Test Drives

Porsche 718 Cayman 2017 Review

porsche cayman singapore price1The Porsche Cayman is monstrously good fun, without a terror-inducing price tag


Ooh, a new Cayman..
Correction, the new 718 Cayman. Porsche model codename 982, but the official name is 718. The new 982 series debuted with the 718 Boxster prior to the Cayman, and to keep a long story short, the  718 name hearkens back to the classic 718 RSK and 718 RS 60 Spyder racers from Porsche history. The new number is also supposed to serve as a preface, like ‘911’ does for Porsche’s most famous sports car.

porsche cayman singapore price6The 718 Cayman carries over the bones of the previous car, the third-gen Cayman, aka the 981, but now everything else is different. Most of all, it has a new name and a new heart.

Less is more, thanks to turbos?
Spot on. As noted in our the international debut of the car in Sweden, the 718 Boxster and Cayman have followed their big brother, the 911, in downsizing and turbocharging. While the previous cars were powered with flat six engines, ranging from 2.7-litres in the first non-S cars to the eventual 3.4-litre as found in the stonking GTS models, they’re now powered by 2.0-litre and 2.5-litre turbocharged flat fours.

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How does it look?
Evolved, but still stunning in its own way: The key differences are the rear lights, now connected by a black bar with the ‘Porsche’ words executed individually (a very nice touch) and an active aero wing above that. This car carries the also-classic-looking 20-inch Carrera sport rims and very trendy grey colour, which Porsche actually terms ‘Graphite Blue Metallic’.

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Feeling a little grey? Having this key in your pocket will cheer up your day…

This is the ‘non-S’ base model? How exciting could that be?
A ‘lesser’ Porsche, but the Cayman always punched well above it weight and still gives the 911, or any other coupe, a good run for the money. It packs a still-considerable 300bhp, and even more considerable given that’s 35bhp and 100Nm of torque more than the old base Cayman with the 2.7-litre flat six. It also helps that the Cayman weighs a mere 1,365kg without a driver.
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Generous power-to-weight and a the stirring boxer soundtrack make going fast in the Cayman a true joy, the car sheds inertia quickly as the basso rumble of the engine spins up into a near howl as it makes peak power, the drama of the upshifts and crackle of the overrun merely adding to the fun.

Of course where the real fun lies isn’t in straight lines: Having the car’s largest masses of engine and driver contained within the wheelbase thanks to the rear-mid-rear layout means the Cayman slithers through corners quicker than a crocodile surfing mudflats.
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But does it feel special? 
You bet your crocodile skin wallet it does. It’s the rare sort of car that delivers the same level of composure and feedback whether you’re doing 10 or 100km/h, and being the literal centre of the machine, it’s easy to place the wheels exactly where you want them – cornering is truly toothy experience with the Cayman, no squiggles or adjustments needed, just turn in precisely and neatly, and ride the wave of torque on the exit. Really, the only thing missing is the spine-tingling howl of the old flat six, a contrast made more pronounced by the boomy burble of the new forced-induction flat fours.

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‘Baby’ Porsche grows up, huh…
The Cayman was always much, much more than its model position, and price, made it out to be. That the 718 Cayman serves up a juicy side of thrilling dynamics is probably no surprise at all, while the new turbo power and torque doesn’t hinder the delicate drivability that made previous Caymans so toothy. What’s even more appealing is that the Cayman is now the least expensive Porsche two door at $253,988 without COE, it’s $23k more than the least expensive Porsche of all, the Macan, and $5k less spendy than a Boxster. But perhaps the best thing is that the Cayman, even in base guise and without the inevitable Porsche optional equipment, sets up a give-and-take between it and the driver that can match, or better, almost anything else available.

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Porsche 718 Cayman
Engine 1,998cc, 16V, flat 4, turbocharged
Power 300bhp at 6500rpm
Torque 380Nm at 1900-4500rpm
Gearbox 7-speed dual-clutch
Top Speed 275km/h
0-100km/h 4.7 seconds
Fuel efficiency 7.0L/100km
CO2 160g/km
Price $253,988 without COE
Availability Now

about the author

Derryn Wong
CarBuyer's chief editor has a keen interest in all things mechanical, technological, animal and mineral. He's particularly fascinated by eco-cars and cars which make no logical sense. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he also enjoys cats. Follow him on Instagram @werryndong