Choosing an engine is relatively straightforward: there are just two and both have four cylinders.
The cheaper option is a 295bhp 2.0-litre petrol, whereas the range-topping ‘S’ model gets a 345bhp 2.5-litre. Both pull hard from low revs. However, there is a noticeable surge in acceleration as the turbocharger starts to do its business at around 2000rpm and a few flat spots in the power delivery for the next 1000rpm or so – especially in the more powerful 2.5-litre S.
Get the revs above 3000rpm, though, and you’ll enjoy hugely potent acceleration right through to over 7000rpm. The six-speed manual gearbox's long gearing means you’ll often find yourself using just second and third gears during more spirited driving.
A seven-speed PDK automatic gearbox is optional, and is worth considering for those expecting to do a lot of daily slogging through traffic.
Porsche Cayman ride comfort
We’ve only tried the Cayman equipped with optional PASM adaptive dampers and 20mm lowered sports suspension, in which form it rides remarkably well by sports car standards – even on 20in alloys. Sure, it's firm, but the damping is good enough to keep you from ever feeling uncomfortable. Only constant road imperfections really expose the stiffness of the chassis, and even then it offers a great balance of comfort and control.
Not adding the lowered suspension and sticking with smaller alloys will undoubtedly bring a softer ride that may suit those expecting to tackle fairly rough roads regularly, but we'll need to try the other suspension options to know for sure.
Porsche Cayman handling
Any sports car worth its salt needs to offer handling excitement in spades, and the Cayman certainly doesn’t disappoint. Its steering is wonderfully accurate and precise, with enough feedback to give the driver plenty of confidence. Turn in to a bend and there’s virtually no body roll and an enormous amount of sideways grip. Put simply, the Cayman’s handling is on a different level to rivals, including the Audi TT, BMW M2 and Jaguar F-Type Coupe.
The Cayman also has a wonderfully broad range of talents. It feels just as at home on fast sweeping corners as it does pottering around town, where the steering is light enough to make parking easy.
Porsche Cayman refinement
If you’re the owner of an older Cayman (before it became the 718) you’ll be very disappointed by the sound of the engines in this latest version. A monotonous drone has replaced the glorious howl that used to characterise Porsche’s entry-level sports car.
There’s also an unappealing coarseness about both the 2.0 and 2.5-litre engine, particularly at low revs. The optional sports exhaust is a bit like turning up the volume when a song comes on the radio you don’t really like; we’d save the money.
Both gearboxes are close to perfect, though. The standard six-speed manual has one of the sweetest shift actions you’ll find on any car and the PDK auto is equally adept and shifts even faster, although does rob you of a little involvement.
With 295bhp and 280 lb ft of torque, this 'entry-level' 2.0-litre engine will rocket you to 62mph in 5.1 seconds if you stick with the standard six-speed manual gearbox. There's plenty of pull from low revs, although it's a real shame the engine doesn't sound more tuneful. A seven-speed automatic gearbox is optional.
This 345bhp engine gives the lightweight Cayman S seriously rapid acceleration, with a seriously potent mid-range and the ability to rev strongly to the 7500rpm redline. Below 2000rpm you get a noticeably delayed throttle response, but otherwise this is a really flexible engine. Shame it doesn't sound better.