2018 Porsche 718 Cayman

2018 Porsche 718 Cayman Review

Lithe and powerful, the 718 Cayman is one of the world's best sports cars.
3.5 star edmunds overall rating
author
by James Riswick
Edmunds Editor

Last year, the Porsche Cayman gained a new numerical name (718 is shared between it and its Boxster convertible sibling), incremental improvements to its handling and fundamental changes to its available engines. It didn't look that different, but there was a lot happening underneath the sheet metal.

Just like last year, the 2018 Porsche 718 Cayman features turbocharged four-cylinder engines. These new engines outdo their six-cylinder predecessors in terms of output and fuel economy. But we're disappointed in the way they sound: They don't provide the high-revving excitement of the old flat-sixes.

That's the only area where the revised Cayman isn't clearly better, though. The steering is quicker and sharper, the brakes are more powerful, and the optional adaptive suspension gained an increase in adjustability. There's also a revised stability control system that provides more of a safety net out on the road in Normal and gives you more leeway in Sport.

This year's Cayman is pretty much unchanged, and we're just fine with that. If you're seeking a pure driver's car, there are few out there that can match the 2018 Porsche 718 Cayman.



what's new

Like every 2018 Porsche, the 718 Cayman gets complimentary maintenance for the first year. There are also some extra customization options, including two-tone leather options and contrast stitching.

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Based on power output alone, the base Cayman's engine is more than sufficient. Some would even call its power abundant. The problem is that it just doesn't provide the audible thrill you expect from a sports car these days. The 2.5-liter Cayman S sounds better, so it gets the nod here. It is more expensive, but aren't thrills the main reason you're considering one of these in the first place?

trim levels & features

The 2018 Porsche 718 Cayman is a two-seat coupe available in Cayman and Cayman S trim levels. (The 718 Boxster is the convertible version and reviewed separately.) The Cayman has a turbocharged 2.0-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine (a flat-four) good for 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. The Cayman S has a turbocharged 2.5-liter flat-four good for 350 hp and 309 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission (Porsche's PDK) is optional.

Standard features on the 718 Cayman include 18-inch wheels, performance summer tires, xenon headlights, LED running lights, heated mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, automatic climate control, a rearview camera, six-way adjustable seats (power backrest adjustments, manual all others), a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, partial leather upholstery, Bluetooth, a 7-inch touchscreen, two USB ports, and a six-speaker audio system with a CD player and satellite radio.

The 718 Cayman S only differs in its more powerful engine and 19-inch wheels.

Like every Porsche, the options list is extensive, allowing for a great deal of customization. Performance add-ons include a selection of 19- and 20-inch wheels, a 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 20 millimeters), Porsche Torque Vectoring (a brake-based differential), ceramic composite brakes and a sport exhaust.

There's also the Porsche Sport Chrono package, which 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.

Comfort and convenience options include 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 and either manual or power adjustments, several types of upgrade leather and upholstery, a navigation system, Car Connect (includes Apple CarPlay and a variety of emergency services), Car Connect Plus (adds a 4G LTE connection and Wi-Fi hotspot), updatable navigation maps and online navigation system elements, a 10-speaker Bose audio upgrade and a 12-speaker premium Burmester audio system.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall3.5 / 5.0

Driving

4.5 / 5.0

Acceleration4.0 / 5.0
Braking5.0 / 5.0
Steering4.0 / 5.0
Handling5.0 / 5.0
Drivability3.0 / 5.0

Comfort

3.0 / 5.0

Seat comfort4.5 / 5.0
Ride comfort3.0 / 5.0
Noise & vibration1.0 / 5.0
Climate control3.0 / 5.0

Interior

4.0 / 5.0

Ease of use3.0 / 5.0
Getting in/getting out3.0 / 5.0
Driving position5.0 / 5.0
Roominess4.0 / 5.0
Visibility4.0 / 5.0
Quality5.0 / 5.0

Utility

3.0 / 5.0

Small-item storage3.0 / 5.0
Cargo space3.0 / 5.0

Technology

3.0 / 5.0

Audio & navigation2.0 / 5.0
Smartphone integration4.0 / 5.0
Driver aids3.0 / 5.0

driving

edmunds rating
The 718 Cayman S is a fun, responsive and engaging sports car. Amazing handling and braking, both in terms of performance and nuance. Plenty quick, too, though the PDK version is probably quicker. Some drivability quirks with manual gearbox, which is surprising for this automaker.

acceleration

edmunds rating
This engine gives a good shove from pretty much any rpm. The gear ratios are well spaced to keep power on tap at all times. The Cayman S reaches 60 mph in 4.6 seconds in our tests, matching its closest competitors. It's very likely that the PDK transmission is quicker still.

braking

edmunds rating
The pedal is firm and has easy modulation for smooth stops in normal driving. In our panic-braking tests, the Cayman S needed only 95 feet to come to a stop, which is exceptionally short. No fade or softening of the pedal after repeated and heavy use.

steering

edmunds rating
Steering effort and quickness are appropriate for a sports car such as this, but feedback is lacking a bit at the limits of adhesion. It's very precise and direct, though, which contributes to the overall responsiveness of the Cayman.

handling

edmunds rating
World-class handling among sports cars. The Cayman S is incredibly balanced and stable when driven hard. Even over moderate midcorner bumps, handling is unaffected. Without stability control, the rear end will step out a bit, but it's very controllable and enjoyable.

drivability

edmunds rating
Oddly, the Cayman S is smoother in aggressive driving than in everyday traffic. Avoiding inelegant lurches takes concentration at low speeds. While the clutch engagement could be more intuitive and the shifter more precise, the rev-matched downshift system in Sport mode is the best in the industry.

comfort

edmunds rating
The outstanding seat comfort and decent ride quality remain from its predecessor, but we miss the flat-six engine. The four-cylinder's coarse, unrefined engine note is a step backward. With the optional sport exhaust system, it discourages winding out the engine and is needlessly loud all the time.

seat comfort

edmunds rating
Even though the optional sport seats have only a few adjustments, they're well shaped and adequately cushioned for long-distance comfort. The ventilated seat option is also a welcome addition on hot days.

ride comfort

edmunds rating
With the optional PASM sport suspension, smaller bumps are well managed in either Normal or Sport modes. Larger bumps can launch you out of your seat for a moment. There's not much of a difference between suspension modes; we'd like to see a more significant change.

noise & vibration

edmunds rating
Engine and exhaust noises are loud enough to be considered deal breakers. With the sport exhaust, the four-cylinder engine is coarse and unrefined, sounding like a poorly tuned Subaru. The base Cayman is worse. Wind noise is nonexistent by comparison, but road noise is intrusive on coarse asphalt.

climate control

edmunds rating
The small vents are prone to creating noticeable cold or hot spots, especially on the driver's hands. However, the system is powerful enough to quickly cool the cabin when parked in the hot sun and the cooled seats are quiet compared to some rivals.

interior

edmunds rating
There's little to distinguish the 718 Cayman's cockpit from the pricier 911, and that's a good thing. There's no mistaking it for anything but a driver's car with the absence of a typical infotainment controller knob and traditional cupholders. It's more classic and sporty than modern and luxurious.

ease of use

edmunds rating
The Cayman's cockpit would benefit from fewer buttons, but they're logically grouped. Operating the multifunction display in the instrument panel with a small steering column stalk takes some getting used to, and menus aren't intuitive.

getting in/getting out

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Entry and exit logistics are typical for a small sports car. Its low ride height and roof mean that taller, long-limbed passengers will need to stoop and twist somewhat into place. Otherwise, there aren't any additional contortions needed.

driving position

edmunds rating
A nearly ideal driving position is possible for a wide variety of body types. The Cayman maintains Porsche's high standing in this category. The range of motion and extension in the seats and steering column are generous.

roominess

edmunds rating
The cockpit is cozy but not confining. Combined with the small size of the Cayman, it feels a bit as if you're wearing the car rather than sitting in it. This is how a sports car should feel.

visibility

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The placement and profiling of the forward roof pillars mean you won't need to bob your head to and fro to look through a sharp corner. Rear visibility is decent, but backing into a tight space requires heavy reliance on the standard backup camera.

quality

edmunds rating
Materials quality inside the 718 Cayman is impeccable, and there's a reassuring solidity underneath it all. Unlike a few similarly priced sport coupes, the Cayman's overall quality matches the rather expensive price tag.

utility

edmunds rating
There are obvious sacrifices to be made with any sports car, particularly when you move the engine from under the hood. The Cayman is not immune to this, even though it is better than you'd expect. Still, the single, larger cargo space of rival front-engine coupes is far more convenient.

small-item storage

edmunds rating
There are only a few bins and pockets to hold your personal items, and they're small and shallow to boot. The typical Porsche cupholders are effective but fussy and a bit out of reach for the driver.

cargo space

edmunds rating
For a mid-engine sport coupe, the Cayman has a surprising amount of combined cargo space between the front and rear compartments. Compared to rival front-engine coupes, though, it falls well short. A weekend getaway with a passenger is possible, but you'd have to pack light.

technology

edmunds rating
Porsche trails the competition when it comes to in-car technology. You can argue that these are driver's cars, and tech is irrelevant. That said, there are plenty of other driver's cars that offer more advanced systems that are easier to use.

audio & navigation

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The placement of the small touchscreen screen lower in the middle of the center stack demands much more attention than other systems. A central knob controller would be preferable. In general, Porsche's infotainment system also trails the competition in available features and ease of use.

smartphone integration

edmunds rating
Apple CarPlay is part of the Porsche Connect options package and solves many of the native interface's shortcomings. Bluetooth and two USB ports are standard.

driver aids

edmunds rating
The standard cruise control does an excellent job of maintaining speed, even on steep downhill grades. Adaptive cruise control and a blind-spot monitoring system are optional (but not on our test car).

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.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.