Back in the 1990s, Porsche was very cash-strapped. They were nearing bankruptcy, resorting to contractually building cars for other automakers. Namely, the Mercedes-Benz 500E and the Audi RS2 Avant. After building those two cars, the Stuttgart-based performance automaker was able to secure a decent amount of funding, which allowed them to put together an all-new strategy that would hopefully get them out of the pickle they were in. The strategy involved two models: one of them was a luxury SUV, which became the massively successful Cayenne, and the other was an entry-level mid-engine sports car, which became the Boxster.
With the second-generation Boxster, Porsche decided to add a coupe model to the range. It was called the Cayman, and aside from the fixed roof, it was just as good as the famous Boxster. The Cayman is currently in its third generation, and even though it adopted the “718” moniker and received a four-cylinder engine, there’s still plenty to like about it.
2021 Porsche Cayman Overview
The Porsche 718 Cayman is a two-door, two-seat compact sports car that’s designed as the entry point to Porsche sports car ownership. While there used to be a stereotype that only people who couldn’t afford the 911 went for the Cayman or Boxster, that simply isn’t true; the Cayman has a personality of its own. Currently, there aren’t that many cars that directly compete with the 718 Cayman, but some of them include the Toyota GR Supra, the new Nissan Z, and the Ford Mustang.
The exterior looks very similar to the pre-718 model, but there are different headlights and taillights, as well as a newer infotainment system and some different alloy wheel designs, and of course, the four-cylinder engine dominating the range. Leaving aside the hardcore 718 Cayman GT4, there are four different flavors available for the 718 Cayman: the base Cayman, the S, the T, and the GTS 4.0.
2021 Cayman Powertrains And Drivetrains
This is where the Cayman range starts to get complicated. Get a pen and paper to write this down if you need to. The range kicks off with the base Cayman, which uses a 2.0-liter turbocharged flat-four with 300 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. A 0-60 time happens in 5.1 seconds, with a top speed of 170 mph. Moving up, there’s the Cayman S, which uses a 2.5-liter flat-four with 350 hp and 309 lb-ft of torque. The 0-60 time on the S models falls to just 4.6 seconds, with a top speed of 177 mph.
After that, there’s the Cayman T. The T has the exact same performance stats as the base Cayman, but it’s lighter and stripped out of unnecessary electronics and weight-adding features. That includes Porsche’s signature fabric loops replacing the door handles on the inside. The T is also exclusively available with the 6-speed manual transmission.
Next up, there’s the GTS 4.0. As the name implies, the GTS 4.0 uses a 4.0-liter naturally aspirated flat-six, with 400 hp and 309 lb-ft of torque. A 0-60 time is done in 4.3 seconds (manual) / 3.8 seconds (PDK), with a top speed of about 180 mph. All 718 Cayman models are RWD, and except for the T, are available with either a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed PDK automatic transmission.
Last but not least, there’s also the GT4 RS, which takes the Porsche 718 Cayman to new supercar-esque heights.
2021 718 Cayman Comfort And Quality
On the inside, the 718 Cayman should look familiar if you’ve spent any time in the 981 and 982 Cayman models. Like all other Porsches, the tachometer is front and center, flanked on either side by a display on the right and the speedometer on the left. There’s also the latest Porsche steering wheel, and even though the infotainment system is pretty small, it runs a more recent software. Partial leather is standard, but full leather is optional should you want it.
The interior quality is top-notch, as expected from a Porsche, and it should prove to be a pretty reliable car in the long-term. Comfort is certainly good for a sports car, but this is no grand-tourer. The only thing we can’t really get behind is how some surprising things are options, especially on the base 718 Cayman.
Cruise control, parking sensors, dual-zone climate control and Apple CarPlay are all options on the base car, even though they’re standard equipment on most family crossovers nowadays. Android Auto is not available at all (yet) on the 2021 model. Strange, but it’s the way Porsche rolls. The 718 Cayman seats two, and boasts a total of 15 cubic feet of cargo space (9.7 in the rear trunk, 5.3 in the frunk).
2021 718 Cayman Pricing
The 2021 718 Cayman is available to order as of September 2021. Prices start at $60,500 for the base Cayman, and go up from there. The Cayman T starts at $69,600, the Cayman S at $72,500, and the Cayman GTS 4.0 at $87,400. With Porsche’s options list, these prices can easily be driven way higher, so that’s just something to keep in mind.
Even though the Cayman isn’t exactly the cheapest sports car on the market, it’s without a doubt one of the best. It still offers a true manual transmission, it has some of the best chassis engineering in the business, it’s plush inside, and it wears that desirable Porsche badge. Even over a decade and a half later, it’s tough to beat the Porsche (718) Cayman.
The MIssion R’s exterior screams racing from its extreme compactness to its aerodynamic design.
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