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.
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.
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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.
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
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.
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.
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