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2021 Porsche Cayman Review

The 2021 Porsche Cayman claims one of the top spots in our luxury sports car rankings. It's the total package, with powerful engines, adept handling, and a high predicted reliability rating.

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful engines mated to slick transmissions
  • Outstanding handling
  • Good cargo capacity
  • Roomy, comfortable seats
  • Infotainment system, features list come up short compared to some rivals

New for 2021

  • Apple CarPlay, heated seats, and dual-zone automatic climate control join standard features list
  • GTS and GT4 now offer PDK transmission

Rankings & Research

The 2021 Porsche Cayman's #2 ranking is based on its score within the Luxury Sports Cars category. Currently the Porsche Cayman has a score of 8.9 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 23 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 9.6
Performance: 9.7
Interior: 7.2
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Thinking of leasing a Porsche Cayman?

The U.S. News Best Price Program saves users an average of $3,206 off the MSRP, and a lower price equals lower monthly lease payments. That means you could see a savings of $90 a month on a 36-month lease.

Is the Porsche Cayman a Good Car?

Yes, the Porsche 718 Cayman is an excellent car. In a class full of cars that hang their hat on performance, the Cayman still manages to separate itself with its impressive driving dynamics. The engines never feel short of power, the handling is more than a match for winding roads, and ride quality stays smooth over rough pavement.

Inside, the Cayman looks great, and the seats are comfortable and spacious. This Porsche has more cargo space than most competitors, and its tech features are easy to use. It also has a good predicted reliability rating.

Why You Can Trust Us: 23 Reviews Analyzed

Our car reviews include everything you need to know before heading to the dealership. We combine the opinions of the automotive press with quantifiable data like crash test results and reliability ratings to form a complete picture of every vehicle we rank.

This 2021 Cayman review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2017.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking vehicles since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the automotive industry. Our car reviews are objective. To keep them that way, our editorial staff doesn’t accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers, and a third party handles all the advertising on our site.

Should I Buy the Porsche Cayman?

If you're in the market for a luxury sports car, then there's really not a lot of reason to look anywhere else. As detailed above, the Cayman is the total package, and it represents a great value, as it has a lower starting price than a lot of its classmates.

Find a 2021 Porsche Cayman for sale near you »

2020 vs. 2021 Porsche Cayman: What's the Difference?

The 2021 Cayman doesn't see any major changes, but it does gain some additional standard features, including Apple CarPlay, heated seats, and dual-zone automatic climate control. Additionally, every model in the 718 Cayman lineup is now available with a seven-speed dual-clutch Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) transmission.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 Cayman »

Here are the key changes for the Porsche Cayman since it was redesigned for 2017:

  • 2017: completely redesigned with updated styling, more powerful turbo-four engines, and retooled steering; gained available Apple CarPlay and blind spot monitoring
  • 2018: no notable changes
  • 2019: no notable changes
  • 2020: T and GT4 trims joined lineup, and GTS model swapped turbo-four engine for naturally aspirated six-cylinder
  • 2021: GTS and GT4 models now offer PDK transmission; Apple CarPlay, heated seats, and dual-zone automatic climate control join standard features list

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 Cayman, 2019 Cayman, and 2020 Cayman reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Porsche Cayman Cost?

The base Cayman starts at $59,900. That's not the lowest starting price in the class, but there are only a few luxury sports cars with starting prices below $55,000. At the top of the trim lineup sits the Cayman GT4, which starts at $100,200. That's a lot of cheese, but it's actually pretty reasonable in a class where roughly half the entrants have a top-trim price north of $120,000.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Porsche dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Porsche deals page.

Porsche Cayman Versus the Competition

Porsche 718 Cayman vs. Porsche 718 Boxster

The Porsche Boxster is the convertible twin of the Cayman. They have nearly identical trim lineups, the same engines, and the same features. If you're comparing these two, the only question you need to ask yourself is whether you want to spend a few grand more for a drop top.

Compare the Cayman and Boxster »

Porsche Cayman vs. Jaguar F-Type

The Jaguar F-Type is an impressive driving machine, but it can't match the overall quality of the Cayman. The F-Type is available as a coupe or convertible. The Cayman's biggest engine is a naturally aspirated flat-six, but the F-Type offers high-performance trims with supercharged V6 and V8 variants, which are accompanied by growly exhaust notes. The Jaguar isn't quite as refined as the Porsche, though, with a stiff ride and less comfortable seats. It also can't quite match the Cayman's otherworldly handling ability.

Compare the Cayman and F-Type »

Compare the Cayman, Boxster, and F-Type »

Cayman Performance: A Driver's Delight

Cayman Engine

The base Cayman and the Cayman T feature a 300-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine that provides plenty of oomph for just about all driving situations, and it delivers the kind of acceleration you want in a sports car.

The Cayman S comes with a 350-horsepower turbo-four that makes it even more exciting to drive thanks to its superior acceleration. Still, it can't keep up with the Cayman GT4 and Cayman GTS, which feature six-cylinder engines pumping out around 400 horsepower.

A six-speed manual transmission comes standard with each engine, but you can swap it out for a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, known as the Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK). Regardless of which gearbox you select, you're getting one of the best transmissions on the market, as both work flawlessly.

Porsche Cayman Powertrain/Performance Options:
  • Base engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder boxer engine with 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque; starts at $59,900 (Cayman/Cayman T)
  • Available engines:
    • 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder boxer engine with 350 horsepower and 309 pound-feet of torque; starts at $71,900 (Cayman S)
    • 4.0-liter six-cylinder boxer engine with 394 horsepower and 309 pound-feet of torque; starts at $86,800 (Cayman GTS)
    • 4.0-liter six-cylinder boxer engine with 414 horsepower and 309 pound-feet of torque; starts at $100,200 (Cayman GT4)
  • Drivetrain: rear-wheel drive
  • Transmission: standard six-speed manual; available seven-speed dual-clutch automatic
Porsche Cayman Appearance Packages:
  • SportDesign package (prices start at $3,050; available in Cayman, T, S): unique front fascia, front spoiler, and rear fascia
  • Exterior package painted (prices start at $1,890; available in Cayman, T, S): front air intake slats, rear side air intake grilles, and rear fascia in body color
Porsche Cayman Performance Packages
  • Sport Chrono package (prices start at $2,090; available in Cayman, S): an analog and digital stopwatch and lap timer, a Sport Plus driving mode, a mode selector button on the steering wheel, launch control, rev-matching for the manual transmission, and adaptive driveline mounts
Porsche Cayman Individual Performance Options
  • Porsche Active Suspension Management (prices start at $1,790; available in Cayman, S): an electronically dampened suspension, Normal and Sport modes, and a 10-millimeter lowered ride height
  • PASM Sport Suspension (prices start at $2,080; available in S): a 20-millimeter lowered ride height
  • Porsche torque vectoring steering with mechanically locking differential (prices start at $1,320; available in Cayman, S)
  • Extended range 16.9-gallon fuel tank (prices start at $140; available in Cayman, T): increases capacity from standard 14.3 gallons
  • Porsche ceramic composite brakes (prices start at $7,410; available in all trims): ceramic, carbon fiber-reinforced, drilled and slotted rotors and yellow brake calipers
  • Power Steering Plus (prices start at $280; available in Cayman, T, S, GTS 4.0): speed-sensitive power steering
Cayman Gas Mileage

Fuel economy estimates for the 2021 Cayman are not yet available.

Cayman Ride and Handling

Even among high-end sports cars, the Cayman stands out because of its impressive handling. This car lets you tackle corners with confidence at any speed, as it feels buttoned-down around every turn. And despite its focus on agility, the Cayman still delivers a supple ride.

How Fast is the Porsche Cayman?

There are no slow versions of this Porsche, as even the base Cayman clocks a zero-to-60 mph time of 4.9 seconds and has a top track speed of 170 mph. Still, the more powerful models have even more impressive numbers. The Cayman S has a top speed of 177 mph, and it dashes from zero to 60 in just 4.4 seconds.

The Cayman GTS is the quickest model in the lineup, with a zero-to-60 sprint time of 4.2 seconds, and that's with the manual transmission. Opt for the PDK, and you might shave that down a bit. It also has the highest top speed: 188 mph.

Does the Porsche Cayman Have All-Wheel Drive?

The Cayman is rear-wheel drive only. Among other Porsche cars, only the 911, the Panamera, and the all-new electric Taycan are available with all-wheel drive.

Read more about performance »

Cayman Interior: Small but Stylish

Cayman Cargo Space

The Cayman has two trunks because of its midengine layout. The rear trunk provides 9.7 cubic feet of room (9.5 in the GT4), and the front trunk adds another 5.2 cubic feet. The rear trunk alone is decently sized for the class, and with the additional space from the front trunk, the Cayman has a higher overall total than most competitors. However, the setup is a bit less useful than just having one 15-cubic-foot trunk.

How Many People Does the Cayman Seat?

This Porsche seats two. You won't be shocked to learn that the cabin is on the small side, but that doesn’t mean it's cramped. The seats are pleasantly supportive and roomy, and even taller occupants can ride comfortably.

Cayman and Child Car Seats

The Cayman, a two-seater, does not have LATCH connectors for installing child car seats. We do not recommend using a child safety seat in the front seat of any vehicle.

Cayman Interior Quality

Climb inside the Cayman, and you'll find an interior that's cozy, inviting, and driver-focused. The cabin looks stylish and modern, and the presence of a few low-rent materials doesn't detract from the interior's high-quality feel.

Cayman Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The Porsche Communication Management (PCM) infotainment system isn't the most user-friendly interface, but it's not too complicated either, and the touch screen responds quickly to inputs. Though the Cayman comes with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto is not available.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 7-inch touch screen, eight speakers, satellite radio, HD Radio, Apple CarPlay, two USB ports, and Bluetooth
  • Available infotainment features: navigation, a 10-speaker Bose audio system, and a 12-speaker Burmester audio system
  • Additional standard features: dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Other available features: proximity keyless entry

Read more about interior »

Cayman Reliability

Is the Porsche Cayman Reliable?

The 2021 Porsche Cayman has a good predicted reliability rating of four out of five.

Porsche Cayman Warranty

Porsche covers the 718 Cayman with a four-year/50,000-mile warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Cayman Safety

Cayman Crash Test Results

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash tested the 2021 Cayman. This is common among luxury vehicles.

Cayman Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Rearview camera
  • Front and rear parking sensors

Available advanced safety features:

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Lane change assist
  • Blind spot monitoring

Read more about safety »

Cayman Dimensions and Weight

The Cayman is 14.4 to 14.6 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,010 to 3,208 pounds.

Where Is the Porsche Cayman Built?

Porsche builds the 2021 Cayman in Germany.

When Did the Porsche Cayman First Come Out?

The Porsche Cayman was introduced in 2005, roughly a year after the debut of the redesigned, second-generation Porsche Boxster. Porsche built the Cayman as a hardtop version of the popular Boxster convertible and as an affordable midlineup alternative to the range-topping 911. The inaugural 987 generation of the Cayman consisted of the base model and the Cayman S, as well as a few limited editions. All were powered by flat-six boxer engines of varying displacement.

After a hiatus for the 2013 model year, the Cayman launched its second generation, which spanned 2014 to 2016. This version continued to use naturally aspirated engines and saw the first Cayman GTS trim. Porsche redesigned the Cayman for the 2017 model year, combining it with the Boxster under an official 718 designation, a nod to the company's race car from the late 1950s and early '60s. The 718 Cayman was the first time that the car featured turbocharged four-cylinder engines, though naturally aspirated flat-sixes return in the newest GTS and GT4 models.

Which Porsche Cayman Model Is Right for Me?

The 718 Cayman comes in five trims: base, T, S, GTS 4.0, and GT4. Every trim is pretty similar from a features standpoint, so the differences come down to performance. As you climb the trim ladder, you'll find that the higher trims feature more powerful engines, chassis and suspension upgrades, or both. A six-speed manual is the standard transmission, and with every trim you can upgrade to the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic PDK (Porsche Doppelkupplung) transmission for roughly $3,500.

The Cayman T and Cayman S should hit the sweet spot for most buyers. The T comes with some useful suspension upgrades compared to the base trim, while the S features a larger engine with an additional 50 horsepower.

A number of amenities can be added individually or as part of an option package. These include performance upgrades, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, ventilated seats, navigation, and a 10-speaker Bose or a 12-speaker Burmester audio system. These add-ons can cost from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.

Porsche 718 Cayman

The base Cayman starts at $59,900. It comes with a 300-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine.

Standard features include front and rear parking sensors, partial leather upholstery, heated seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, and the Porsche Communication Management (PCM) infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, eight speakers, satellite radio, HD Radio, Apple CarPlay, two USB ports, and Bluetooth.

Porsche 718 Cayman T

The Cayman T starts at $68,900. The T boasts the same engine as the base trim, but it's more of a driver's car. The Cayman T comes with a sport suspension, selectable drive modes, launch control, a lap timer, and Porsche Torque Vectoring, which improves performance and stability. Features-wise, the Cayman T is nearly identical to the base trim.

Porsche 718 Cayman S

The Cayman S sports a starting price of $71,900. The S has a 350-horsepower 2.5-liter turbo-four engine. In addition to its larger engine, the Cayman S features some unique styling upgrades.

Porsche 718 Cayman GTS 4.0

The Cayman GTS (MSRP of $86,800) features torque vectoring, an active suspension system, 20-inch alloy wheels, Alcantara-trimmed leather seats, and an Alcantara-trimmed steering wheel. It also comes with a 394-horsepower 4.0-liter six-cylinder engine, which is a change from previous years, when GTS trims featured four-cylinder engines. The Sport Chrono package, which includes a lap timer, launch control, and additional drive modes, is also standard.

Porsche 718 Cayman GT4

The Cayman GT4 starts at $100,200. It features a 414-horsepower 4.0-liter six-cylinder engine. It also comes with some interior and performance upgrades, including a rear wing that you can adjust for increased downforce.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Porsche dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Porsche deals page.

See 2021 Porsche Cayman specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2021 Porsche 718 Cayman finishes near the top of our luxury sports car rankings, and with good reason. In a class judged primarily on performance, the Cayman wins the day by delivering an intoxicating blend of power and handling. It doesn't skimp on luxury, as it has a stylish interior, a comfortable ride, and intuitive tech features. This is one of the best cars in the class, and it costs less than many competitors, making it a stellar value. In short, every buyer would be wise to strongly consider the Cayman.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "Owing to its mid-engine design and excellent balance, the Porsche 718 Cayman – essentially a coupe version of the open-top 718 Boxster – is considered by many to be a more engaging sports car than the classic 911. It's that good. It's also significantly less expensive." -- Autotrader
  • "There's no point in wasting dreams or money on supercars when the 10Best-winning … Porsche 718 Cayman provides a similarly stellar experience at a huge discount. Despite being near the bottom of the Porsche pyramid, the Cayman coupe and Boxster convertible … are enthralling machines that provide unrivaled feedback to the driver. Its expertly tuned chassis is supplemented by three distinct flat-four-cylinder engines and either a trusty manual or telepathic automatic transmission. Every Cayman can be personalized with countless individual options and even retains a compliant ride when not racing down roads. Sure, its coarse engine notes and uninspired interior are drawbacks, but the … 718 Cayman isn't a wannabe supercar – it's just an attainable one." -- Car and Driver (2020)
  • "As Porsche's smallest and most affordable sports car, the … Porsche 718 Cayman isn't some watered-down VW wearing a fancy badge, it's a genuine performance machine that in its most potent form can easily rival performance giants like the Chevrolet Corvette, Ford Mustang GT350 and even the Porsche 911." -- Kelley Blue Book (2019)
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