Porsche sports cars do not change, they evolve. We used to say that the Cayman of old was the best drivers’ car around yet the German brand seem capable of making the best even better.
Whether we like it or not change in the modern automotive world is inevitable and downsizing is all the rage at the moment. Thus, in an effort to boost performance but reduce pollutants, the Flat-Six engine that powered the Porsche Cayman has gone to be replaced by the same new flat four-cylinder engines with turbocharging as is featured in the sibling 718 Boxster.
The base version starts with 296bhp from two litres of displacement. The faster S model delivers 346bhp from 2.5L.
There are many other tweaks, including to the styling, infotainment and some suspension parts are lifted from the GT4 but otherwise the 718 Cayman is the same as before, only different. The changes are subtle; the domed front wings, the neat Bi-Xenon light clusters and the under-spoilers all add up to a convincing whole.
Lateral rigidity and wheel tracking have been improved in the completely re-tuned chassis of the 718 Cayman. Springs and stabilisers have been designed to be firmer and the tuning of the shock absorbers has been revised.
The steering, which has been configured to be 10% more direct, enhances agility and driving fun. The rear wheels, which are one-half of an inch wider, in combination with redeveloped tyres result in an increased lateral force potential and hence in greater cornering stability. In short, this is a real drivers car.
Driving dynamics options such as the Sport Chrono Package and Porsche Torque Vectoring allow the sporty character of the 718 Cayman to be further customised. Another available option is PASM with a 10mm lowering of the ride height. The Sport Chrono Package can be adjusted via the programme switch on the steering wheel.
To take into account the car’s greater driving performance capabilities, stronger brake systems are now in use. The 718 Cayman now has the brake system that was previously used in the Cayman S. The 718 Cayman S, on the other hand, uses the four-piston calipers of the 911 Carrera combined with thicker brake discs.
INSIDE THE CAYMAN
Inside, optional extras include Sports Seats Plus that are part leather and part Sport-Tex cloth. A must-have. Play around with the electrically adjustable seat and achieve the perfect driving position. It is low and cossetting as it should be. The wheel is a delight to hold and the pedals sit just right for some old-school ‘heel and toe’ action if that’s your thing. As you would expect, all the usual technology suspects are on board, including Bluetooth, Apple Car Play and Porsche Car Connect. It is hard to find the words to express just how good this car is.
This is arguably the best car of its type currently on the market. In base form it will cost a relatively modest £40,000 (CO² 168g/km / BIK 32 for 2017/8) but extras – and you’ll want the extras – will drive up the price. This is the Porsche way. The company reckon than 38mpg is possible but to me seems unrealistic in the real world. This car demands to be driven. You might not need it for business but you will certainly want it for pleasure.