The 2018 Porsche 718 Cayman may be the entry-level sports car for the brand, but that doesn't mean it isn't good. In fact, the 718 Cayman is probably one of the best sports cars you can buy, regardless of price tag. Sure, the Cayman isn't as fast in a straight line as the more expensive Porsche 911, but it makes up for the deficit with poise and balance. For 2018, Porsche gives us the Cayman GTS, a more focused sporty trim level that increases the power while offering some of the pricey performance options as standard.

Best Value

Like all Porsches, you can double the price by going crazy with the options, but if you keep your goal focused, you can get a lot of value out of a 718 Cayman for a relatively low price. Our philosophy is that the Cayman is first and foremost a sports car, and a sports car is for exploiting the joy of driving. Following that philosophy, upgrading to the Cayman S is worthwhile for the extra 50 horsepower. Additionally, we'll stick with the six-speed manual transmission. The automatic is incredibly good, and faster, but we like the way the manual makes us feel connected with the car.

While many of the performance options are tempting, they're incredibly pricey and the Cayman is already very good at what it does. The only package we'd go with is the Premium Package that's coupled with 14-way power sport seats for some niceties that make it feel like we've spent over $70,000 on a car. Overall, we may not be coddled in luxury, but we will be happy.

  • Model: 2018 Porsche 718 Cayman S
  • Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged flat-four
  • Output: 350 hp / 309 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual
  • Drivetrain: Rear-wheel drive
  • Fuel Economy: 20 City / 26 Hwy
  • Options: Premium Package ($1,370, adaptive Bi-Xenon headlights, dual-zone climate control, heated seats, auto-dimming mirrors), 14-way power sport seats with memory ($2,330)
  • Base Price: $70,350 (including a $1,050 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price: $74,050

Performance

Porsche 718 Cayman

The 718 Cayman is a fantastic sports car, especially with the move to a turbocharged four-cylinder engine from the naturally-aspirated flat-six. The base Cayman gets 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque out of the 2.0-liter turbo flat-four, allowing it to hit 60 mph in 4.9 seconds. The Cayman S gets a bigger 2.5-liter turbocharged flat-four with 350 hp and 309 lb-ft of torque, while the GTS turns that power up to 365 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque, giving the GTS the ability to sprint to 60 mph in less than four seconds. The Cayman gets the option of two transmissions, including a six-speed manual and the PDK dual-clutch automatic. The PDK dual-clutch transmission is probably the best automatic transmission in the world; shifts happen in a handful of milliseconds, and if we're being completely honest, it's probably smarter and faster than you are. That being said, the six-speed manual is about as good as a manual transmission gets.

The base suspension is fantastically set up, and the mid-engine configuration of the car allows it to be incredibly well balanced in the corners, and many would say that it's even better than the more expensive 911 Carrera. Performance upgrades are available to take the Cayman to the next level, but if you're looking to click all of the boxes, just get the GTS. It gets almost every performance option outside of the sport suspension and the carbon brakes.

Style

Porsche has long been said to have the laziest designers in the world, but we think that if it isn't broke, don't fix it. The Cayman is a great design that clearly declares itself as a Porsche to even those who don't know anything about cars while still separating itself from the 911 Carrera. Inside, the Cayman is more on the functional side (unless you decide to spend thousands decking it out in leather or other fine dressings) but even the most basic Caymans are filled with high quality materials.

The Cayman can be outfitted with many options, but most will cost you an arm and a leg. Nearly everything you'd want is an option, so you have to be smart about what you choose. That being said, the Cayman comes with basic seats that are still very comfortable, and the standard features will do the trick. However, if you want to make it super luxurious, the Porsche option sheet is your oyster. There's very little you can't add to your Cayman, unless it's a rear seat.

The Best and Worst Things

The best thing about the Cayman is the way it handles. The engine in the middle combined with the fantastic suspension set ups make it utterly sublime in the corners. It's honestly about as close as it gets to sports car perfection, and, from where we stand, there's little that Porsche could do to make it better.

On the other hand, like many Porsches, the fact that every single option requires you to pony up the cash is a bit annoying. Basic Caymans can feel a little de-contented compared to other cars that cost a similar amount of money, even if the money is well spent on the performance capabilities that lie beneath. It also forces you to probably confront the fact that you can't get everything you want, because it'll probably end up doubling the price of the Cayman.

Right For? Wrong For?

Porsche 718 Cayman

The Cayman is probably the best two door sports coupe you can buy, and it's refined enough that you can drive it every day. This makes it pretty much perfect for a daily-driver sports car, although you won't be able to carry more than one other human being. Furthermore, while the Cayman is indeed a luxury sports car, Porsches manage to blend into the populace much better than other high end options.

However, if you're just looking to get behind the wheel of a Porsche to show off, the Cayman isn't the Porsche to do it in. Almost everyone knows the Cayman is the cheapest Porsche sports car and therefore almost everyone will assume you're only driving it because you couldn't afford a 911 Carrera, even if the Cayman is incredible. If that's important to you, then you may want to start saving.

The Bottom Line

The 2018 Porsche 718 Cayman is a fantastic sports car, and is an absolute joy to drive. It sets the benchmark for how cars are supposed to drive under $100,000, and we wouldn't hesitate to recommend it. That being said, the options are extensive and expensive, and, while you can make your Cayman look pretty much any way you want (and Porsche would happily oblige), you can easily double the cost of the car. Keep it simple though, and you'll have a permanent smile on your face as long as you're behind the wheel.