by Sebastian Cenizo
When the Cayman was first introduced to the world, many naysayers were apprehensive about a cheaper and less powerful 911 being a wishy-washy sales tactic. One drive is all it takes for a critic to change that tune, and the Cayman is now widely regarded as one of the best offerings on the market. While the switch to turbocharging has dulled the experience slightly, a new GTS 4.0 has been unveiled, offering a naturally-aspirated, 4.0-liter flat-six with 394 horsepower and 309 lb-ft of torque. The Cayman and Cayman T make use of 300 hp/280 lb-ft 2.0-liter flat-four with a turbo, while the Cayman S offers a 2.5-liter turbocharged flat-four with 350 hp and 309 lb-ft of twist. All models come with a six-speed manual as standard, while a seven-speed dual-clutch PDK is available for each - with the exception of the manual-only GTS 4.0.
2020 sees the Cayman range expanded. The Cayman T is a new offering, essentially a base Cayman with less weight and a more capable suspension setup as standard. This model also gets 20-inch 911 Carrera S wheels, some interior highlights, and a standard Sport Chrono package. But the big news is that the GTS has been upgraded to the GTS 4.0, a new model replacing the GTS and providing the ultimate Porsche experience short of a 911. Exclusively available with a manual gearbox, this is the purist's collector item; packing a naturally aspirated 4.0-liter flat-six, it's a model that will undoubtedly fulfill all the dreams that were dashed when turbocharging was introduced.
A miniature 911 in design, the 718 has slowly but surely come into its own, design-wise. Each model is dressed with different wheels and accents, with the base model featuring 18-inch wheels and the S getting 19s. The T is fitted with 20-inch wheels nicked off a 911 Carrera S, while the GTS 4.0 gets its own design of 20s in a satin black finish. Body-wise, all models get LED running lights and bi-xenon headlights, while at the rear a subtle spoiler bears the Porsche script. The Cayman has a single-exit center exhaust, with S models earning twin pipes. The T is differentiated by mirror caps and rear badges painted in Agate Grey and gloss-black exhaust tips. The GTS features an exhaust tip on either end of the rear diffuser and the usual GTS cues like tinted lights, and multiple black accents.
The compact sports car has mostly shared dimensions across the range, with length, width, and wheelbase all the same. These dimensions measure 172.4, 70.9, and 97.4 inches respectively. Height on the Cayman and Cayman S measures 51 inches, while the T and the GTS 4.0 are 0.78 inches less thanks to a lowered suspension. Curb weight on the base manual model is 2,944 lbs with the PDK weighing in at 3,010 lbs. The S is slightly heavier at 2,988 and 3,054 respectively, and, while we don't yet have official dimensions for the GTS 4.0, the flat-six will typically add some heft to the car.
The Cayman is treated to four no-cost color options: White, Black, Guards Red, and Racing Yellow. Metallic options all cost $650 and include hues like Gentian Blue, Aventurine Green and GT Silver. Special colors are also available for $2,580 and comprise of Miami Blue, Lava Orange, Chalk and Carmine Red. The Cayman T gets the same no-cost options, but only three metallics (Carrara White, Jet Black, and GT Silver). Special colors are halved too, with Lava Orange and Miami Blue your only options. While we don't yet know what colors the GTS 4.0 will be available in, press images indicate at least a unique 997 RS-like shade of green and a red will fill the palette.
When it launches around the summer of 2020, the GTS 4.0 will be the fastest Cayman available - short of the exquisite GT4 with which it shares an engine. A detuned version of that flat-six will send 394 hp and 309 lb-ft of torque through a six-speed manual to the rear wheels. Porsche claims that the 4.0 will manage the 0-60 mph sprint in just 4.3 seconds with a top speed of 182 mph. With PDK, the T is a little slower thanks to "just" 300 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque, completing the sprint in 4.5 seconds. For now, the quickest model currently available is the Cayman S, which uses a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-pot boxer to produce 350 hp and 280 lb-ft. With PDK, 0-60 is dispatched in four seconds flat if you spec the Sport Chrono package, with a top speed limited to 177 mph. Regardless of which model you get behind the wheel of, the handling is sublime. While purists may prefer the standard six-speed, which feels brilliant, the PDK seven-speed dual-clutch is not to be sniffed at and is arguably the best of its type available on the market.
The base Cayman is fitted with a 300 hp 2.0-liter turbo flat-four with 280 lb-ft of torque. A manual six-speed is standard, with a seven-speed PDK available. Although these days some hot hatches exceed that power figure, none of them manage to feel as linear and crisp as the mill in the Cayman. Yes, the sound is dull, to say the least, but performance is unquestionably brilliant. The Cayman T shares the same powerplant and transmission options, but thanks to a standard Sport Chrono package, is quicker than the base model. The Cayman S employs a larger 2.5-liter turbo-four, and although it barely sounds any better, increasing outputs by 50 hp and 29 lb-ft makes a big difference to the Cayman. Since the GTS 4.0 has not yet been released, we can't comment on how it drives, but Porsche claims sharper throttle response, which we expected as a result of deleting turbocharging from the equation. Considering that the engine is almost identical to that of the GT4, the sound will likely be magnificent and the acceleration will be visceral. Since this model will only be available with a manual gearbox, taking advantage of the 7,800 rpm redline is going to be an absolute joy.
Lauded for being one of the most agile yet refined sports cars on the planet, the Cayman has lost none of its magic in 2020. The mid-engined layout makes for superb balance and poise, and with an almost telepathic steering setup, the Cayman lives up to the 718 nomenclature. As is expected, steering feel when you're on the limit is not as intuitive as it once was, but the electric system can otherwise not be faulted. The variable suspension settings mean that you can take advantage of the twisty corners and tight turns in your neighborhood as well as cruise in comfort on the freeway, which is one of the reasons that the 718 Cayman is so popular. Opting for the T model adds Porsche's Active Stability Management (PASM) system as standard, making the Cayman even more capable in the corners. It and the upcoming GTS 4.0 both benefit from this technology, as well as a mechanical LSD with torque vectoring. The GTS 4.0 will also have active drivetrain mounts, finding a way to improve on a near-flawless chassis. In terms of brakes, the GTS 4.0 will also be treated to 13.8-inch rotors with six-pot calipers at the front, while the rear will be fitted with 13-inch rotors. As much as this will improve braking performance, an even better ceramic composite setup will be available as an option, and we can't wait to see how that stands up to consistent abuse.
While Porsche has not yet made fuel consumption claims for any of its 2020 models, we expect the Cayman and Cayman S to remain the same as in 2019. The Cayman T with its identical output should match the base Cayman, while we expect the GTS 4.0 to be less economical by virtue of its larger capacity, naturally-aspirated powerplant. 2019 EPA figures for the manual Cayman were 21/28/24 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles. Coupled with a 14.2-gallon gas tank, mixed range was predicted at around 340 miles. The S model's figures were slightly worse, with it scoring 20/26/22 mpg on the same cycles, while both variants earned slightly better figures with the PDK transmission. Due to the S having a larger 16.9-gallon tank, its average range with manual and PDK gearboxes was around 371 and 405 miles respectively.
The interior of the Cayman has remained largely unchanged for some time now, and while we can find no fault with the layout, comfort, and general ergonomics of it, the materials and design are starting to look a little too dated for a car that retails at a starting price in excess of $57,000. Nevertheless, the design is unfussy, and the seats are perfectly positioned and a number of material options are at your disposal, depending on the model. Typically German build quality is present as always, and various seat options allow you and your passenger to choose between varying levels of support. As usual, heating and ventilation are available.
The Cayman's mid-engine layout makes it a strict two-seater, and both occupants sit low. Getting in and out of the car can be a little tricky for taller individuals, but once planted in place, even the base model's standard two-way seats are perfectly positioned to allow you to place the corners of the car with precision. Regardless of your body type or height, the Cayman will likely prove easy to acclimatize to, with plenty of headroom and legroom for even six-footers. Visibility out the front and sides is similarly good, but the rear is not as easy to view.
As standard, the base Cayman is equipped with partial leather seats in either Agate Grey or Black, with full leather available if you spec the sport seats. Some two-tone options are also available, with variations of Bordeaux Red, Chalk, Luxor Beige, and Graphite Blue. A natural leather Espresso and Cognac combination is also available but costs a whopping $4,470. Depending on your choice of upholstery, some other additions may be forced on you, and these get even more expensive very quickly. The GTS 4.0 will get black Alcantara and carbon fiber as standard, but these materials are available at an added cost throughout the rest of the range as well. Mahogany wood, brushed aluminum, and stainless steel are among the other options of materials that can be scattered throughout the interior.
With the 911 making use of a rear-engined layout, cargo space is compromised heavily. In the Cayman, the motor sits closer to the middle of the car, freeing up space for a traditional trunk. Even so, the 9.7 cubic-foot trunk won't fit a bag of golf clubs due to its shape, and neither will the 5.3 cubic-foot frunk under the hood. Still, this car was designed for pleasure rather than practicality and being able to fit a pair of overnight bags in each compartment is more than generous for such a good sports car.
In the cabin, the focus remains on driving but you do at least get a pair of cupholders, a small glovebox, and some narrow door pockets to house your phone or wallet.
Porsche has made a successful business out of charging buyers extra for almost every little item possible, so a rearview camera, cruise control, and a parking assistant are all you get as standard. Automatic air-conditioning is standard too, but dual-zone climate control costs extra. The options list is lengthier, offering Porsche's brilliant adaptive LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, keyless entry with remote start, and heated and ventilated seats. A heated steering wheel is also available, but the enthusiast will be more enamored by the Sport Chrono package, which adds a dashtop lap-timer and clock. If you spec the PDK transmission, you also get access to launch control with this package, helping you nail perfect starts every time.
A seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system is fitted to the Cayman as standard, which these days is a little small when you consider that some manufacturers offer screens bigger than some early computers had. We think it can be a good thing though, as your focus in a car like this should be on driving to the best of your ability. However, adjusting things while driving can be highly distracting. When you want to take things slower, the screen responds very well and is intuitive. It also features HD Radio, Bluetooth, a pair of USB ports and satellite radio. Navigation, WiFi, and Apple CarPlay can be added for a premium, but Android Auto is still not available. Eight speakers are standard, while a 10-speaker Bose upgrade or a 12-speaker Burmester system can be added for a more immersive audio experience.
The 2020 Porsche Cayman has thus far not been subject to any recalls, but the 2019 Cayman S was recalled in February of 2019 for a potential fuel leak post-crash. With no other issues since then, it's safe to assume that any gremlins have been removed.
Owners will be happy to know that Porsche offers complimentary maintenance for the first 10,000 miles or first year of ownership, along with limited and powertrain coverage for the first four years or 50,000 miles.
Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has crash-tested the 718 Cayman, but this is typical of vehicles in this sort of price bracket.
As standard, the 718 Cayman gets a rearview camera and parking sensors at the front and at the rear. Frontal and side-impact airbags are also included. The options list is more impressive, offering blind-spot monitoring, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control with autonomous emergency braking (only on PDK-equipped models), and adaptive LED headlights. However, each of these features are standalone options, so be prepared to pay heavily for a comprehensive safety package.
Practical, the Cayman is not. Groundbreaking and modern are not words we'd use to describe its interior either. The standard features are also few and far between. However, for the price, there is nothing that offers the same driving experience. When considering a luxury sports car, regardless of which one it is, a similarly-priced Porsche is almost always discussed as the benchmark. While changes have been small for the 2020 model year's Cayman and Cayman S, they are still utterly phenomenal to drive, and the new Cayman T makes the experience of driving a hard-top 718 even more special without forcing you to shell out for the top models. Now that a naturally-aspirated GTS is on its way, the range as a whole is even more respectable, and we can't think of a single car that offers the kind of brilliant cornering finesse that a Cayman will. It's simply the best.
Pricing on the 718 Cayman starts at $57,500 before the $1,350 delivery fee. The newly-introduced Cayman T is pricier, with a base figure of $66,400, and the quicker Cayman S starts at $69,900. Pricing for the GTS 4.0 has not yet been released, but it will be dearer than a Cayman S and cheaper than a hundred-thousand-dollar GT4. We expect pricing to be in the low to mid $80,000 range. For now, the most expensive non-GT model is the Cayman S, which works out to over $145,000 if you get carried away with the options.
The Porsche 718 lineup is typical of Porsche but different from that of many other manufacturers. Instead of just adding more features, the main differences typically relate to the performance ability of each model.
Four trims are available: 718 Cayman, 718 Cayman T, 718 Cayman S and 718 Cayman GTS 4.0
The base model features a 2.0-liter turbocharged boxer four-pot with 300 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. Its standard features include single-zone climate control, a rearview camera, parking sensors, and 18-inch wheels. A six-speed manual is standard, with Porsche's excellent PDK dual-clutch transmission available as an option.
The 718 Cayman T is almost identical but gets different badges and styling accents. It also rides on 20-inch 911 Carrera S wheels as standard and features the Sport Chrono package, PASM sports suspension with retuned adaptive dampers, shorter springs and a mechanical limited-slip diff with Porsche Torque Vectoring. The door handles are swapped for straps, and the radio is deleted. Carbon-fiber reinforced bucket seats are also available for more lightness.
The 718 Cayman S is broadly similar to the 718 Cayman but swaps out the 2.0-liter engine for a 2.5-liter turbo flat-four with 350 hp This model rides on 19-inch wheels gets a larger fuel tank that is optional on the base model. Metallic sports pedals are added to enhance the interior while the brake calipers are changed from black to red. Variable turbine geometry is a unique feature of the turbo on this mill, while the rear features twin exhaust pipes.
The GTS 4.0 is set to launch in the summer and will feature unique body styling and a different exhaust exit to indicate that the model has a 4.0-liter naturally aspirated boxer motor with 394 hp. This model will only be available with a manual transmission. Black Alcantara will be the material of choice in the cockpit, while a sports exhaust, the Sport Chrono package with active drivetrain mounts, and 20-inch wheels will also be standard. Bigger brakes and an upgraded Porsche Track Precision app will help you make the most of your racing on closed circuits.
The most valuable addition you can make to your Porsche is the Sport Chrono package. Standard on the GTS 4.0 and Cayman T, this option costs $2,090 on either the Cayman or Cayman S. It adds an analog and digital chronograph that doubles as a lap-timer, and also moves the drive mode selector to the steering wheel with more configurations available. Sport Plus mode, Individual mode (for your own customized responses), and - on PDK models - Sport Response mode are added. Porsche's dynamic LED lighting is also worth a look, and costs $2,140. For those more interested in luxury, the 12-speaker Burmester sound system is available for $4,690.
With modern lower-level Caymans now featuring turbocharging, the biggest complaint hurled their way is the poor sound and impaired throttle response, albeit minimal on the latter point. Now that we're getting the GTS 4.0 with a slightly detuned GT4 engine, those complaints can be laid to rest. The GTS 4.0 will be the most expensive of the regular Caymans, but it'll almost certainly be the best. With the Sport Chrono package's enhancements as standard and a six-speed manual as the solitary transmission option, this model will be the most enjoyable to drive too. As one of the few naturally-aspirated Porsches remaining, demand will likely be very high too. If you can, wait for one of these to arrive in the second half of 2020; then, sell your soul to make sure you get one.
When we reviewed the 718 Cayman last year, the M2 Competition only had a 365 hp turbocharged GTS to deal with, yet we still mostly favored the steering of the Porsche - this despite the M2's much cheaper starting price, more expansive list of standard features, and overall impressive ability as a sports car and as a vehicle that can seat up to four. Now that we're getting a naturally aspirated 394 hp GTS 4.0, the power difference is only 11 hp. The result is a much more expensive Porsche but also a Porsche that plays to its own traditional strengths. While we must reiterate that the M2 Competition is by far one of the greatest sports cars of our generation and semi-practical, too, the Cayman is just better to drive. We can't wait to see if the upcoming M2 CS wins us over though...
The 718 range is made up of coupe Caymans and convertible Boxsters. Each has almost identical performance and the same equipment and performance specs across the range. The difference lies in added weight on the Boxsters and their slightly higher asking prices, which are generally around $2,000 higher. The Boxster is also getting the GTS 4.0 treatment in a couple of months and is therefore just as attractive an option for potential buyers who want to experience naturally aspirated noise and throttle response. With the added benefit of natural tanning, the Boxster is just as great to drive but is more of a leisure option by default. The choice between these two will come down to the individual and his or her particular wants, but the CarBuzz office generally prefers the lighter and cheaper coupe as a rule.
Check out some informative Porsche 718 Cayman video reviews below.