Porsche isn't known for making drastic changes when it redesigns one of its models. Porsches evolve over time in a never-ending quest for perfection. The latest redesign for the 2017 718 Cayman follows on the heels of the 718 Boxster convertible. Both models added the "718" designation to their names as an homage to the company's 718 racecars of the late 1950s.
Besides the added numerical name, the casual observer will probably find the Cayman's changes subtle. In reality, it's an all-new car. The most significant change is the switch to a turbocharged four-cylinder engine in place of the previous non-turbocharged six-cylinder. Despite the fact that it's down two cylinders, the new engine is both more powerful and more fuel-efficient.
We expect the overall performance to make incremental improvements, too. We say incremental not just for Porsche's evolutionary strategy, but also because the previous Cayman was already one of the best sports cars out there. On the downside, Porsche is comparably light on standard features, and its roster of options are expensive.
The latest evolution of the Porsche Cayman is subtle, with the most significant change being the engine.
We have yet to drive the new 718 Cayman for ourselves, but the anticipation is palpable. In the meantime, there are other sport coupes that could be considered. These include the new Audi TTS and BMW M2, both of which have more standard and available features for a slightly lower price. For a distinctly American set of rivals, we'd suggest the new Ford Shelby GT350 and the returning Chevrolet Corvette. The good news is, there's no loser in the bunch.
Standard safety features for all 2017 Porsche 718 Cayman models include antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera and airbags for the head, thorax and knees. The Porsche Car Connect option adds emergency telephone assistance that is paired with the user's smartphone.
trim levels & features
The 2017 Porsche 718 Cayman is a two-seat high-performance coupe that is available either in base Cayman or Cayman S trims.
Standard features include 18-inch wheels with performance summer tires (Cayman S gets 19-inch wheels), xenon headlights with LED running lights, heated mirrors, an auto-deployed rear spoiler, front and rear parking sensors, water-repellent side windows, full power accessories, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, partial leather upholstery, six-way adjustable sport seats with electric backrest adjustments, cruise control, automatic climate control, a universal garage door opener, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, a 7-inch touchscreen, a six-speaker audio system with CD player, 11GB of music storage, satellite and HD radio and iPod/USB/SD-auxiliary input.
Most options are available as stand-alone features or bundled in packages and include several 19- and 20-inch wheel designs, adaptive headlights, LED adaptive headlights, headlight washers, auto-dimming mirrors, a rear window wiper, power-folding mirrors, keyless entry and ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated and ventilated seats, 14-way power-adjustable seats, upgraded seats with more aggressive bolstering with either manual or power adjustments, full leather upholstery, a navigation system with Google map services, Apple CarPlay, a 10-speaker Bose audio upgrade, a 12-speaker premium Burmester audio system and a WiFi hotspot.
The addition of "718" to the Cayman name is a nod to one of Porsche's most iconic racecars from the 1950s.
On the performance front, options include a power steering upgrade for lighter low-speed effort, Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) that adds adaptive dampers and lowers ride height 10mm (the Cayman S is eligible for PASM Sport that lowers it 20mm), Porsche Torque Vectoring (a brake-based differential), ceramic composite brakes and a sport exhaust.
Also available is the Porsche Sport Chrono package includes dynamic transmission mounts, a digital and analog stopwatch mounted atop the dash, a driving mode switch on the steering wheel, launch control (for PDK models), an additional performance display and a Sport response button that sharpens engine and transmission response for 20 seconds.
As with other Porsches, 718 Cayman buyers can choose from several interior trim choices that include wood, carbon fiber, aluminum and alcantara.
The 2017 Porsche 718 Cayman is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine that is mounted directly behind the seats. It produces 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque that is sent to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual transmission. A seven-speed PDK automated dual-clutch transmission is optional. Porsche estimates the PDK with the optional Sport Chrono package will get the Cayman to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds on its way to a 170 mph top speed.
The 718 Cayman S uses a slightly larger version (2.5-liters) of the same engine that produces 350 hp and 309 lb-ft of torque. It is estimated to reach 60 mph in 4.0 seconds, with a 177 mph top speed.
The EPA estimates fuel economy for the 718 Cayman at 24 mpg combined (21 city/28 highway) with the manual transmission and 25 mpg combined (22/30) for the PDK. The 718 Cayman S is rated at 22 mpg combined (20 city/26 highway) for the manual and 24 mpg combined (21/28) for the PDK.
In the typical Porsche fashion, the 2017 718 Cayman's interior changes are subtle when compared to the previous generation, and that's a good thing. The cabin is smartly designed for ease of use, and the materials used throughout are impeccable. There is an abundance of buttons, but they are logically placed and well labeled.
Anyone who has been in a contemporary Porsche will feel right at home in the new 718 Cayman.
Sport coupes aren't known for convenience, but the 718 Cayman does well in this regard thanks to two separate cargo spaces. Up front, under what would normally be the hood, are 5.3 cubic feet of space. Behind the engine, where you'd expect a trunk, are another 4.4 cubic feet.
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
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