2018 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS: First Drive Review

© Porsche Cars North America718 Cayman GTS
Porsche’s mid-engine two-seat coupe, the Cayman was updated for the 2016 model year, adopting the 718 Cayman nomenclature and converting to horizontally-opposed turbocharged 4-cylinder engines. For 2018 the 718 Cayman GTS is added as the top performance variant in the 718 Cayman line with engine enhancements, suspension upgrades, interior features and distinctive exterior design elements.

© Porsche Cars North AmericaModel Lineup
The Porsche 718 Cayman starts with the 718 Cayman powered by a 300-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged horizontally-opposed 4-cylinder engine, followed by the 718 Cayman S powered by a 350-horsepower 2.5-liter turbocharged horizontally-opposed 4-cylinder engine. The new 718 Cayman GTS adds a 2.5-liter turbocharged horizontally-opposed 4-cylinder engine producing 365 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque. Base MSRP for the 2018 718 Cayman is $55,300; the 718 Cayman S is $67,700; and the 718 Cayman GTS starts at $79,800. The prices listed do not include a $1,050 delivery, processing and handling fee.

© Porsche Cars North America718 Boxster GTS
Porsche also adds a GTS variant to the 718 Boxster lineup — a mid-engine 2-seat roadster that shares mechanical components and styling with the 718 Cayman. Powered by the same engine configurations as the 718 Cayman, starting MSRP for the 2018 718 Boxster is $57,400 with the 718 Boxster S at $69,800 and the 718 Boxster GTS at $81,900. The prices listed do not include a $1,050 delivery, processing and handling fee.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceUnder the Hood
The 718 Cayman GTS receives a newly developed intake plenum, advanced variable turbine geometry turbocharger with larger compressor wheel and increased turbo boost to produce 365 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque when equipped with the optional PDK transmission (309 with manual transmission). The output is 15 horsepower more than the 718 Cayman S and 25 horsepower more than the previous generation 2015 Cayman GTS that was powered by a 3.4-liter horizontally-opposed 6-cylinder engine. Maximum torque is available across a wide power band from 1900 to 5000 rpm. A sport exhaust is standard.

© Porsche Cars North AmericaTransmission Options
Power is delivered to the rear wheels of the 718 Cayman GTS through a standard 6-speed manual transmission with the 7-speed Porsche Doppelkupplung dual-clutch transmission available as an option. The PDK combines the high mechanical efficiency of a manual transmission with the comfort and convenience of an automatic transmission, while also offering improved performance compared to the manual transmission. The PDK is also more efficient compared to the manual, with fuel economy ratings of 20 mpg city / 26 mpg highway / 22 mpg combined with PDK and 19 mpg city / 25 mpg highway / 21 mpg combined with manual.

© Porsche Cars North AmericaPerformance
With additional horsepower and improved torque, the 718 Cayman GTS equipped with the PDK will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds — 0.1 seconds faster than the current 718 Cayman S and 0.5 seconds faster than the previous-generation GTS. The 718 Cayman GTS with PDK is also 0.5 seconds faster zero to 60 mph than the 6-speed manual. On the famous German Nurburgring Nordschleife racetrack (12.9 miles long, 73 corners), the 718 Cayman GTS equipped with all available performance options completed a lap in 7 minutes 40 seconds on standard tires. That lap time is 13 seconds faster than the previous Cayman GTS and 2 seconds faster than the 718 Cayman S. Top track speed is 180 mph.

© Porsche Cars North AmericaSuspension
The 718 Cayman GTS is equipped with standard Porsche Active Suspension Management, which includes electronically-controlled dampers with steel springs and lowers the car by 10 mm (0.39 inches) compared to the standard suspension on the 718 Cayman S. The optional PASM sports chassis lowers the ride height an additional 10 mm, 20 mm (0.78 inches) total compared to standard. The Sport Chrono Package, which includes dynamic transmission mounts, also is standard as well as Porsche Torque Vectoring with a mechanical rear differential lock to improve traction and stability. Porsche Stability Management provides automatic stability control, and PSM Sport is part of the Sport Chrono Package to allow more dynamic performance with more yaw and wheelspin but with PSM still active.

© Porsche Cars North AmericaWheels and Brakes
Standard for the 718 Cayman GTS are 20-inch Carrera S wheels painted in satin black, shod with 235/35ZR20 tires on front and 265/35ZR20 tires on the rear. Optional wheels include 20-inch Turbo 4, 20-inch Carrera Sport and 20-inch Carrera Classic. Standard brakes include 911 Carrera 4-piston front calipers with 330 mm (13 inches) front discs and 299 mm (11.8 inches) rear discs. Optional Porsche Carbon Ceramic Brakes add 6-piston front calipers and 350 mm carbon-ceramic discs both front and rear.

© Porsche Cars North AmericaExterior Design
The 718 Cayman GTS can be distinguished from the other Cayman versions by a unique front fascia with partial satin black finish, dark tinted front lights, 20-inch Carrera S wheels in satin black, black GTS side logos and standard Bi-Xenon headlights with integrated LED daytime running lights. At the rear is a GTS-specific lower valance with satin black; a sport exhaust with high-gloss black exhaust tips; dark-tinted LED rear lights with integrated 4-point brake lights and reverse lights; the name in satin black and a Porsche logo in high-gloss silver or optional satin black.

© Porsche Cars North AmericaInner Space
The 718 Cayman GTS interior features standard Sport Seats Plus with Alcantara inserts, an Alcantara-wrapped sport steering wheel and embroidered GTS logos in the head restraints. The gear-shift knob, center armrest, door armrests and headliner are also covered with Alcantara. Standard trim is high-gloss silver and brushed aluminum with black anodized finish optional.

© Porsche Cars North AmericaGTS Interior
The GTS interior package includes a contrasting color of red or crayon, a tachometer dial in contrasting color, contrasting stitching, floor mats with Porsche logo in a contrasting color, a GTS logo in contrasting color, trim in carbon, center console trim in carbon and contrasting color seatbelts. The drive mode switch on the steering wheel allows the driver to choose between four drive modes: Normal, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual.

© Porsche Cars North AmericaOn the Road
Precision is the single word that best describes the 718 Cayman GTS, with the inherent balance of a mid-engine car, finely tuned suspension and razor-sharp steering. At first the GTS almost seems twitchy or nervous, but if drivers keep their hands calm the car remains stable and balanced, but with the slightest hand movements on the wheel the GTS will respond. Our test car was fitted with Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S max performance summer tires which compliment and enhance the excellent suspension tuning. The 718 Cayman GTS has very high levels of grip and cornering ability, but still rides well and absorbs road imperfections incredibly well for a car at this level of performance.

© Porsche Cars North AmericaPowerful Engine
The broad torque allows the Cayman GTS to pull strongly out of corners on twisty mountain roads in a higher gear and revs freely all the way to the 7500 redline. Sport or Sport Plus add automatic rev matching for both 6-speed manual and PDK for perfect downshifts without upsetting the car. In Sport or Sport Plus the PDK deliver quicker shifts, holds lower gears longer and holds lower gears under lateral load. The sport exhaust is tuned for a great exhaust note that sounds powerful but unique from other flat-four engines, past or present.

© Porsche Cars North AmericaPDK vs. Manual
In the past it was considered sacrilege to consider an automatic transmission in a sports car, if one was even available as an option. When automatic transmissions were slow, sloppy and inefficient, robbing the engine of power and lowering the overall performance of the car, that was a valid argument. But with today’s technology and the ability to combine the mechanical efficiency of a gearbox with the convenience of an automatic while improving both the overall performance and efficiency of the car, it’s time to reconsider.

© Porsche Cars North AmericaBetter Than You Are
Most race cars in top-level racing series now include transmissions with sequential shifting and/or paddle shifters, so that even if the driver selects the gear, the gear change and clutch are automated. When we had been discussing manual versus PDK, legendary Porsche racing driver Hurley Haywood said, “The PDK is just so good. It’s better than you are.” And I jokingly responded, “I know it’s better than I am,” but Hurley added: “No, it’s better than anyone.” From a performance standpoint, the PDK transmission offers quicker acceleration, better lap times, faster shifts and perfect rev matching on downshifts. And the driver can still shift manually using paddles or the gear shift. The manual transmission is fun to drive and offers rev matching downshifts, but is now the choice for fun or nostalgia — not for pure performance.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceRight for You?
The most recognized Porsche of all time is the 911, Porsche’s iconic rear-engine sports car that has developed and evolved over more than 50 years, remaining true to its original rear-engine architecture. For 1997 Porsche added the mid-engine Boxster roadster followed by the mid-engine Cayman coupe for 2005, taking advantage of the mid-engine configuration to develop a new, modern sports car. Since the beginning, Cayman has offered performance to challenge the 911, and the 718 Cayman GTS continues to push the performance envelope. It’s a car that is very easy to drive, extremely responsive, powerful and fun, but will also be an easy car to live with day-to-day. If you’re looking for a sports car with a high-level of performance that you can still drive comfortably on your daily commute to the office, the 718 Cayman GTS might be the right car for you.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceRating: 9.0
Pros: Beautiful design; strong turbo and PDK; GTS driving experience.
Cons: Porsche’s least expensive is getting pricey; no back seat, but that’s not why you buy it.
Bottom Line: Precision mid-engine sports car from the legendary manufacturer.

© Porsche Cars North AmericaPorsche 718 Cayman GTS

© Porsche Cars North AmericaPorsche 718 Cayman GTS

© Porsche Cars North AmericaPorsche 718 Cayman GTS

© Porsche Cars North AmericaPorsche 718 Cayman GTS

© Porsche Cars North AmericaPorsche 718 Cayman GTS

© Porsche Cars North AmericaPorsche 718 Cayman GTS

Porsche 718 Cayman GTS

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