2014 Porsche Cayman GTS Review
* New flagship Porsche Cayman model driven * Stiffer suspension and a more powerful engine * On sale now, priced from 55,397...
For some drivers, the extra dynamic edge of a coupe will always win out against the style of a cabriolet.
Those people will be pleased to learn that Porsche has launched a GTS version of the Cayman at exactly the same time as the excellent Boxster GTS that we drove earlier this week.
The fixed-roof car has slightly more power than its roadster sibling, as the 3.4-litre six-cylinder engine now produces 335bhp, and as a result it's a tenth faster from 0-62mph and can hit 177mph.
It also features the same suite of desirable options, including a new bodykit, smoked lights and black exhaust tips. However the Cayman GTS we tested came fitted with stiffer-than-standard Sports suspension, which drops the ride height by 20mm, and is a no-cost option for the GTS.
What is the 2014 Porsche Cayman GTS like to drive?
Noticeably sharper than the Boxster. Although we love the way the drop-top drives, the added stiffness of the coupe makes the handling even more precise and accurate.
Granted, you would need to drive them both hard to tell the difference, but on a challenging road the Cayman is a bit more stable under braking, and remains even more planted in really fast corners than its open-top sister car.
The soft Alcantara trim on the steering wheel and rounded gearstick make the controls feel even more tactile, and the extra interaction that comes from changing gear yourself (a seven-speed PDK automatic is available as an option) makes the GTS even more engaging to drive fast.
The manual Cayman does take a little longer to reach 62mph from a standstil than the auto, and isn't quite as effcient, either, emitting 211g/km as opposed to 190g/km, so it will cost you more to tax.
Still, in Sport Plus mode, the manual 'box automatically blips the throttle as you change down through the gears, which means even really ham-fisted drivers get to feel like a racing god.
The Sports suspension set-up is harder to recommend. The retuned springs make the GTS feel even more agile, but on rough roads the ride is decidedly firm. Bumps are transmitted to the cabin more readily, and it doesn't glide over crests like the standard Cayman.
If you plan to use your Cayman GTS regularly on a track, though, then we can see the advantage the stffer suspension brings, and thankfully it's an option that won't cost you any extra cash. Our car also came fitted with the optional (£4977) carbon ceramic brakes, but the standard brakes are so good it hardly seems worth it.
Probably the best thing about the way the Cayman GTS drives, though, is the fact that it feels engaging even at normal road speeds. That means you can play with the car's balance by using either the brakes or throttle, without ever feeling intimidated or out of control.
What is the 2014 Porsche Cayman GTS like inside?
Just like the Boxster, the Cayman GTS has a beautifully made interior. Some sports cars feel really wide around town, but the excellent driving position, compact dimensions and superb all-round visibility of the Cayman mean it's a genuinely useable everyday car.
The Cayman we tested came with the optional carbon-backed Sports Bucket seats (£1914) which hold you even more tightly in place, but are still padded enough to be comfortable on longer journeys.
There are some niggles, however. The GTS might seem generously equipped, and therefore better value than the standard car, but in fact some of the additional items such as cornering headlights and a matte black body kit are superfluous, and you still have to fork out extra for desirable kit like sat-nav, (£2141), cruise control (£267) and a DAB radio (£324).
Even so, the build quality is exceptional, with a generous amount of space for driver and passenger and a surprising number of useful cubbies and cupholders. In fact, for a mid-engined sports car, the Cayman is actually quite practical, and can carry a combined 334-litres of luggage in its two boots – more than a Ford Fiesta.
Should I buy one?
In some ways, the Cayman GTS feels more like a new trim level than a standalone model. All of its extra kit (apart from the power upgrade) can be fitted to the standard car, so it's worth checking to make sure you need all of those options before paying a £6614 premium for a car that is so dynamically similar.
Most buyers will be better off with the cheaper Boxster, but for real enthusiasts the new Sports Chassis and stiffer body does make the Cayman a touch more agile and engaging on track. Both are sensational on the road though, and the GTS upgrades help put even more distance between this car and its rivals.
What Car? says...
Porsche Cayman 3.4 GTS manual
Engine size 3.4-litre flat-six petrol
Torque 280lb ft
0-62mph 4.9 seconds
Top speed 177mph
Fuel economy 31.4mpg