Less Bark, More Bite

Less Bark, More Bite

Porsche’s 718 cayman s

If you read our review of the Porsche’s 718 Boxster, back in May, you probably know that the mid-cycle update on its junior sports cars went well beyond the cosmetic nips and tucks typical of automobiles entering midlife. The 718 Cayman is no different. In addition to the rigueur fascia, headlight, and taillight revisions, each got new sheetmetal stampings for all fenders and both door skins. Interior upgrades included redesigned upper dashboards, new steering wheels, and revised infotainment logic with more connectivity options and device compatibility. The Boxster and Cayman also received completely retuned chassis, upgraded brakes, and even a newly shared numerical designation—718—to help clarify that they’re simply two variants of the same model. But the most consequential changes by far were the replacement of the naturally aspirated 2.7- and 3.4-liter flat-six engines with turbocharged 2.0-liter and 2.5-liter flat-fours in the standard and S models….and we love it!!

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The Stats

0-60: 3.9 sec

Top speed: 171 mph

Power: 350 hp @ 6500 rpm

Torque: 309 lb-ft @ 1900 rpm

Transmission: 6-speed manual, 7-speed dual-clutch automatic with manual shifting mode

Engine Type: Turbocharged 16-valve flat-4, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection

Wheels: 18-inch (Cayman S gets 19-inch wheels)

The Drive

Whether congested city roads, or bare naked highway the Cayman felt focused and eager to make its way through the crowds. The breaks reactions were lighting fast when met with an incompetent driver, and the PDK responded deliciously to a firm stop on the accelerator.

The engine’s new Dynamic Boost feature, which, in Sport and Sport Plus modes, “pre-conditions” the turbo by holding the throttle valve open after the driver comes off the throttle pushing the frequency and duration of turbo lag to a minimum. This engine always feels alert.

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The Luxury

The cabin is smartly designed for ease of use, and the materials used throughout are impeccable.

There is an abundance of buttons, but they are logically placed and well labelled.

There are two separate cargo spaces. Up front, under the bonnet, is 5.3 cubic feet of space. Behind the engine, and under the boot, there is a another 4.4 cubic feet.

Standard safety features include antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera and airbags for the head, chest and knees.

Infotainments system comes with a 7-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, a six-speaker audio system with CD player, 11GB of music storage, satellite and HD radio and iPod/USB/SD-auxiliary input.

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The Looks

Only the bootlid, roof and windscreen are unaltered. The intended effect is to align the model even more obviously with the Boxster, although the technical reasoning behind the noticeably larger and more numerous air intakes all around is to ensure the 718’s new turbocharged engines are fed with ample air.

The chassis has been reworked, as well, with a view to enhance the precision and stability of the car which already has considerable reserves of both.

The Cayman has earned additional rebound buffer springs on the front axle to reduce lift while accelerating and, as with the Boxster, there are higher spring rates all round to further limit body roll.

The smaller boxer engine has delivered a slightly lower centre of gravity than its predecessor had, although ‘smaller’ should not be misread as ‘lighter’.

The addition of turbochargers has meant the latest Cayman emerges from the factory very marginally heavier than the equivalent six-pot model.

The Verdict

The Porsche Cayman 718 S is by some distance the most complete sports coupé on sale and is easily talented enough in the power and handling department. Though some may struggle adjusting to the new engine designation in the long term, the memory of its past naturally aspirated 6 cyl predecessor will eventually fade. The ample qualities that accompany the new 718 will not.

© COPYRIGHT ARABIA MOTORS AUGUST 2017

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