Cayman becomes Porsche’s junior model
Up to now, the Boxster has been the junior member of the Porsche sports car family – the stepping stone to a world populated by faster, meaner and more expensive Porsches like the the 911.
When the Cayman – effectively a tin-top Boxster – joined the Porsche family, it was pitched above the roadster, both in price and performance terms. It was positioned more as junior 911 than a senior Boxster, but it still meant you paid more for a Cayman than a Boxster.
The replacement of the traditional normally aspirated flat-six engines with four-cylinder turbo engines in the new 718 Boxster also heralded a shift in position: going forward, the Boxster becomes the more expensive 718 option, while the 718 Cayman now represent the new entry level.
Frankly, that’s good news for sports car fans. After all, it’s a fact that a tin-top will be stiffer and thus handle better than a roadster, even if that roadster is a Boxster. And besides, in pure road noise terms, the Cayman will always be quieter than its ragtop sibling.
Now, those benefits actually come at a discount, making the Cayman an even better buy than before.
The drivetrains of the new 718 Cayman, and the faster and dearer 718 Cayman S, are identical to those of the respective Boxster versions. Thus, the ‘normal’ 718 Cayman gets a 2,0-litre turbocharged flat four good for 221 kW, while the 2,5-litre turbo mill in the Cayman S has 257 kW on tap. Both figures are higher than those of the outgoing six-cylinder models.
The benefits of going the turbo four route include the potential for improved fuel efficiency (highly dependent on driving style, however) and improved tractability, thanks to the engine’s propensity for low-down torque. Even the plain Cayman punches out 380 Nm of twist, while the S benefits from 420 Nm.
The South African preference for dual-clutch gearboxes means both Caymans will be offered with the PDK transmission by default. Performance is sports car swift: a 4,7 second 0-100 km/h sprint time for the Cayman, linked to a 275 km/h top speed, while the Cayman S manages 4,2 sec and 285 km/h for the two benchmarks respectively.
So, where’s the catch? The only one we can think of is the sacrifice of the flat-six engine’s glorious wail when driven in anger. A flat four with a turbo bolted on top, is unlikely to offer the same sonic splendour – but we’ll reserve judgement until we get a chance to drive one.
Deliveries only start in September, but provisional pricing, based on current exchange rates, will see the 718 Cayman retailing for R854 000, while the S costs R934 000.
Of course, there’s always the option of a six-cylinder Cayman GTS from the Porsche pre-owned showroom …