Maybe missing out a little on fun, but if it’s speed you’re after this is the fastest four-cylinder Cayman you can buy
According to the rumours, Porsche Motorsport will be launching a GT4-badged 718 Cayman later this year, featuring the screaming non-turbo six-cylinder engine from the 911 GT3.
If you can’t wait for the GT4, or can’t stretch to it, this four-cylinder GTS is the hardest Cayman on offer. It’s a bit more expensive than the mid-range Cayman S, but it makes a fair amount of sense when you remember that it comes with just about all the S options you’d probably go for anyway: stuff like the Sport Chrono Package, sports exhaust, PASM dampers and mechanical limited-slip differential on the driven rear axle. You also get a superb 360mm steering wheel and, on our test car at least, a manual six-speed transmission gearlever, with the option of a PDK dual-clutch seven-speed automatic.
Porsche 718 Cayman GTS
Engine: 2.5-litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged, petrol;
Torque: 310lb ft
Gearbox: 6-spd manual
Kerb weight: 1375kg
Top speed: 177mph
Fuel economy: 31.4mpg
CO2 emissions: 205g/km
Model-unique features that can’t be had on any other Cayman include reshaped front and rear aprons with blacked-out intake blades up front and a slightly bigger rear diffuser. The ‘baby supercar’ look is nicely completed by dark trim pieces in the LED headlights and tail-lights.
The GTS base price is £59,886, but our options-laden specimen strode past the £76,000 mark, which may seem a lot for a four-cylinder sports car. The extras included razor-sharp composite brakes (£5117), hip-gripping bucket seats (£2316), Crayon paint (£1658) and adaptive crystal-bright LED headlights (£1397).
Despite its shortage of cylinders, there’s no shortage of performance from the 2.5-litre boxer four, whose power has been lifted to 361bhp (14bhp over the £51,850 Cayman S) by a new intake duct and revised turbocharger. The manual car’s 310lb ft of torque is marginally up (PDK models increase to 317lb ft), but more important is the revband over which it operates: from 1900rpm to more than 5000rpm. That means the GTS is supremely useable and rarely unprepared for any driver demand, even though the six manual gear ratios are a little too spaced out for a car that’s so eager to spin through to its 7500rpm redline.
In manual-gearbox cars, the top speed goes up a tadge to 180mph, but the 0-62mph time stays the same at 4.6sec. PDK autos also top out at 180mph, but the fantastic speed of the auto box’s changes snips 0.3sec off the 0-62mph run.
The chassis is brilliant. Every GTS has the PASM adaptive dampers. They lower the ride height by 10mm, and the Sports suspension (£168) of our car added another 10mm to that. Throw in the 911 Carrera S-sourced 20-inch wheels and you’d be well within your rights to expect a bone-shattering ride, but there’s no such problem. Instead, you get uncannily immediate reactions from the suspension, ensuring incredible traction and body movements that are always in time with the road. The smoothness of the transition from bump to rebound damping is outstanding, delivering 911-beating tautness with very little cost to the compliance.
The near-miraculous composure of the suspension is mirrored by the jaw-dropping precision of the electromechanical steering. If you’ve never experienced it, it will feel strange at first, but you soon learn to revel in its unflappability and the absolute faithfulness of its response along the most tortuous routes.
Those who value technical excellence and peerless A to B pace may reasonably see this GTS as the best 718-generation Cayman ever. Work the tightly-manicured manual box hard enough and you’ll discover a remarkably rapid machine. Some may find it’s almost too good, almost too perfect to be truly enjoyed. They may yearn for a bit less stability on the brakes, or a bit more edginess from extreme throttle applications.
‘Too good for its own good’ would be a silly kind of judgement, so we’ll dock it half a star for the still-dull engine sound and look forward to a full, more exhaustive (no pun intended) road test when we’ll dig deeper into the soul of this otherwise remarkable car.