Porsche 718 Cayman: Welcome to the age of the turbo

Avto 7 August, 2017
  • Photo courtesy porsche
    For 2017, the coupe’s compact Porsche is getting a makeover and adopts turbocharging. His name also becomes : 718 Cayman.

    Jacques Welcome

    Sunday, August 6, 2017 19:36

    Sunday, August 6, 2017 19:36

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    A sports car can offer both a driving heady and a comfortable interior, and even practical at times. The Porsche Cayman, a coupe two-seater rear opening, demonstrates this eloquently.

    There are a couple of years, launching the Boxster, a roadster more affordable than the 911, Porsche began a revival of radical designed to ensure its survival. The strategy adopted relied on, among others, a diversification of its range of products which, today, is no longer limited to only cars sport two-seaters, since it also includes sedans, prestige, and utilities. These have very largely contributed to the success of this strategy, which grew sales in a significant way : 21 124 vehicles sold across the planet in 1995, 237 778 vehicles were sold by Porsche in the last year. And this growth does not seem ready to stop.

    An actor, albeit low-key, this recovery has been the coupe Cayman, a variant of the Boxster, which made its debut at the end of 2005. It is a car as elegant as the original, with a body the hatchback, like the Audi TT, a rival; an attribute which gives it a practical side, despite its compact dimensions and a vocation undeniably sporty. The motorists of my generation, who have had the chance to drive a MGB GT or a Toyota Corolla SR-5 Liftback during the 1960s and 1970s, will know what I mean.

    However, compared to these models of yore, the Cayman, which is a facelift in 2017, is located in a higher class by the performance of which it is capable, the high quality of its construction and… its high price.

    Photo courtesy porsche

    The interior is distinguished by a smooth finish, an ergonomic layout and the seats remarkably comfortable.

    Also, for the first time in the history of the duo Boxster/Cayman, the base price of the coupe is lower than that of the roadster, in accordance with the practice applied to the range 911. Thus, the base prices of the two versions of the Boxster 2017 (base and S) are about $ 2,400 higher than those of the same versions of the new Cayman.

    Also new for 2017 : as the Boxster, the little coupe Porsche adopts a second name : 718, figure, it is reminiscent of old models of race that emerged in the late 1950s. Of the ancestors who, like the two 718 modern, had four-cylinder engines with flat (or ” boxer “).

    Engines supercharged

    In fact, the Cayman say goodbye to six-cylinder engines in the atmosphere which inspired them from their beginnings – and we liked both. They come in the era of turbocharging. The entry-level version now features a four-cylinder turbo 2.0 L that sends 300 hp to the rear wheels, while the Cayman S, which we tested, has a turbo engine of 2.5 L that delivers 350 hp. Each engine produces 25 hp more than the six-cylinder it replaces (and for which the displacements were, respectively, 2.7 and 3.4 L). In addition, in each case, the driver has a greater torque in the bar at 2000 rpm. This means more punch when starting or more times supported to negotiate the finer turns. These gains amounted to 66 lb-ft for the 2.0 L engine and 36 lb-ft for the 2.5 L.

    These engines can be combined, at the option of the purchaser, a manual gearbox with six reports, which are superbly staged and pleasant to handle, or to an automatic transmission PDK (Porsche DoppelKuplungsgetriebe “, dual-clutch transmission in German) to seven reports. In addition to its manual mode, the PDK (an option worth 3600 $) offers the driver three modes of power management : Normal, Sport and Sport plus, the latter two being focused on the optimization of the performance, and even driving on the track.

    Photo courtesy porsche

    As the coupe Audi TT, the Porsche 718 Cayman has a body hatchback, which makes its trunk in practice. But it also has a second safety deposit box at the front !

    With PDK and the Sport package chrono (another option worth there, 2980 $), the cut 718 Cayman can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 4,7 s, which is 0.7 s faster than its predecessor. As for the coupe, Cayman S, it does the same in 4.2 s, half a second faster than before. It also has top speeds of respective of 275 km/h and 285 km/h; performance undoubtedly more important to the regular customer of Autobahn connecting Stuttgart to Munich for the motorist who travels highway 20 to join Montreal and Québec city…

    These engines, which do not have the sonority of the six-cylinders they replace (especially at high rpm, let’s face it), do not bring curiously no gain in terms of consumption, at least if one relies on figures published by natural Resources Canada. Most of their consumption ratings are even marginally higher. In the case of the Cayman S PDK, for example, the average score goes from 9.8 to 9.9 L/100 km, an increase which interfere without doubt not the buyer of this car.

    Silhouette known that scales well

    The pretty silhouette reminiscent of a 911 seems unchanged cache an in-depth overhaul, because only the hood of the trunk before, the roof and windshield remain unchanged. Looking more closely, we notice new elements of style which mark the change, such as, for example, the before more sculptural, with its cooling air intakes larger, and these new rear light clusters in clear glass, with fire-stops at four points.

    The interior finish is neat, as always, and the bucket seats, very enveloping, provide the retention desired in the traffic of the rush hour or during a long journey. For these seats, the manufacturer offers, and for the first time, a lining-leather/fabric Sport-Tex bill proposed in various combinations in bi-color. An attribute that allows you to customize this small sports car in which one feels so well; a car that we love for its road handling is surprisingly balanced and predictable.

    The trouble with this Porsche (as with the other models of the brand elsewhere), is that adding optional equipment, its price is literally exploding. It is sufficient, for example, to equip a Cayman S PDK, sport suspension, PASM (lowers the ground clearance by 20 mm and, at the same time, the center of gravity to improve performance), ceramic brakes and the Sport package chrono to see the price go from 76 $ 800 to $ 91 to $ 250… before tax !

    But we can push the thing more and more because the catalogue of options of Porsche’s chock-full of accessories and ensembles with which the price of a 718 Cayman S could exceed 145 000 $ ! Yes, customization can go a long way.


    Why 718 ?

    In December 2015, Porsche announced an unexpected change : the addition of the numeral 718 to the designation of the Cayman and the Boxster. These two models, which we now call 718 Cayman and 718 Boxster, will make a trip back in time to their buyers, a figure reminiscent of the race cars (roadsters, coupes and cars) manufactured between 1957 and 1962. A tribute to those small racing cars of the past, victorious in many prestigious events until the mid-1960s. Among the successes achieved in the race, the most famous remains without doubt the first places won by the Porsche 718 RS Spyder in their class at the 24 Hours of le Mans (1958, 1960 and 1961), but also the victories of 718 RS 60 and a 718 GTR Coupé to the Targa Florio in Italy (1959, 1960 and 1963). A RS 60 has also won the 12 Hours of Sebring in Florida (1960). Like the 718 contemporary, these ancestors were powered by four-cylinder ” boxer “, but atmospheric. These engines of low cubic capacity (1.5 L to 2.0 L) housed in a central position grew from 141 to 240 hp, depending on the model. But given their sports vocation, these small cars do not offer neither the comfort nor the luxury of their descendants today !


    Porsche 718 Cayman

    Base price (2016)

    62 700 $ (Cayman); 76 For $ 800 (Cayman S).

    Transport and preparation

    1250 $


    (Cayman) L4 turbo DOHC 2.0 L, 300 hp at 6500 rpm, 280 lb-ft at 1950-4500 tr/min; (Cayman S) L4 turbo DOHC 2.5 L, 350 hp at 6500 rpm and 309 lb-ft at 1900-4500 tr/min. Gearbox 6-speed manual or 7-speed automatic and dual-clutch transmission. Rear-wheel drive.


    Four-wheel independent Suspension. Disc brakes to all four wheels. Anti-lock braking system series. Tires : (Cayman) 235/45ZR18 front and 265/45ZR18 in the rear. (Cayman S) 235/40ZR19 in the front and 265/40ZR19 in the rear.


    Wheelbase : 2475 mm; length : 4379 mm; width : 1801 mm; height : 1295 mm. Weight : 1355-1385 kg. Tank capacity : 64 litres. Volume chests : 150 W (front), 275 L (rear). Average consumption (manufacturer; PVA) : 9.9 L/100 km.


    • Alfa Romeo 4C
    • Audi TT
    • Jaguar F-Type
    • Lexus RC F
    • Mercedes-Benz SLC
    • Nissan 370Z


    • On the road impressive
    • Careful Construction
    • Aesthetic successful

    Weak Points

    • Its 4-cylinder uninspiring
    • Inflated price by the cost of options