2018 Porsche 718 Cayman

#20
in Compact coupes
2018 MODEL
$55,300 - $67,700 See Inventory Prices

8.1

Overall Rating

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Detailed Review

Since its introduction in 2006 as a coupe version of the Porsche Boxter, the Porsche Cayman has earned itself a place among the most legendary sports cars of all time. The Cayman epitomizes a small 21st century sports car with its lithe ecstatically agile chassis and eager engine. In 2017, Cayman entered a new generation and 2018 Porsche 718 Cayman is a carryforward with a starting price of $55,300.

The single biggest and most controversial change is that the Porsche swapped the old playful free-revving naturally aspirated Flat-6 with a turbocharged Flat-4. Many lamented the slight reduction in noise and missed the fun-to-rev character of the old engine but apart from this, the new 718 Cayman is surprisingly even more dynamically euphoric than the old one.

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Pros

One of the most dynamically neutral chassis available

One of the best manual transmission on offer

Powerful engines

Cons

Turbo Flat-4 sounds nowhere near as good as the old naturally aspirated Flat-6

Base models are miserly equipped

Pricey Optional Features

What's New?

The big news for 2018 is the availability of new Porsche 718 Cayman GTS. Apart from this, the 2017 Porsche 718 Cayman was all-new so Porsche has done just minor cosmetic revisions to the 2018 Cayman and Cayman S.


Pictures & Videos


Styles

 2018 Porsche 718 Cayman in Agate Gray Metallic color  2018 Porsche 718 Cayman in Black color  2018 Porsche 718 Cayman in Carmine Red color  2018 Porsche 718 Cayman in Carrara White Metallic color  2018 Porsche 718 Cayman in Graphite Blue Metallic color
Agate Gray Metallic

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Features

6.5

Engine

8.9

Fuel Economy

7.5

Interior

7.2

Exterior

8.9

Comfort

8.0

Driving

9.6

8.1

OVERALL RATING

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


 2018 Porsche 718 Cayman Base

Base

power
300 hp @ 6500 rpm
fuel
Premium unleaded (required)
mpg
24 combined

$55,300


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M) Starting at $55,300 MSRP (21/24/28) 300 hp @ 6500 rpm, 2 L, H4, premium unleaded (required)
See Full Specs
6-speed manual rear wheel drive 2   Agate Gray Metallic
  Black
  Carmine Red
  Carrara White Metallic
  Graphite Blue Metallic

 2018 Porsche 718 Cayman S

S

power
350 hp @ 6500 rpm
fuel
Premium unleaded (required)
mpg
22 combined

$67,700


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
S 2dr Coupe (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 6M) Starting at $67,700 MSRP (20/22/26) 350 hp @ 6500 rpm, 2.5 L, H4, premium unleaded (required)
See Full Specs
6-speed manual rear wheel drive 2   Agate Gray Metallic
  Black
  Carmine Red
  Carrara White Metallic
  Graphite Blue Metallic

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8.5/10

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MPG: 24 combined

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2017 Porsche Panamera
9.6/10

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2019 Porsche 718 Cayman
8.8/10

Engine: 300-hp @ 6500 rpm, 2 L H-4

MPG: 24 combined


Expert Review


CARHP Editorial September 24, 2018

8.1

Overall Rating


6.5/10
Features

 

8.9/10
Engine

 

7.5/10
Fuel Economy

 

7.2/10
Interior

 

8.9/10
Exterior

 
 
 
 

And driving aficionados will write love letters to Porsche for still offering a 6-speed manual along with the 7-Speed PDK. Even with two cylinders less, forced aspiration has ensured power is up - the base Cayman gets 300 hp 2.0L boxer-4 while the Cayman S boasts 350 hp 2.5L boxer-4. Alternatives include the equally special Jaguar F-type, the pure BMW M2 and the Audi TT RS.

2018 Porsche 718 Cayman Features

6.5/10

The base 2018 Cayman with the 300 hp 2.0L Turbo Flat-4 and 6-speed manual has a starting price of $55,300. The 718 Cayman S with the 350 hp 2.5L Turbo Flat-4 and 6-speed manual retails at $67,700. Both models are equipped with the optional Porsche PDK for $3,210.

Trims 718 Cayman 718 Cayman S
MSRP $55,300 $67,700
Features
  • 18-inch Boxster and Cayman wheels
  • Four-piston aluminum monobloc fixed brake calipers
  • Centrally positioned single-tube tailpipe
  • SPORT Button
  • Porsche Communication Management (PCM)
  • Net-type wind deflector
  • 350 hp 2.5L Flat-6 with Variable turbine geometry (VTG)
  • 19-inch Boxster S or Cayman S wheels
  • Bi-Xenon main headlights
  • Centrally positioned twin tailpipe

The new 718 GTS gets more power and gets the optional features available in the Cayman S as standard. In typical Porsche fashion, the base models are miserly equipped for a luxury car and essential luxury items like leather seats and dual-zone climate control are optional.

We Recommend

While the base Cayman is exciting enough, its 2.0L engine sounds a bit tamed and we recommend getting the Cayman S with the louder 2.5L Flat-4. We also recommend getting the Active Torque Vectoring and the Porsche Active Suspension Management.

2018 Porsche 718 Cayman Engine

8.9/10

The Porsche Cayman is as much a driver-focused car as it gets. Although the replacement of the Naturally Aspirated Flat-6 engine with the Flat-4 has not gone well with many, the new 718 Cayman has improved steering precision, brake, chassis and suspension than the already telepathic old Cayman. The new Cayman GTS gets plenty of performance hardware as standard.

“Porsche’s new 718 Cayman and Cayman S are two of the most exhilarating sports cars on the market at any price. Quick, agile and with a mid-engine layout that gives each incredible balance, both respond brilliantly and confidently to driver input” – Kelley Blue Book

Engine

The new 718 Cayman gets two turbo Flat-4 engines. The base 300 hp 2.0L Flat-4 in Cayman is plenty quick but it suffers from some turbo-lag and sounds tamed. That’s why many critiques recommend upgrading to the 2.5L Flat-4. The 2.5L Flat-4 is not only faster and louder, it has a much better response.

That’s because while the base 2.0L Flat-4 gets fixed geometry turbos, the 2.5L Flat-4 employs variable geometry turbochargers. These turbochargers spool faster and thereby reduce the turbo-lag. The 2.5L engine comes in two flavors – it makes 350 hp in 718 Cayman S and a 365 hp in the new 718 Cayman GTS.

Models Porsche 718 Cayman Jaguar F-type Coupe BMW M2 Coupe Audi TT RS
MSRP $55,300 $59,900 $54,500 $64,900
Engine 2.0L Turbocharged, 4-Cylinder Engine 2.0L, Turbocharged, 4-Cylinder Engine 3.0-liter, TwinTurbo, Inline 6-Cylinder Engine 2.5 TFSI 5 Cylinder Engine
Transmission 6-speed manual 8-speed automatic 6-speed manual 7-speed automatic
Power 300 hp 296 hp 365 hp 400 hp
Torque 280 lb-ft 295 lb-ft 343 lb-ft 354 lb-ft

Transmission

Whichever engine you choose, you get the acclaimed 6-Speed Manual as standard and optional 7-Speed PDK ($3,210). The Porsche 6-Speed manual is regarded by many as one of the best manual transmission available. The short slick gear throws complement the firm clutch pedal symbiotically and the ratios perfectly match the power characteristics of the engine.

Opting for the Sport Chrono Pack also equips the manual with rev matching function. Like a seasoned racing driver, it executes smooth and aggressive downshifts by auto blipping the throttle. Although the 6-speed manual offers ultimate driving engagement, the optional 7-speed PDK has itself received accolades and delivers faster quarter-mile time and lap time.

Acceleration

The base Porsche Cayman with 300 hp 2.0L Flat-4 and the delicious manual transmission does 0-60 in 4.9 seconds. However, if you obsess over numbers, the optional PDK will eliminate the time lost between each shift and reduce the 0-60 mph time to 4.7 seconds.

The more powerful 350 hp 2.5L Flat-4 equipped 718 Cayman S does 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds when equipped with the base 6-speed manual. The PDK dual-clutch automatic reduces that time by 0.2 seconds to 4.2 seconds. Then comes the 365 hp 2018 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS.

Models Porsche 718 Cayman Jaguar F-type Coupe BMW M2 Coupe Audi TT RS
0-60 MPH 4.9 sec 5.4 sec 4.3 sec 3.6 sec
Quarter mile 12.0 sec @ 114.9 mph 14.1 sec @ 99.7 mph 12.8 sec @ 107.5 mph 13.6 sec @ 114 mph
Engine 2.0L 2.0L 3.0L 2.5L
Emission

(Tons/yr of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/year)

7.3 6.8 8.4 8.0

With the standard 6-speed manual, Porsche says it will do 0-60 in 4.4 seconds. That’s reduced to 3.9 seconds with the quick 7-speed PDK. A side note: If you are a Porsche fan, you may know that Porsche is known to be conservative when publishing 0-60 times. So don’t be surprised when you better these claims on your first serious 0-60 run.

Also, if you are a frequent visitor to drag strip, it’s worth getting the optional Sport Chrono Pack with launch control. The launch control lets you limit the engine speed to a preset rpm enabling perfect launches with little wheel-spins.

Ride and Handling

While Porsche has positioned the Cayman as a baby 911, there is a fundamental difference. While the 911 has a cult following because of its quirky driving characteristic caused by the rear engine chassis, the Cayman benefits from the immaculate balance of a mid-engine chassis. This combined with an obsessive tuning of the suspension, tires, and steering has made the Cayman one of the best driver’s cars around.

And the new 718 Cayman is even better than the old one. The steering is now faster than before offering even more precision and feedback. Just in typical Porsche fashion, performance upgrades are available. The Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) sharpens the steering even more by momentarily applying brakes on inner rear wheels and is a recommended fit.

You can also have Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) equipped with Variable dampers. These dampers alter the damping characteristics of the engine based on condition and selected mode. The Normal mode offers a comfortable ride by softening the damping and is suited for day-to-day driving.

When in mood, selecting the Sport mode stiffens the dampers significantly resulting in taught body motions and higher adhesion through corners. With Sport Chrono Package comes yet another trick – the Porsche Active Driveline Mounts. These magnetorheological driveline mounts remain soft in normal mode but in Sport mode, they stiffen up to tighten driveline motions.

Braking

Along with its surgical steering precision, the Cayman has an extrasensory brake pedal. It’s meticulously dialed in and has just the right amount of firmness giving you pure confidence when attacking corners on tight winding roads. It’s extremely capable too and can stop the Cayman from 60 mph in 99.8-feet – that’s exceptional even among the sports coupes here.

Model Porsche 718 Cayman Jaguar F-type Coupe BMW M2 Coupe Audi TT RS
Brake Front(in) 13.0 14.0 15.0 14.6
Brake Rear(in) 11.8 12.8 14.5 12.2
Curb Weight(lbs) 2944 3360 3505 3306
60-0 MPH (ft.) 99.8 112.0 108 96.0

If you plan on attacking the racetrack often and are ready to spend $7,410, you can get Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake (PCCB). Apart from being extremely effective, these remain fadeless even after thrashing them a full day at the racetrack. However, most of us will be fine with Caymans standard brakes.

2018 Porsche 718 Cayman Fuel Economy

7.5/10

While efficiency may not be your priority when buying a Porsche sports car, the 718 Cayman has a pleasant surprise. The base Cayman with manual transmission gives 21 city, 28 highway and 24 combined. Selecting PDK improves the Combined Rating by 1 mpg to 25 mpg. These numbers are similar to previous-gen Cayman despite the 718 Cayman being more powerful.

“The 2018 Porsche 718 draws plenty of miles—and smiles—from each gallon of fuel.” – Carconnection

Model Porsche 718 Cayman Jaguar F-type Coupe BMW M2 Coupe Audi TT RS
MPG (City) 21 23 18 19
MPG (Highway) 28 30 26 29
MPG (Combined) 24 26 21 22

That’s achieved with a combination of turbocharging, two fewer cylinders and improved engineering. Another trick aiding the fuel economy is the Porsche PDK Virtual Gears. When the optimum engine speed is between the possible gear ratios, the PDK engages both gears and slips the twin clutches effectively forming a new gear ratio in between the two ratios – yes, a bit confusing!

2018 Porsche 718 Cayman Interior

7.2/10

If you need an assembly hall-like interior and plenty of luxury gizmos, there are plenty of SUVs at this price. The interior of the 718 Cayman readies you for one thing – pure Porsche driving experience. That said, the Cayman is actually comfortable for two and the bubble-like cockpit wraps around you. Controls fall in hand and the instrument cluster is dominated by a single large tachometer – typical Porsche.

The fit, finish and material quality generally match the expectation people have from a Porsche but oddly, some reviewers have noted substandard material quality. Opting for the Sports Chrono Package gets you a dash mounted stop-watch capable of timing the race laps.

“Still, a plethora of hard buttons and a number of cheap plastic pieces prevent the interior from standing out in this class.” – Car and Driver

Seating and Comfort

The Porsche Cayman is available with 2-way adjustable standard sports seats. However, you can opt for the 18-way adjustable Adaptive sports seats plus. These seats ensure anybody can find the perfect driving position. However, what’s not very likable is that the basic amenities like the dual-zone automatic clime control is optional – in a $55,000 car!

Model Porsche 718 Cayman Jaguar F-type Coupe BMW M2 Coupe Audi TT RS
Passenger capacity 2 2 4 4
Passenger Volume(ft cube) 84.0 N/A 89.7 N/A
Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg)

(In.)

38.3/51.5/41.6 36.8/56.5/42.8 40.1/54.4/41.5 37.1/53.6/41.1
Rear (Head/Shoulder/Leg)

(In.)

N/A N/A 36.5/53.4/33 33.8/47.9/28.9

Cargo Capacity

Unlike front engine sports cars like the Jaguar F-type, you have to compromise with luggage capacity in this mid engine Porsche. The trunk is split – a 9.6 cubic-feet trunk is located behind the midship engine and a 5.6 cubic feet “frunk” is accessible by opening the front hood. These are still enough for a two-person get-away – if they pack light.

Model Porsche 718 Cayman Jaguar F-type Coupe BMW M2 Coupe Audi TT RS
Volume (ft cube) 9.7 14.4 13.8 12.0

Infotainment System

The Porsche Cayman has a simple and straightforward infotainment system and the available physical controls ensure the infotainment can be operated even while driving. However, Porsche is miser even with the infotainment and you have to shell out extra cash to get the Apple CarPlay capability.

And the Android Auto is outright unavailable because Porsche apparently is not convinced with the privacy policy of the google. Since the aural delight of the naturally aspirated Flat-6 is gone, you can option a Bose audio system ($990) or the high-end Burmester audio system ($4,690) to keep your ears pleased.

2018 Porsche 718 Cayman Exterior

8.9/10

The new 718 Cayman exterior design is evolutionary rather than revolutionary – in typical Porsche fashion. That’s fine by us as it’s one of the cleanest and most classic looking sports car currently available devoid of the busy layered surfaces, aggressive headlights, gaping grille and weird exhaust design that has become a trend lately in high-performance two-seaters.

“A comprehensive but focused restyle leaves the new 718 Cayman more closely resembling its soft-top 718 Boxster sibling, which received a similar remake for 2017.” – Kelley Blue Book

It exudes typical Cayman proportions with an elongated tail section necessitated by the mid-engine rear wheel drive chassis. The most noticeable change in the Porsche 718 is the inclusion of brands signature four-point LED headlight and LED taillight strip. If you desire a darker look, check out the new 2018 Porsche Cayman GTS that’s available with dark headlamps, tail lamps and plenty of other dark highlights.

Dimension and Weight

The Porsche 718 Cayman is the lightest and lowest sports car here with a curb weight of 2944 pounds – that’s over 300 pounds lighter than the next lightest competitor. This combined with the shortest wheelbase among the competitors helps explain the 718 Caymans unparalleled agility. The low overall height and wide track also lend this mid-engine Porsche that classic sports car stance.

Model Porsche 718 Cayman Jaguar F-type Coupe BMW M2 Coupe Audi TT RS
Curb weight(lbs) 2944 3360 3505 3306
Length(in) 172.4 176 176.2 165.0
Width(in) 70.9 74.2 73.0 72.1
Height(in) 51.0 51.6 55.5 52.9
Ground clearance(in) 4.3 3.9 4.8 4.3
Wheelbase(in) 97.4 103.6 106.0 98.6
Track width(in) F/R 59.6/60.3 63.0/65.0 62.2/63.0 61.6/60.8

2018 Porsche 718 Cayman Safety

Sports cars like the 2018 Porsche 718 Cayman have low production volumes and owing to that, neither NHTSA nor IIHS has crash tested it yet. Porsche does not offer advanced active safety features like blind-spot monitoring and active lane control but you do get a standard rear-view camera. Apart from this, Porsche sports cars are known to be extremely reliable.

Safety Features:

  • Driver and front passenger advanced airbags, knee airbags and front head/thorax side airbags
  • Front passenger occupant detection for airbags
  • Power central locking system with safety unlock feature if airbags deploy
  • Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and brake assist
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with secondary collision brake assist and traction control (ASR)
  • Anti-theft alarm system
  • Tire-pressure monitoring system
  • Safety belt reminder for driver and front passenger
  • Lower anchors for child seats in rear seats
  • Electromechanical parking brake

2018 Porsche 718 Cayman Competition

The 2018 Porsche 718 Cayman is one of the purest sports car currently available. However, its rivals include the acclaimed Jaguar F-type and the BMW M2. The Audi TT RS also makes a great AWD alternative so it’s worth considering the options. Also, if you want to experience the wind-in-your-hair motoring, check out the similar Porsche 718 Boxter.

Porsche 911 Cayman vs Jaguar F-Type

The Jaguar F-Type has marked the return of the Jaguar to the elite group occupied by legends like 911. While the Porsche Cayman is tactile, the F-Type brings British aura and glamorous curves. Its base 340 hp supercharged V6 is a serious challenger to the Cayman while the V8 models get into the 911 territory.

Porsche 911 Cayman vs BMW M2

The BMW M2 has brought back the memories of the iconic E36 M3 with its 365 hp straight-6 engine and a finely tuned manual transmission. It’s regarded as the purest BMW performance car currently available and a decently equipped BMW M2 costs thousands less than a decently equipped Porsche Cayman. If you are looking for a front engine rear wheel drive alternative to Cayman, this is it.

Porsche 911 Cayman vs Audi TT RS

The 400 hp Audi TT RS competes with the Cayman GTS in terms of price and performance. It’s more powerful, quicker to 60 mph and offers the confidence of Quattro AWD with the refinement of Audi. However, the Audi TT is nowhere near as much satisfying to drive as the Cayman. If you want an AWD alternative to the lower priced Caymans, check out the Audi TTS.

2018 Porsche 718 Cayman Final Verdict

The 718 Cayman is now the most affordable in the Porsche showroom and that may make you doubt its credentials. However, this baby Porsche will leave you utterly satisfied behind the wheel and you will be hard-pressed to find an alternative at this price, or twice the price, or any price for that matter. In fact, many consider the Cayman as the best driving sports car around irrespective of budget.

While it may not have the fancy inboard suspension and expensive carbon tub of some exotic, this mid-engine Porsche possesses one of the most exquisitely balanced chassis around. Every single control that matters when driving – the steering, the gas pedal, the brake pedal and the shifter-clutch duo in manual Cayman is fine-tuned to near perfection.

The lack of power in the earlier Cayman has also been addressed with turbocharging. Unfortunately, the said Turbo Flat-4 engine does not sound as euphorically rev-happy as the old naturally aspirated Flat-6. But frankly, that’s ignorable. If you want the ultimate driver’s car currently available – go ahead, get one and try controlling the smile while assaulting the mountain roads in this little machine.