New Porsche 718 Cayman vs used BMW M4: which is best?
The latest Porsche 718 Cayman is a devilishly fast mid-engined sports car, but can it fight off a challenge from a used BMW M4 Competition for similar money?...
Doing more with less sounds like a slogan of a political hopeful. The idea seems like a good one, but actually getting more of something by putting less in goes against the very laws of nature. Take downsized engines, for example. We’ve seen them work to varying degrees of success in small cars because tiny, turbocharged engines can be made to deliver plenty of power. We’ve even seen them working in larger family cars, too. But can they also work in a sports car?
Porsche seemed to think so, which is why the latest 718 series of Cayman sports a small, 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine capable of delivering 295bhp in place of a larger six-cylinder petrol. Why the change? Well, it had to do with emissions and fuel economy because, in theory, a smaller engine should use less fuel and a turbocharged engine ought to put out fewer harmful emissions.
BMW also went down the ‘more with less’ route when they launched the current M4 back in 2014, but not quite as drastically. Instead of the V8 in the old version, you got a turbocharged 3.0-litre, six-cylinder engine which is good for 425bhp. However, for a similar amount of money to a brand-new 718 Cayman, you could have a year-old BMW M4 Competition with an extra 19bhp, making 444bhp in total.
So, can the fine handling of the Porsche win out, or will it be the sheer brute force of the M4? Read on to find out.
Porsche 718 Cayman Price new £45,700 Target price £45,700 Official fuel economy 33.2mpg (WLTP) CO2 180g/km Power 295bhp 0-62mph 5.3sec Top speed 170mph
BMW M4 Competition List price £67,410 Price today £46,000* Official fuel economy 34.0mpg (NEDC) CO2 194g/km Power 444bhp 0-62mph 4.2sec Top speed 155mph
*Price today is based on a 2018 model with average mileage and a full service history
New Porsche 718 Cayman vs used BMW M4 – interior & equipment
If you want the most impressively finished interior, then you’ll need to buy a Cayman. Every button and switch is exquisitely damped and all the plastics are soft to the touch. If you’re flush with cash, then you can specify all sorts of leather and Alcantara finishes.
And therein lies the major issue with the Cayman: if you want plenty of gadgets, then you’ll need to raid the options list. Alloy wheels, air conditioning, electric front windows and xenon headlights are standard; but cruise control, parking sensors, a reversing camera, power folding door mirrors, heated seats and climate control are all options.
Compare that with the BMW and you’ll find a lot of that stuff is actually standard fit. You even get heated seats thrown in and the upgraded Professional Media navigation system. Combining that with the iDrive controller on the centre console means the BMW also has the best infotainment system of the two since it’s easier to use on the move.
Interior quality in the BMW is also very high. The BMW M Sport colours also feature on the seat belts, which is a nice little detail for fast BMW fans. In fact the only thing that lets the M4 down is the fact that the dashboard looks too much like the ordinary BMW 3 Series, only tarted up with bits of carbonfibre-effect trim.
New Porsche 718 Cayman vs used BMW M4 – space & practicality
It doesn’t take the mind of Einstein to work out that the four-seat coupé with fold-down rear seats and a big boot is going to be more practical than a two-seater car. Even if said two-seater car does come with two boots.
Yes, the 718 Cayman really does come with two boots: one in the front and one at the rear. The front boot is actually quite deep and can carry a surprising amount in it, and the one at the back is bigger still, so the weekly shop is still doable without having to put bags on the passenger seat. However, long items will be a struggle: stick with a compact German sourdough rather than long Baguette and you should be fine.
If you need versatility then it’s the M4 that takes the win here. Not only is its one boot more capacious overall, but there’s a 60:40 split folding rear bench should you fancy turning your 444bhp M4 into the world’s fastest Ikea delivery van.
Once you’ve lowered yourself into the slinkier Porsche, you’ll find it to be pretty comfortable and there’s plenty of space between you and your passenger to make sure you never bash elbows. Head and leg room will also be fine for even the tallest of people.
The M4 treats front-seat occupants to electric seat adjustment, so it’s even easier to find a comfortable seating position. What’s more, it actually has rear seats should you need to do the school run or take some friends out in it. Adults will find their hair brushing the roof lining, mind.
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