Porsche 718 Cayman (Price, as tested, £51,255)

The Northern Echo: Porsche Cayman 718

Matt Westcott's test car - the colour might not be to everyone's taste


THE Cayman was a pretty exceptional car to begin with, so has this complete overhaul both on the outside and under the skin improved it still further? The answer has to be a resounding 'yes'.


THERE'S little that has been left untouched in this latest version of Porsche's fleet-footed two seater. Everything save for the boot lid, roof and windscreen is new.

Perhaps the biggest news is the engine.

Gone is the euphoria inspiring flat-six unit in favour of a four-cylinder turbo-charged version of either two litre or 2.5 litre capacity. A retrograde step? No, in fact it's quite the opposite. Faster and more efficient, it's just as excitement inducing as what went before it.

It's loud, probably too loud for some, vocalising just behind the driver's head. While you can't turn the decibels down, thrill-seekers will be pleased to hear you can turn them up by pushing the exhaust icon on the centre console. No need for music in this car, it provides its own symphony.

In terms of what it can do, our 2.0 litre version had 300hp on tap and was capable of nought to 62mph in 5.1 seconds. It will get you to 99mph in 11.3 seconds and tops out at 170mph.

Start her up and the oral pleasures begin. There's a roar, followed by a burble and when you are underway every now and then you get a noise akin to a crack of electricity. It's almost enough to make the school run a pleasurable experience.

You buy a car like this for the ability to thrill on almost every level and the Cayman does not disappoint.

Take the six-speed gearbox, for example. I found any excuse to work my way up and down the box. Sure, it's a test of strength at times, but I love the way it feels, connecting man and machinery - okay, that may be a little over emotional, but sometimes you want to feel part of the process and this car fulfils that desire.

The long gearing means that around town third gear is about all you need. On the open road you get to use the full gamut, but the mid-range is where you will get the most reward as a driver.

On the twists and turns, the steering inspires confidence, no matter how undulating the surface. Talking of surfaces, the Cayman, with its body as low to the ground as the reptile it's named after, is incredibly sure-footed. Always composed, it remains balanced and spirit-level like when you turn in, enabling you to concentrate on the road ahead. Body roll is almost non-existent and the huge tyres provide vice-like grip.


YOU'D expect quality craftsmanship from Porsche, and the Cayman doesn't disappoint. There's no shoddy plastic tat here, everything is expertly machine, built to last and aesthetically pleasing. There are soft-touch materials aplenty, good use of accompanying trim and it's almost all chunky and sturdy in nature. The only thing I couldn't get to grips with was the steering wheel mounted controls for the volume etc which were not very intuitive. It's also ergonomically astute - thought has gone into when to use buttons instead of the touchscreen for example and everything is well within reach of the driver.


APART from the obvious, it's fair to say you don't get a lot above what you might expect, electric windows, alloys, air con etc, so you need to get busy with the options list if you are someone who needs creature comforts.

The GTS comes in at £42,897, but options pushed that up to and beyond £51,000. Starting with the painted 718 logo at £101, there were also Bi-Xenon headlights with Porsche's Dynamic Light System (£615), ParkAssist (£362), Porsche Active Suspension Management (£1,010), Porsche Torque Vectoring (£926), sports exhaust system (£1,592), 64-litre fuel tank (£84), 20-ins Carrera Classic wheels (£2,273), wheel centres with full colour Porsche crest (£114), cruise control (£228), speed limit display (£236), heated multi-function steering wheel (£329), seat heating (£294) and finally seat belts in Racing Yellow (£194).


THE words 'comfortable' and 'sports car' are not always happy bedfellows. Getting in is a case of positioning yourself over the seat as best you can and letting gravity do the rest. While getting out can be a case of leaving dignity at the door as you haul yourself free, which for me often meant either placing one hand on the tarmac or grabbing the roof and pulling myself upwards.

Seated, there's no chance of you going anywhere. You are held firmly in place and whereas changes in direction in lesser vehicles can result in you being bounced around in nausea inducing fashion, that doesn't happen in the Porsche.

The uninitiated might think that a car of this nature is no good around town, but that's far from the case. Noise aside, it's easy to manoeuvre, with the steering attuned to whichever environment you might be in. It's also not bad in terms of vision out. I've had to open the door in other cars in order to pull into parking spaces, but not on this occasion.

It's also not half bad when it comes to available space. I like to sit close to the steering wheel, but I don't think people taller than me will have too much to complain about. There's a handy cubby, the glovebox is serviceable, door bins for paraphernalia - one with a pull down flap - and two well-hidden but convenient drinks holders in front of the passenger.

Having the engine located where it is also means there's two decent storage areas. The one under the front bonnet is large enough to accommodate a six-year-old child, as proven by my son - not on a journey I hasten to add. While I managed to get two boxes of 20-bottle Stella Artois in the one behind the driver's head.


ACCORDING to Porsche, the 718 Cayman is capable of returning 40.9mpg on the combined cycle with CO2 emissions of 168g/km. The 718 Cayman S returns 38.7mpg, with CO2 emissions of 184g/km. I managed 33.5mpg from a combination of town, country and dual carriageway driving.


A CAR that satisfies the desires of both the heart and the head


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