant change from the 500 shades of grey cars haunting our streets, but also because it’s just so well sorted in every way.
AT A GLANCE
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Porsche dealer for drive-away prices.
SPECIFICATIONS (Porsche 718 Cayman GTS 2.5-litre two-door coupe)
Capacity: 2.497 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 269 kW @ 6500 rpm
Maximum Torque: 430 Nm @ 1900 rpm
Fuel Type: Premium unleaded
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 8.3 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 167 g/km
DRIVELINE: Seven-speed automatic
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4379 mm
Wheelbase: 2475 mm
Width: 1801 mm
Height: 1295 mm
Turning Circle: 11.0 metres
Kerb Mass: 1405 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 64 litres
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc
Three years / unlimited kilometres