As with its soft-top 718 Boxster roadster sibling, the Porsche 718 Cayman marks both a new generation and, as obliquely suggested by the addition of the "718" to its name, a switch to four-cylinder power.
A racing car fielded in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the original Porsche 718 used four-cylinder engines to great effect. As such, the newer Cayman features turbocharged four-cylinder power instead of its previous flat-six engines. Although you might initially assume this is a downgrade, the new engines are in fact both more powerful and more fuel-efficient than the outgoing sixes. Porsche also retuned the Cayman's suspension and steering systems to provide even greater handling capability and driver engagement than before.
Though some enthusiasts will lament the loss of the flat-sixes' sweeter song, overall the 718 Cayman is better in virtually every other way, and that's a tiny price to pay for an even more entertaining sports car.
Current Porsche 718 Cayman
The Porsche 718 Cayman is a two-passenger, mid-engine sports car that, apart from its coupe body style, is similar to its convertible top sibling, the 718 Boxster. The latter is covered in a separate review.
Although this is a new-generation Cayman, the changes to its styling both inside and out are subtly evolutionary, lending a modern crispness to the car's traditional, curvaceous form. A notable improvement to the handsome interior is an upgraded touchscreen for the infotainment interface. In short, the company took an already excellent sports car and made it better. Considering the high regard for the previous Cayman, this is indeed quite a feat.
As the company's entry-level hardtop sports car, the 718 Cayman is offered in base and S trim levels. A few of the more notable standard features on the base version include xenon headlights, front and rear parking sensors, partial leather upholstery and a rearview camera. The chief upgrades of the higher-performance S include a more powerful engine and larger wheels. An incredibly long and pricey options roster allows the ultimate in personalization. But buyers can conceivably double the base price of the car provided they've checked enough boxes.
A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 300 horsepower is found in the base 718 Cayman, while the S variant sports a 2.5-liter version making 350 hp. In either case, a six-speed manual transmission is standard, and Porsche's PDK dual-clutch, seven-speed automatic gearbox is optional. Regardless of trim level and transmission, this is a very quick car, with the zero-to-60-mph dash in the range of 4.0 to 4.9 seconds.
On the road, the turbocharged engine in either form provides a notable increase in performance. Thanks to a fatter powerband and increased torque output, acceleration is even more spirited than in the older cars with the admittedly sweeter-sounding flat-sixes, especially at lower rpm. On the move through a twisty road, the updates to the suspension and steering have made this platform even more athletic and rewarding to drive than the prior one. That's very high praise indeed, given that the previous Boxster and Cayman were considered top picks in their respective classes.
Used Porsche 718 Cayman Models
The 718 Cayman debuted for 2017 and hasn't had any major changes since. Before 2017, the car was simply known as the Porsche Cayman.