The newly-faster Cayman GTS could finally convince doubters that a proper Porsche only needs four cylinders
The basic idea behind Porsche’s GTS spec is that it ticks most of the options most buyers would be ticking anyway, then it adds new wheels and detailing, boosts the power a bit, and at the end of all that lowers the price to less than it would have been if you’d added the options yourself.
Small wonder that GTS models tend to be rather successful from a sales perspective. In this turbocharged Cayman, a new turbo and intake system lifts power by 15bhp to 361bhp and torque to 317lb ft. GTS-standard bits that would be cost extras on the S model include Porsche’s Sport Chrono Package, a mechanical limited-slip differential and Porsche’s PASM adaptive damping system.
The GTS also gets 20-inch wheels, a sports exhaust, some exterior black trim bits, and loads of interior Alcantara inside.
Porsche 718 Cayman GTS
Engine: 2.5-litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged petrol
Torque: 317lb ft
Gearbox: 6-spd manual
Top speed: 180mph
Fuel economy: 31.4mpg
CO2/BIK: 205g/km, 36%
All good so far, but how’s the drive? Does this new Cayman represent a big leap over a standard 718 Cayman, doing away with the need for a new GT4? Is it the best mid-engined sports car ever?
The answer to both those questions is no, but over four laps of the Ascari Resort track, it’s pretty damn good.
It’s easy to get carried away by the ability of these twiddled Porsches. We weren’t able to carry out a back-to-back comparison with a regular 718 S, but we can look at the good – and the not so good – aspects of the 718 Cayman GTS.
For a start, it’s quick. The power gain isn’t that spectacular, but the torque boost makes this turbocharged 718 seem very punchy. The flattering effect of the new, hard pull from as little as 2000rpm probably stands out even more than normal because everything else about this car is classic Cayman. The new GTS is responsive, willing to run past 7000rpm and up for satisfying everyone bar the speediest of speed freaks.
Even better than the performance is the handling. The mid-engined format has produced some of motoring’s true greats and this is one of them. Viceless and immensely satisfying, the GTS combines agility, precision and directness in a low-risk package that won’t spike you if you make a mistake. You can make deliberate errors, like lifting or braking in mid-corner, and the Porsche will just grin and carry on in a most unthreatening way.
Concentrate on getting it right and the rewards are rich indeed, putting otherwise fine rivals like the BMW M2, Audi TT RS and Jaguar F-Type in the shade. The damping of the suspension and overall balance are exemplary.
There must be something that’s less than perfect, and to be blunt there is: the noise. The changes wrought to create the GTS sports exhaust have amped up the droney, less desirable part of the boxer engine’s beat drone, making it louder and not a little annoying. In earlier six-cylinder Caymen the sports exhaust button was always pressed. In this one you’d never bother, which seems a pity on a 180mph sports car.
For us, the GTS doesn’t feel so different to any S we’ve tested because all the S examples we’ve tried have had all the good dynamic options fitted. When you realise that the cost of those extras is more than covered by the price hike from S to GTS, before you’ve even thought about the power and styling upgrades you’re getting ‘for free’, the GTS seems like excellent value.
There really isn’t much you’d want to add to the GTS spec, other than a set of earplugs maybe. As it stands, it’s arguably the best handling sports car you can get under £100,000. And it’s a good way under too.