Tested 21.11.17, Spain On sale Now Price £59,866
Not even a blaring exhaust can distract from Cayman’s hallmark handling excellence
The Porsche GTS models are long established now as usually the best of their respective ranges, picking and mixing the best bits from the options list to add the cherry on top of the very appealing sports car cake.
Dodgy metaphors aside, the Cayman GTS features the desirable dynamic options – PASM dampers, PTV Plus limited-slip diff and Sport Chrono – that many buyers choose already, then adds a little more power, some nice new wheels and a few styling tweaks. It all comes in at a price that’s similar to what those options would cost separately.
As a result, the car feels very much like a regular Porsche Cayman, not that this is a bad thing. Our test was limited to a few laps of the Ascari circuit in Spain – not a hardship, granted, but not especially revealing either – and, throughout, it displayed the poise, finesse and enjoyment we’ve come to expect from mid-engined Porsches. Is it transformed from a standard 718 Cayman? No. Does it render a GT4 replacement redundant? No. Is it the greatest mid-engined sports car to ever grace this planet thanks to a standard-fit sports exhaust? No, of course not.
Perhaps those points are obvious, although, on occasion, it seems a few get a little carried away with the talents of these tinkered Porsches. It would take a back-to-back comparison with a regular 718 S to truly identify the differences; that wasn’t possible this time, so let’s run through what’s good and not so good about the 718 Cayman GTS.
It’s fast, certainly. Although the gains for this car are modest, all of the turbocharged 718s feel very punchy because of the torque increase from before. Whatever the situation, the GTS will satisfy all but the most ardent of speed freaks. It is responsive to every input and eager right the way to 7000rpm and beyond.
The best aspect of this car, and arguably of all Caymans, however, is the way it handles. It’s vice-free, mid-engined sports car nirvana. There are all the best bits of putting the engine directly behind the driver with seemingly none of the drawbacks. So it’s agile and precise and direct, but not spiky if you do misjudge anything. Lift mid-corner or brake at an inopportune moment – easily done on Ascari’s labyrinthine 26-corner layout – and the GTS doesn’t punish or rebuke; it’s far too assured for that. You may feel the mass move around, but so well controlled is this movement that it’s never intimidating.
So what’s the problem? In all honesty, it’s hard to detect much difference from the standard Cayman S, but the more pressing issue is the noise. Yes, still. Whatever has changed for the GTS sports exhaust has made the boxer drone more prominent, more audible and more annoying. The sports exhaust
is pointless here, because all you do is ensure it’s turned off.
Despite the noise, the Cayman GTS has to come recommended, because it’s still perhaps the best-handling sports car this side of £100,000. Given that the cost of the useful dynamic extras is covered in the price leap from S to GTS, before you’ve even considered the power and styling upgrades, the GTS looks like very good value.
In fact, it’s difficult to think of a single thing you’d want to add to the GTS package – bar some Porsche-branded earplugs, perhaps.
While logic says otherwise – the PDK is more efficient and better for resale – please stick with the standard manual. It’s a great gearbox. MB
Porsche 718 Cayman GTS
A familiar raft of upgrades for another Porsche GTS; a familiarly positive result too…
Engine 4cyls, 2497cc, turbocharged, petrol
Power 361bhp at 6500rpm
Torque 317lb ft at 1900-5500rpm
Gearbox 6-spd manual
Kerb weight 1375kg
Top speed 180mph
CO2, tax band 205g/km, 36%
Rivals BMW M2, Jaguar F-Type