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?...
New Porsche 718 Cayman vs used BMW M4 – driving
Despite the BMW M4 being a hugely powerful car, it still has plenty of front-end grip and there’s not a whole lot of body roll to deal with. The steering is pretty heavy, although it doesn’t have that much in the way of feedback. A number of revisions have been made to the M4 over the years because of early complaints of spiky handling, and examples like our 2018 car will be noticeably more docile.
However, don’t for one moment forget that you’re driving a 444bhp sports car. Even in higher gears, it’ll pull strongly up to some prodigious speeds, so you’ll need to keep an eye on how fast you’re going or risk losing your licence. Perhaps the only major downside with the M4 is that it doesn’t sound particularly special, at least from the inside.
Mind you, that’s a similar problem shared with the Cayman because it now gets a turbocharged 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine. That’s fine for a rapid hot-hatchback, but less so in a sports car since the sound of the engine is all part of the experience. The performance is still good once you’ve wound it up beyond 3000rpm, and 295bhp is not to be sniffed; it’s just that the six-cylinder howl you used to get was so evocative that you can feel shortchanged by the current engine. The long gearing in the manual (for emissions and fuel economy purposes) means that you’ll reach maximum legal speeds in third before you run out of revs.
Where you’re not shortchanged is in the handling department. Being mid-engined means that the weight of the engine is concentrated into the centre of the car, so the Cayman is far more nimble than a car with an engine in the front, because it's like the equivalent of having a huge anvil on your bonnet. The engine in the Cayman is also mounted nice and low to limit body sway, so it remains remarkably flat while cornering. Grip levels are really high, which gives you the confidence to be able to enjoy a fast country lane without feeling like it’ll bite you. The steering is also light enough to make parking a breeze.
New Porsche 718 Cayman vs used BMW M4 – costs
Both of these cars are expensive, luxury items that also come with suitably pricey bills. Since they were both more than £40,000 to buy new, you’ll be paying the maximum £465 per year in road tax for both, at least until the car is six years old, when it drops back down to a flat rate fee of £145. You will be hit by a first year’s registration fee of £855 for the Porsche, whereas that’s already been covered with a year-old M4.
The price of a Porsche 718 Cayman without metallic paint is £45,700, but that’s before you start to pick options. Even selecting just a few extras is enough to add thousands to the cost of your Cayman. A year-old BMW M4 Competition with below-average mileage is £46,000, which is quite a drop when you consider it was more than £67,000 a little over a year ago.
Servicing will be pricey, too. The Porsche is marginally more expensive to maintain, but that’s to be expected given that the engine is less accessible because it’s in the middle of the car and harder to get at. Insurance will be high thanks to their desirability with thieves and because they are high-performance machines. Fuel costs will be similar, despite the Porsche having fewer cylinders and a smaller engine. When we conducted our own True MPG test, the BMW achieved 27.6mpg, which is only slightly worse than the 28.4mpg we found with the 718 Cayman.
Every new Porsche comes with a three-year warranty of unlimited mileage, with the option to extend it for an additional cost. The BMW also had a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty, but a year of that will already have been used up.