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2018 Porsche 718 Cayman

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2018 Porsche 718 Cayman Expert Review

By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor

As it’s the most affordable member of the Porsche family, one might think the 2018 Porsche 718 Cayman might also be the least capable, but that would be a grave misjudgment in character. Newly redesigned last year, the 718 Cayman and 718 Cayman S deliver exceptional performance thanks to a powerful set of horizontally-opposed turbocharged engines, improved suspension, steering and brake calibrations as well the latest in driver-assist technology. With a price starting around $56,500, the 718 Cayman sits in a sweet spot formerly dominated by domestic cars like the Chevrolet Corvette and Ford Mustang GT350. Although the price quickly rises once options are added in, for those willing to go with a bare-bones Porsche, the 718 Cayman won’t disappoint.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you’re looking for a true driver’s car that shines brightest when the road begins to twist and turn, the 2018 Porsche 718 Cayman is it. Although not as fast as a Chevy Corvette or Nissan GT-R, the 718 Cayman carries the Porsche pedigree, which for many is a bargain at this price.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you’re looking for a performance car with a growling V8 or blistering zero-to-60-mph runs, the 718 Cayman probably won’t excite you. Adding even the most basic upgrades quickly pushes the 718 Cayman’s price well beyond the price of a loaded Ford Mustang GT350 or Chevrolet Camaro SS.

How It Ranks
2018 Porsche 718 Cayman Low/wide front photo What's New for 2018

After a complete remake this year, the 2018 Porsche 718 Cayman coupe offers only a few new cosmetic additions.

Driving the 718 Cayman
2018 Porsche 718 Cayman Front angle view photo
Driving Impressions

When it comes to cornering, the mid-engine 718 Cayman and 718 Cayman S are two of the world’s greatest performers. Quick and agile, the 718 Cayman demonstrates remarkable stability and...

... balance, responding without hesitation to even the slightest driver input regardless if it’s during a feverish twisting uphill run, or a simple lane change on a freeway. As part of its rebirth, Porsche engineers improved on the 718 Cayman’s ridged core structure by widening the rear track, stiffening the damper settings and retuning the suspension to be more responsive during aggressive driving. The Cayman’s electromechanical steering is lifted directly from the 911 Turbo, while larger brakes all around deliver impressive stopping power. Those looking to push their 718 Cayman to the limit will want to opt for the multi-mode Porsche Active Suspension Management system that, on the Cayman S, offers a low-riding Sport-spec mode, as well as a revised Sport Chrono Package and Porsche Torque Vectoring.

PDK TRANSMISSION
Old die-hards may grumble at the idea of a Porsche with an automatic transmission, that is until they experience the marvelous PDK automatic in the 718 Cayman. This dual-clutch transmission offers faster shifts and better acceleration times than its 6-speed manual counterpart, and even gets better fuel economy.

PORSCHE TORQUE VECTORING (PTV)
Working in conjunction with the anti-lock braking system and mechanical rear differential, Porsche Torque Vectoring works to improve traction and agility both while in a turn and when exiting corners.

2018 Porsche 718 Cayman Details
2018 Porsche 718 Cayman Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

Well-finished and smartly presented, the passenger compartment of Porsche’s 2018 718 Cayman possesses a stylish and user-friendly environment that still places an emphasis on a cockpit-oriented design. The functional sport steering wheel inspired by the 918 Spyder and supportive leather-covered sport seats reinforce its driver-focused character, while the thoughtfully-laid-out dash boasts better-positioned air vents and a 7.0-inch central touch screen for the standard Porsche Communications Management system that features proximity sensors and gesture control.

Exterior
2018 Porsche 718 Cayman photo

Last year’s comprehensive but focused restyle has the 718 Cayman more closely resembling its soft-top 718 Boxster sibling. Only the forward luggage-compartment cover, roof and windshield carry over. Sharper edges, bolder lighting elements and more prominent side air intakes -- the better to feed and cool new turbocharged powerplants -- give the new Caymans a more intense visual presence set off by an aggressive rear-quarter treatment featuring an auto-extending spoiler and single or dual exhaust outlets. While the Cayman rolls on an 18-inch wheel/tire package, the Cayman S features a more-aggressive 19-inch upfit.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Both the 718 Cayman and Cayman S feature a solid roster of standards headed by comfortably supportive and leather-covered sport buckets with power-adjustable backs, a tilt/telescoping steering column, single-zone climate control, 6-speaker Sound Package Plus audio system with SiriusXM and HD Radio, Porsche Communications Management system and front/rear Park Assist. In addition to eight airbags, the new 718 Caymans come with a wide range of electronic stability aids, tire-sealing compound plus an air compressor in place of a spare tire, and complimentary roadside assistance for the duration of the limited warranty.

Optional Equipment

In typical Porsche style, the 718 Cayman and Cayman S offer a huge selection of optional upgrades and personalization touches. On the performance-related front, the cars can be upfitted with a multifunction GT steering wheel, Porsche Active Suspension Management, Porsche Torque Vectoring, the Sport Chrono Package, Adaptive Cruise Control with Porsche Active Safety, Lane Change Assist and Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes. Complementing a bounty of available interior and exterior cosmetic touches, both models offer LED headlights, dual-zone climate control, Navigation and Porsche Connect modules, a selection of seat upgrades with up to 18-way-power adjustability plus Bose and Burmester premium audio systems.

Under the Hood

The 2018 718 Cayman and 718 Cayman S are powered by a pair of turbocharged flat-4-cylinder engines. Fitted with driver-selectable Stop/Start systems, both the base 2.0-liter and the S-spec 2.5-liter with a 911 Turbo-style variable-geometry force feeder boast more power -- 300 and 350 horses, respectively -- while generating greater torque at lower revs than the previous generation’s 2.7-liter and 3.4-liter engines. Each delivers even quicker acceleration regardless of transmission with just a modest fuel-economy decrease. All PDK-equipped Caymans also boast a Sport button that further sharpens throttle response and quickens shift times.

2.0-liter turbocharged flat-4 (718 Cayman)
300 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
280 lb-ft of torque @ 1,950-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/28 mpg (6-speed manual), 22/29 mpg (7-speed dual-clutch automatic)

2.5-liter turbocharged flat-4 (718 Cayman S)
350 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
309 lb-ft of torque @ 1,900-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/26 mpg (6-speed manual), 21/28 mpg (7-speed dual-clutch automatic)

The 718 Cayman has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) just under $56,350 with the Cayman S closer to $68,750. The Audi TTS Coupe, Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang and Corvette Grand Sport start around $54,000, $57,000 and $66,500, respectively, while the Nissan GT-R Premium pushes $112,000. Optioning any new Cayman can send its price skyward in a hurry. Adding extras like the PDK automatic, Porsche Active Suspension Management, Porsche Torque Vectoring, the Sport Chrono Package and a Navigation Module will kick the bottom line up by almost $10,500, and loading a Cayman S with optional convenience/cosmetic elements can move it perilously close to 6-figure territory. Check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what folks in your area are paying for Porsche’s 2018 Caymans. The good news is that the Cayman has a great residual value history that could well get even stronger with these new 718-spec variants.

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