Published on August 22nd, 2016 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Will the Cayman 718 S Make The 911 Obsolete? We test drive it in Sweden
Yes, it might sound totally silly right now, but let us explain how this brand new 4th generation Cayman S has moved its game so far forward that it almost closest the gap between itself and the basic Porsche 911.
We flew to Sweden to a small but very entertaining race circuit called ‘Sturup’ in the city of Maleo in Sweden. This coastal city was woken up as the dozens of Cayman 718 cars made their way from the city centre to the race circuit and back.
First let us explain the new name for the Cayman. Porsche planners have decided to call the Cayman and also its sibling the Boxster, the ‘718’.
Porsche product planner have had to look at the changing government regulations around the world asking for even lower emissions, better fuel consumption and the changing tastes with future Porsche buyers (young drivers from ages 21-years old with money coming from rich parents or from online gaming). This means downsizing with all models, including the iconic 911.
So this means the all-new 718 series of Porsche sports cars get new smaller capacity turbocharged engines mated to next generation PDK 8-speed gearboxes ready to deliver even better performance than the previous larger engines. Smaller engines also mean lighter cars and this relates to better performance.
We, however had our reservations on this even though we were quite impressed some 20 years ago when the first-generation Boxster (code named the 986) was introduced in late 1996; it was powered by a 2.5-litre flat 6-cylinder engine that pushed out a decent 204bhp at 6000rpm and a maximum torque of 240Nm of torque at 5000rpm. It weighed just 1252kg and could reach a top speed of 245km/h with no traffic police in sight.
In both optical and technical terms the 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman are moving closer together. The completely retuned chassis, more powerful brakes and not least the emotive tone ensure agility and even more driving fun. The modified design and the enhanced interior round off the new appearance. With the changeover in generation, the Coupé is now priced below the Roadster, similar to the 911 models.
Drive system for the 718 Cayman comes from a 2-litre, 4-cylinder flat engine with turbocharging, output is 300hp. With the 718 Cayman ‘S’ you get a bigger engine, a 2.5-litre, 4-cylinder flat engine with VTG (variable turbine geometry) turbocharger good for 350hp. This corresponds to 25hp more than the previous figure. You also get up to 90Nm more torque even at below 2,000 rpm. More power right from the start, more output for cornering fun.
With the 2 new turbo engines, the coupés accelerate in record time and, thanks to Dynamic Boost, react as spontaneously as naturally aspirated engines. The 718 Cayman with PDK gearbox and Sport Chrono Package sprints from zero to 100km/h in 4.7 seconds (0.7 s faster), the 718 Cayman S in 4.2 seconds (0.5 s faster). Maximum speeds are 275km/h and 285km/h. A new feature is the Sport Mode of the PSM with extended limits for especially sporty drivers.
Thanks to Porsche turbocharging and reduced displacements, the four-cylinder engine with PDK gearbox in the 718 Cayman uses 6.9 l/100 km in the NEDC. In the 718 Cayman S, the flat engine with PDK consumes just 7.3 l/100 km.
The Chassis is completely retuned for even more dynamic cornering with enhanced comfort. Reinforced brakes and multi-collision braking system as standard. Optional PASM chassis with a 10-millimetre lower ride height, and for the very first time in the 718 Cayman S a PASM sport suspension with 20-millimetre lower ride height as an option.
Changes on the exterior can be seen immediately. Only the luggage compartment lid, roof and windscreen have been left unchanged. The front end exhibits a more sculptural form with significantly larger cooling air inlets. Accent strip with three-dimensional Porsche lettering on the rear. New clear glass tail lights with four-point brake lights.
Inside the cabin you get a more 911ish look and feel with Sport-Tex leather upholstery available with the 718 models for the first time. New standard equipment of Porsche Communication Management (PCM) with mobile phone preparation, audio interfaces and the Sound Package Plus with 150 watts of audio power is also included. Upgradable by modules for navigation, infotainment and connectivity.
The test drive review
Well, even before we started our drive we were a little less excited at the thought of driving a Porsche with a 4-cylinder, 2-liter engine. Was it going to be just a sporty VW Scirocco R perhaps? We started the engine and a slight growl could be heard. We were informed that this growl as indeed the real Boxer engine note and with a press of a button on the centre dashboard a fiercer engine note could be provoked from the engine. Then next was the drive.
We started our drive in the center of the city of Maleo with light traffic and creeping city speeds. It was comfortable, easy, no issue, quiet growling from 2nd to 3rd gears and back as we moved from traffic light to traffic light. Then we left the city and the open highway was in front of us. We opened up the 4-cylinder Boxer 2-liter engine and let the turbocharger work its ‘magic’ to show us its capable 300bhp in this 1330kg Porsche.
Unlike a VW group 2-liter engine, this Boxer was singing across the revolution range. Yes, yes, yes, the 300bhp could be felt with vigour as this lightweight sports car worked with us on the open road. It delivered an almost elastic maximum power and its torque spread was available from low engine speeds.
Driving along the country roads we could hardly feel the rapid fire precision upshifts and downshifts from the new 8-speed PDK which were equally engaging in manual mode. The all new suspension setup also provides an extra sense of reassurance and handled the conditions confidently. With minimal body roll and direct steering, the chassis felt beautifully balanced, allowing you to guide this Cayman with pinpoint accuracy through the tight, curvy tarmac.
Simply put, the new Cayman 718 builds on the design cues of the original, boasts some high-tech innovations and is more fun to drive than ever before even with a 2-liter turbo fed Boxer engine.
Porsche Cayman 718 2.0T Specifications
Engine: Boxer 4-cylinder turbo
Gearbox: 8-speed PDK
Max power: 300bhp @ rpm
Max torque: 380Nm @ 1950-4500rpm
Top Speed: 275km/h
0-100 km/h: 4.7 secs
Porsche Cayman 718 2.5T Specifications
Engine: Boxer 4-cylinder turbo
Gearbox: 8-speed PDK
Max power: 350bhp @ rpm
Max torque: 420Nm @ 1900-4500rpm
Top Speed: 285km/h
0-100 km/h: 4.2 secs