Porsche
718 Cayman
2019
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Anthony Sophinos
Automotive Editor - January 24, 2019

2019 Porsche 718 Cayman OVERVIEW

The Porsche 911 might have all the name recognition, but don't let that kid you into discounting the entry-level 718 Cayman. With two seats, a smaller shadow, and less weight, the 2019 Porsche 718 Cayman offers a full helping of the revered driving experience the brand's known for. Indeed, some might consider the tidier-sized Cayman to be more of a pure drivers car than its bigger brother. But whether it's viewed in the light of the 911 or no, the Cayman is sure to delight.

What's New for 2019

The 718 Cayman family grows by two this year with the addition of the Cayman T and the GT4 Clubsport. The T (for Touring) is similar in concept to the 911 T, in that it comes standard with all the normally-optional performance goodies but leaves aside any extra luxury touches. In the world of Porsche, the T is also a bit of a bargain, with the marque promising it'll ring up five to 10 percent cheaper than a comparably-equipped base Cayman. The GT4 Clubsport is another beast entirely. Built for both amateur and professional racers, the 425-horsepower GT4 boasts a suspension and braking system from the 911 GT3 R racer and a full safety cage, racing bucket seat, and six-point harness. It's not road legal but can be serviced at any Porsche dealer.

Choosing Your Porsche 718 Cayman

Porsche is notorious for offering their cars à la carte, but the 718 is thankfully much less of a multi-model smorgasbord than the 911. Four trim levels (not counting the specialized GT4) anchor the lineup, all of which sport a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

The regular model and the T both make 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque; the S pushes 350 horses and 309 lb-ft of torque. The extra power of the hot-rodded S allows it do zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds with the manual transmission, which is a half-second quicker than the regular stick-shift Cayman. When equipped with the seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission, that same run can be as quick as four seconds flat for the S or 4.5 seconds for the non-S.

The GTS uses the same 2.5-liter flat four, and compared to the S, it offers 15 extra horsepower and no additional torque. On first blush, it might seem rather odd that the power differential between the S and the GTS is so minute. But the GTS isn't as much about outright speed as it is about providing the most thoroughly balanced and performance-attuned driving experience within the lineup. It accomplishes this in the same manner as the philosophically-similar T: bundling all the worthwhile performance pieces at a price cheaper than if one were to similarly option up an S. Look at the GTS through this lens and suddenly those measly 15 extra horsepower seem less like a disappointment and more like a cherry on top.

As with the 911, Cayman options run amok. Space constraints keep us from listing out every available option; otherwise, there'd be multiple paragraphs denoting prices for tchotchkes like leather-covered key fobs and embroidered headrests.

Also note the 718 Boxster is available. It's identical to the Cayman in every way save the fact that it is a convertible; indeed, it's best thought of as the convertible variant to the hardtop Cayman. A separate article will cover the Boxster's pricing and specifications.

Base

The cheapest way into a 718 is the $58,150 (all prices include the $1,250 destination charge) base model, simply titled 718 Cayman. Along with the T, the standard Cayman uses the 300-horse version of the 2.5-liter engine. Standard mechanical features include a six-speed manual transmission, start/stop functionality, 18-inch wheels, four-piston brake calipers paired with slotted and drilled rotors, an automatically extending rear spoiler, and a sport mode.

The cabin reflects the Porsche maxim of purity and essence. Don't spend a dime on extras and you'll get manually-adjusting seats, a manually-adjustable tilt and telescope steering wheel, a leather-wrapped gearshift, steering wheel, and door pulls, eight-speaker audio, Bluetooth, two USB and SD card slots, audible park assist, and side mirrors that are electrically adjustable and heated.

More luxury is available to those willing to shell out the dough for it. Leather sport seats are $810, while 18-way power seats with memory are $3,830. A $1,370 Premium Package comes with Bi-Xenon headlights, automatically dimming mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, and heated 14-way power seats. There is a Plus version of this package that costs $3,180 and also comes with dynamic lighting, seats offering memory and cooling functions, remote entry and start, and ambient LED lighting.

On the performance end of things the Sport Chrono Package is the choice for those looking for generally heightened performance. For $2,090, the Sport Chrono includes an analog and digital chronograph for timing laps, multiple drive modes with a steering wheel switch to toggle between them, an additional Sport setting for the stability control that dials back the intervention point, launch control for PDK-equipped cars, and a rev-match function for manual-equipped models.

Other performance options include the $2,210 dual-clutch PDK automatic transmission, the $1,790 Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), and a $1,320 mechanically-locking differential with torque vectoring. Safety options include $1,670 adaptive cruise control, $700 lane change assist, and $800 remote entry and start functionality

T

New for 2019 is the Cayman T. Due to late availability the exact pricing is still unknown, though from what Porsche has alluded to a figure somewhere in the low-60k range wouldn't be all too surprising. What's not a mystery is the list of included performance bits. All will be built with the PASM suspension that lowers the car 20 millimeters, an electronically-controlled limited-slip differential with torque vectoring, shorter gearing, and the Sport Chrono Package. To drive home the point of the T, Porsche leaves out the infotainment system, with nothing but a large black cubby in its place. If this sounds too extreme, it's a no-charge option to add it back. Rounding out the T are 20-inch wheels, grey mirror caps, trim-specific embroidery, and a sport exhaust.

Because details are still scant, the full extent of optional equipment that'll be available remains a mystery. Considering that the 911 T offers the full gamut of Porsche options, it's a fair guess to say the same will be the case with the Cayman T

S

Those thirsty for power will find plenty of it in the 350-horsepower Cayman S. The $70,550 starting price represents a $12,400 premium over the base model; consider that amount the tax for netting 50 extra factory horsepower. In fact, the only non-performance difference between an S and non-S is the 19-inch wheels included on the S. As such, all options and packages remain the same as what's available on the base car.

GTS

The GTS is the cream of the Cayman crop. Priced at $81,950, the GTS pairs the best performance features in the Porsche catalog with a 365-horsepower version of the 718's 2.5-liter engine. The list of standard goodies reads almost identical to that of the T: Sport Chrono, torque-vectoring rear differential, sport exhaust, 20-inch wheels, the PASM suspension with a 10 millimeter reduction in ride height. Other than an interior upholstered in Alcantara, comfort and convenience features and available options remain unchanged from lesser Caymans.

CarsDirect Tip

We'd look to the upcoming T as our choice of the 2019 Porsche 718 Cayman litter. Despite using the most tepid version of the 2.5-liter engine, the raft of performance features as well as the shorter gearing promise to make this variant the most thrilling of the bunch for hustling along a winding back road. As for the dizzying array of options, we'd keep it simple by getting the Premium Package and nothing more.

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