Porsche 718 Cayman review

Category: Sports car

The Porsche 718 Cayman is one of the best sports cars on the planet

Red Porsche 718 Cayman front cornering
  • Red Porsche 718 Cayman front cornering
  • Red Porsche 718 Cayman rear cornering
  • Porsche 718 Cayman dashboard
  • Red Porsche 718 Cayman boot open
  • Porsche 718 Cayman interior infotainment
  • Red Porsche 718 Cayman right driving
  • Red Porsche 718 Cayman front cornering
  • Red Porsche 718 Cayman rear left driving
  • Red Porsche 718 Cayman rear right driving
  • Red Porsche 718 Cayman left static boot open
  • Red Porsche 718 Cayman badge detail
  • Red Porsche 718 Cayman front boot open
  • Porsche 718 Cayman front seats
  • Porsche 718 Cayman interior steering wheel detail
  • Porsche 718 Cayman interior dashboard stopwatch
  • Porsche 718 Cayman interior detail
  • Porsche 718 Cayman interior detail
  • Red Porsche 718 Cayman front cornering
  • Red Porsche 718 Cayman rear cornering
  • Porsche 718 Cayman dashboard
  • Red Porsche 718 Cayman boot open
  • Porsche 718 Cayman interior infotainment
  • Red Porsche 718 Cayman right driving
  • Red Porsche 718 Cayman front cornering
  • Red Porsche 718 Cayman rear left driving
  • Red Porsche 718 Cayman rear right driving
  • Red Porsche 718 Cayman left static boot open
  • Red Porsche 718 Cayman badge detail
  • Red Porsche 718 Cayman front boot open
  • Porsche 718 Cayman front seats
  • Porsche 718 Cayman interior steering wheel detail
  • Porsche 718 Cayman interior dashboard stopwatch
  • Porsche 718 Cayman interior detail
  • Porsche 718 Cayman interior detail
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Introduction

What Car? says...

The entry-level model from most car brands demands that you make a few compromises – but not the Porsche 718 Cayman.

You see, while the Cayman is Porsche's least-expensive model, it's long been one of our five-star cars. It's hardly what you'd call cheap, but it's still incredible value for money by sports car standards. And the way it balances performance and driving fun with everyday usability positions it perfectly for many buyers.

If you're keeping costs down, the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine in the entry-level Cayman has plenty of power, and can be upgraded to a 2.5-litre version in the mid-level Cayman S. Porsche also offers a 4.0-litre, six-cylinder in the GTS.

With the Audi TT and the Jaguar F-Type going off sale, competition in this class is dwindling, but rivals are hardly weak. So, if you're thinking of getting a Cayman, you'll probably be considering the Alpine A110, the BMW M2 and the Toyota GR Supra too.

Read on to find out whether the Porsche 718 Cayman is better than rival sports cars when it comes to performance, interior quality, practicality and costs...

Overview

The Porsche 718 Cayman is a joy to drive and, if you go for the GTS version, has a fantastic, sweet-sounding six-cylinder engine to match its superb dynamics. If your budget doesn't stretch to the GTS, don't worry: the Cayman 2.0-litre is a fine alternative that still handles superbly (it just doesn't sound very good).

  • Brilliant handling
  • Wonderful six-cylinder GTS engine
  • High quality
  • Stingy standard equipment
  • Lack of safety equipment
  • Disappointing sound of the smaller four-cylinder engines
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox

The entry-level Porsche 718 Cayman 2.0 is a decent option. With 296bhp, it's really not slow – on a cold, damp day, we timed one fitted with the optional seven-speed PDK automatic gearbox sprinting from 0-60mph in 4.6 seconds.

That was without the optional Sport Chrono pack that Porsche says makes the car even quicker by adding launch control. It's not just its outright speed that impresses, but also the way its power builds. It gets really gutsy from around 2,500-3,000rpm then romps away ever more willingly to the 7,500rpm red line. 

In fact, the 2.0-litre is good enough that we'd say don't bother with the 2.5-litre S model. The S is quicker (officially 0-62mph takes as little as 4.2 seconds) but not as sweet, with some more unpleasant flat spots as you rev it out.

Do, however, buy the GTS – if you can afford it. Its 394bhp 4.0-litre six-cylinder motor is an absolute gem. It’s happy to bumble around at low revs, but rewards you with explosive energy when you drive it enthusiastically near the 7800rpm rev limiter. We managed a 0-60mph time of 4.3 seconds, putting it slightly behind the BMW M2 manual.

The only potential drawback whichever Cayman engine you pick is the long gearing relative to rivals, which means you only get to make full use of the lower gears.

Porsche Cayman image
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Suspension and ride comfort

Adaptive suspension (or PASM as Porsche calls it) is optional on the Cayman and Cayman S, but standard on the GTS.

Thankfully, it's one option box you can leave unticked because, for a sports car, the Cayman rides perfectly well on its standard suspension, even if you option the chunky 20in alloys. It's firm but far from jarring around town, and smoothes out as you build up speed.

Overall, it’s less lumpy around town than the BMW M2. The Alpine A110 and the Toyota GR Supra are a little more comfortable at times, but there's not a huge difference between them.

Red Porsche 718 Cayman rear cornering

Handling

Any sports car worth its salt needs to offer bags of handling excitement, and the Cayman doesn’t disappoint. Its steering is wonderfully precise and perfectly weighted to give you plenty of confidence.

When you turn in to a bend, there’s virtually no body roll and it’s easy to sense how much grip is available (the limit is very high), regardless of whether you have the standard suspension or optional PASM fitted.

Put simply, the Cayman’s handling is on a different level to the M2 and the GR Supra. You could argue that the lighter A110, with its less grippy tyres and more prominent body lean, is a more playful car at regular road speeds, but the Cayman has far higher handling limits.

It also has a wonderfully broad range of talents. It feels just as at home on fast, sweeping corners as it does pottering around town, even if the controls are not as light or effortless as the M2's.

Noise and vibration

There's no question which Cayman engine makes the best noise: the 4.0-litre, six-cylinder in the GTS. It's rich and soulful, which is exactly what you want from a sports car.

Compared with that glorious and addictive symphony, the four-cylinder engines sound a bit disappointing. The 2.0-litre in the entry-level Cayman is better than the 2.5-litre in the S, but neither offers much in the way of aural delights.

If your budget doesn't stretch to a GTS and you don't like the noise of other Caymans, try the A110 – its four-cylinder engine sounds much sweeter.

The standard six-speed manual gearbox has one of the slickest shift actions you’ll find on any car and the PDK automatic gearbox is equally adept. Wind and road noise are the biggest bugbears, with plenty of both on a motorway.

The GTS's engine shuts down half of its six cylinders on a gentle cruise to conserve fuel, but that introduces a drone and some vibration. If you want a sports car with better cruising manners, take a look at (or, rather, have a listen to) the M2 or the GR Supra, which are both a lot quieter.

Driving overview

Strengths Punchy engines; brilliant ride and handling balance

Weaknesses A bit noisy; long gearing limits full engine use

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

Driving position and dashboard

The standard seats in the Porsche 718 Cayman have handles for manually sliding them back and forth, plus a button for electrically adjusting the angle of the backrest.

If you want adjustable lumbar support, you'll need to order the optional 14-way electric Sports Seats, or the 18-way Sports Seats Plus, which include adjustable side bolsters.

There's also the option of racing-style bucket seats, although they have fixed backrests and are a little on the firm side, which is worth bearing in mind if you plan to use your Cayman every day.

The rest of the driving position is spot on. The steering wheel has lots of adjustment, and while the relatively close spacing of the pedals might be a little awkward for a driver with wider feet, that’s a minor compromise.

Even the buttons on the dashboard are easy to get to grips with – there are quite a few of them, but you quickly learn to find them by feel while driving.

Visibility, parking sensors and cameras

Sports cars are notoriously hard to see out of, with thick pillars, small rear windows and a low-slung driving position, but the Cayman is better than many. It’s easy to judge the width of the car, and while the rear screen is small, it still gives a decent view of what’s behind.

All-round parking sensors come as standard, but you can add a rear-view camera to help you avoid expensive parking dings (and make your Cayman easier to sell on in the future).

Automatic windscreen wipers come as standard, while a rear wiper is an option. The standard xenon headlights offer decent illumination, plus you can upgrade them to lights that follow the direction of steering to improve visibility through bends. Adaptive LED headlights that can be left on main beam without dazzling other drivers are available as an option.

Porsche 718 Cayman dashboard

Sat nav and infotainment

As standard, the Cayman gets a relatively crisp-looking 7.0in touchscreen, with Bluetooth, a DAB radio and sat-nav. You also get Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring but not Android Auto. If you subscribe to a data package, you can also make use of on-board wifi and music streaming.

The touchscreen is within easy reach, quick to respond to your inputs and the menus are laid out in a reasonably logical way, with shortcut buttons to help you find the major functions.

It's better than the dreadful infotainment system in the Alpine A110, but the systems in some rivals are easier to use, including the ones in the BMW M2 and the Toyota GR Supra (both of which have a dial controller).

There are no audio controls on the Cayman's steering wheel unless you pay extra, and the standard stereo is comparatively low-spec, with eight speakers and 150W of power. Of course, you can pay to upgrade.

The first option is a relatively affordable Bose system with 10 speakers and 505W, which sounds good and is worth the extra if you're into your tunes. The second is a very pricey 12-speaker, 821W Burmester set-up.

Quality

Porsche has a reputation for building smart interiors and the Cayman doesn’t let the side down.

As standard, you get solid, high-quality buttons and switches, and everything feels as though it has been tightly screwed together. Plus, most surfaces you touch in the interior are covered in dense, soft-touch materials.

You can choose to have leather seats, a leather-covered dashboard and door panels, or go to town with extra faux-suede or wood finishes. Even without those, the Cayman feels far more special to sit in than an A110 or GR Supra.

Interior overview

Strengths Sound driving position; strong visibility; dashboard controls in close reach

Weaknesses Small infotainment screen; standard stereo lacks punch

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

Front space

Despite having its engine mounted in the middle of the car, the Porsche 718 Cayman has more than enough room for a tall driver and passenger.

Head room is especially good and leg room is fine if you keep the backrest angle quite upright (if it's reclined, the seat hits the bulkhead behind before it reaches the full extension of the seat runners). The interior is wide enough to ensure that you never brush elbows with whoever's sitting next to you.

There's a lot more storage space than there is in the Alpine A110. You get a decent-sized glovebox, a couple of cupholders that pop out from the dash and several other cubbies, including one in the centre armrest big enough for a mobile phone. Otherwise, the door pockets are shallow, tricky to access and certainly not big enough for something chunky, like a bottle of water.

Rear space

The Cayman's mid-engined layout means there’s nothing but bulkhead behind the front seats. It's strictly a two-seater, with just a couple of cubbies with sliding lids behind it.

If you’re not too tall and can slide your seat forward, you can eke out a small gap behind it for maps (if you still use such things). There are also hooks on the backs of the seats to hang jackets on.

Ultimately, if you want a more spacious car with a similar amount of performance to the Cayman, the BMW M2 will be better at accommodating up to four occupants.

Red Porsche 718 Cayman boot open

Seat folding and flexibility

Aside from having an electrically adjustable backrest as standard, the Cayman’s seats don’t do anything to set them apart. You can add 14-way electric adjustment or 18-way seats but that’s your lot.

Boot space

The Cayman gives you a choice of two boots for your bags: one in the nose and the other in the usual place, at the back of the car. While neither offers a massive amount of space, the front boot is deep and square, while the rear compartment is shallower but wider.

In total, they offer a bit more space than you get in the Toyota GR Supra and far more luggage room than the Alpine A110. There's certainly enough space for a few soft weekend bags or a weekly shop.

Forget about golf clubs, though – you’ll have to choose between those or a passenger. You might also have to bear in mind the rear boot sits above the engine, so your luggage may get rather warm.

If you need to carry anything bulky or long, the M2 is even better in that respect, plus it has remote folding 40/20/40 rear seats to boost practicality.

Practicality overview

Strengths More luggage and storage space than an Alpine A110

Weaknesses Still not that versatile

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2

It has a Porsche badge, so naturally a new 718 Cayman will require a hefty initial investment, particularly for our favourite GTS model.

If your budget doesn't stretch to the GTS, don't worry – the entry-level version is an excellent driver's car and you can have one for around the same price as an Alpine A110 or Toyota GR Supra.

That badge raises its head once again when it comes to servicing, which is likely to cost more than for the BMW M2 or the GR Supra when you’ve driven it hard and chewed through consumables such as tyres and brakes. Real-world fuel economy isn't brilliant, with the 2.0-litre averaging around 34.4mpg in our Real MPG tests.

The S 2.5-litre hit an average of around 28.4mpg, which isn't great when you think that's similar to the real-world economy you'll get from a carefully driven GTS 4.0-litre. On our test route, the GTS 4.0 managed 31mpg compared with 28.1mpg from the M2.

More positively, the Cayman will hold its value well, depreciating at about the same rate as the A110 but much more slowly than the GR Supra.

Equipment, options and extras

Porsche is notorious for being stingy with standard equipment and that certainly applies to the Cayman. Even the range-topping GTS model lacks the kind of kit you might expect as standard on a car costing such a serious wedge. You'll need to pay extra if you want keyless entry, or upgrade to two-zone climate control or adaptive cruise control.

So, what do you get? Well, the standard Cayman comes with electric windows, air conditioning, cruise control, 18in alloys and part-Alcantara heated seats.

The Cayman S comes with 19in wheels. The Style Edition comes in a more vibrant colour finish with contrasting 20in white or black wheels, two-zone climate control, a heated steering wheel and leather upholstery.

The GTS brings 20in wheels, adaptive suspension and a sports exhaust. You'll want to add a fair few options, whichever one you go for.

Porsche 718 Cayman interior infotainment

Reliability

Porsche claimed 20th place out of 32 brands in our 2023 What Car? Reliability Survey – behind Toyota and BMW.

The Cayman itself (with the Porsche 718 Boxster) came sixth out of 15 models in the sports cars section of the survey, which is pretty good.

Every Cayman comes with a three-year, unlimited-mileage Porsche warranty. After that period, you can extend the coverage but it’ll cost you a pretty penny.

Safety and security

Euro NCAP hasn't appraised the Cayman for safety. All versions come with six airbags, but it's very disappointing that you can't have automatic emergency braking (AEB) or lane-keeping assistance.

You have to pay extra for blind-spot monitoring, traffic-sign recognition and Isofix child-seat fittings.

Security experts Thatcham Research awarded the model a maximum five-star rating for guarding against being stolen and four stars for resisting being broken into.

Costs overview

Strengths Plenty of trim choices

Weaknesses You’ll want to spend lots on options; poor reliability and safety scores

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FAQs

  • Yes, it's a mid-engined two-seater sports car. There’s plenty of head and leg room for two six-footers, and the wide interior means they won’t be rubbing shoulders. The Porsche 718 Boxster has the same layout as the Cayman but is a convertible.

  • Not yet – but the current Cayman will be replaced by an electric car version in around 2025. For the moment, if you want an electric Porsche, you'll need the Porsche Taycan.

  • The cheapest 718 Cayman costs about the same as an Alpine A110 or Toyota GR Supra. You can check the latest prices on our New Car Deals pages.

At a glance
New car deals
Target Price from £53,505
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From £8,490
RRP price range £53,505 - £125,800
Number of trims (see all)5
Number of engines (see all)4
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)petrol
MPG range across all versions 21.4 - 31.7
Available doors options 2
Warranty 3 years / No mileage cap
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £3,833 / £9,102
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £7,666 / £18,204
Available colours