New car review

Porsche 718 Cayman GTS test drive

The Porsche 718 Cayman GTS is the most hardcore Cayman you can buy

What is it?

The 718 Cayman GTS is designed to be the sharpest version of Porsche’s baby two-door available. Thanks to a small hike in power, alongside a range of chassis tweaks and mechanical upgrades, the GTS should be one of the most capable compact sports cars on sale today.

The regular Cayman’s controversial 2.5-litre flat four-cylinder remains, and though many Porsche purists continue to baulk at the powertrain’s existence, the Stuttgart manufacturer is sticking with it – whether it’s liked or not.

What’s new?

The GTS comes fitted with a range of equipment as standard for which you’d have to tick quite a few options boxes if it were on a lower-spec Cayman. Features such as a mechanical limited-slip differential and Porsche’s PASM damper system come as part of the GTS’ overall price, rather than via the options list – and they do help to turn the car into a more competitive overall package.

Prices do start at a snick under £60,000 for the GTS – though our test car’s price was hiked up considerably thanks to a number of options.

How does it look?

The GTS gets a number of exterior touches that you can’t get on a regular Cayman. As such, you’ll see a black front apron and matching rear apron, along with smoked head- and tail-lights help to differentiate this car from the rest of the range.

The effect is a success; the GTS genuinely turns heads wherever it goes, while it helps to give the car even more presence out on the road. The larger alloy wheels added to our test car helped with this too, though their inclusion on the car does harm its comfort levels somewhat.

What’s the spec like?

As standard the Cayman GTS gets a comprehensive list of standard equipment, with notable features including bi-xenon headlights, sports seats and Porsche’s excellent infotainment system; this latter feature is beautifully simple to navigate and, thanks to Apple CarPlay, integrates with your smartphone easily.

Our test car featured a variety of optional extras including 20-inch alloy wheels (£758), parking assistance with reversing camera (£1,086) and optional sparkly paintwork (£1,658), which helped to bump up the car’s price up considerably – right the way up to £67,307 in fact.

The point is worth putting across, however, that the Cayman GTS will be just as fun to drive without any of these additions – the standard-fit power upgrade and mechanical features are the factors that make the difference.

What’s it like inside?

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Porsche 718 Cayman GTS - interior
(PA)

The cabin of the Cayman GTS is gloriously uncluttered. Everything is clear and well-made; the steering wheel compact and pleasingly thin-rimmed, while the seats are hugely supportive too.

It’s also quite a spacious interior, with large windows and a wide windscreen helping to contribute to a general sense of airiness – not something you’d expect from a compact two-seater.

It’s practical, too. You’ve got a well-sized boot (or ‘frunk’) at the front of the car, offering up 175 litres of space, while the rear storage section has a decent 275 litres to play with.

It means that the Cayman can be used for long weekends away, or on road trips where additional luggage space is needed. That said, longer items won’t fit – so you may have to leave the golf clubs at home.

What’s under the bonnet?

As mentioned, the GTS is powered by the same four-cylinder unit as found in the regular Cayman, however here it’s been boosted – though don’t expect any huge increase; just 15hp is added to the car’s power outputs. Torque is up too, with a total figure of 430Nm representing a decent amount of shoving force.

The result of that smaller, turbocharged engine is efficiency, with Porsche claiming 31mpg on the combined cycle, and we’d have to agree – 30mpg was regularly achieved during our test, along a mixture of motorway and country road driving.

Power here is sent to the rear wheels via Porsche’s PDK double-clutch automatic, though an excellent six-speed manual is available too – this would be our personal choice, thanks to its ability to deliver an ever-so-slightly more involving driving experience.

What’s it like to drive?

There’s no way about it; the Cayman GTS is pretty tremendous out on the open road. It corners, steers and accelerates just as you’d want it too, while the addition of the mechanical limited-slip differential helps to give the car just a little bit extra in the bends. Traction is immense too, even in poorer conditions.

The GTS gets a 1cm drop in ride height over the regular Cayman, while our test car came with optional sports suspension, pushing the ride down by a further 1cm. When coupled with the large 20-inch alloy wheels fitted to our car, this did result in a slightly harsher ride than we’d like – albeit an issue which could easily be rectified by optioning smaller wheels.

The decrease in ride height does give the Cayman added agility in the corners, but it reduces its comfort on a day-to-day basis – and this the opposite of what you want from a genuine road-focused car like the GTS.

Summary

The Cayman GTS is a bit of cracker. It’s sharp, nimble and brilliantly suited to the UK’s roads – and it gets better the harder you drive it.

Yes, the optional sports suspension and larger alloy wheels do add a harsher edge to the car’s ride, but even with these, it’s still a properly accomplished car.

Though some may have criticised the car’s use of a four-cylinder, you can’t take away from how effective it is – and it is the perfect accompaniment to the GTS’ beautifully balanced chassis. In all, it’s a bit of a home run from Porsche.

Similar cars

Alfa Romeo 4C, Alpine A110, Jaguar F-Type

Key specifications

Model as tested: Porsche 718 Cayman GTS
Price (on-road): £67,307
Engine: 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol
Gearbox: Seven-speed automatic
Power: 366 hp
Torque: 430 Nm
Top speed: 180 mph
0-60mph: 4.4 seconds
Fuel economy (combined): 31.4 mpg
CO2 emissions: 205 g/km

Jack Evans
Jack Evans
Articles by Jack Evans are provided for The Car Expert by PA Media (formerly the Press Association). They include test drives of the latest new cars and features on various aspects of automotive life.

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