2017 Porsche Cayman Overview
Pros & Cons
- Top-notch handling
- Impressive engine power
- Comfortable interior
- Pricey optional features
- Some bland interior pieces
Notable for 2017
- Major midgeneration refresh
- Number of trims reduced from four to two
- Two new turbocharged four-cylinder engine options
Porsche Cayman Rankings and Research
The 2017 Porsche Cayman ranking is based on its score within the Luxury Sports Cars category. Currently the Porsche Cayman has a score of 9.2 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 23 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.
- #3 in Luxury Sports Cars
2017 Porsche Cayman Pictures
2017 Porsche Cayman Review
The 2017 Porsche Cayman delivers what most buyers want out of a luxury sports car: first-rate performance, an elegant interior, and high reliability. All of that comes at a price that's a relative bargain in this class.
Is the Porsche Cayman a Good Car?
The luxury sports car class includes some of the most well-reviewed vehicles among any segment, and the Porsche Cayman comes in near the top of this impressive list. Saying that a Porsche has good performance is like saying the sky is blue, but the Cayman's performance is just the start of what makes it an excellent car.
For 2017, the Porsche Cayman undergoes a significant midgeneration refresh. Gone are the Porsche Cayman GTS and Cayman GT4, along with the previous lineup of naturally aspirated six-cylinder engines. The powertrain of choice is now a duo of turbocharged four-cylinders that deliver solid power and provide the basis for world-class handling. Borrowing the steering from the Porsche 911, the Cayman is one of the most formidable cars you can pilot, and it outperforms models from the previous year.
The Cayman's interior matches the standards of its performance with premium materials and the outstanding Porsche build quality. This commitment to excellence also results in exceptional predicted reliability ratings. Standard features are plentiful for a sports car, including a touch-screen infotainment system. However, some rivals still manage to outshine the Cayman in quality and/or overall design aesthetic.
Should I Buy the Porsche Cayman?
The 2017 Porsche Cayman is one of the smartest purchases you can make if you're shopping for a luxury sports car. Starting at just $53,900, the Cayman is on the lower end of the class in price. There are very few choices that can match the overall quality of the Cayman, especially at this price. There's no reason to feel like you're buying a lower-end Porsche 911, as the Cayman goes toe-to-toe with it in the most crucial area: performance. You might also consider the Porsche Boxster, which is virtually identical to the Cayman but with a convertible body. Another excellent choice is the Chevrolet Corvette, which is about the same price as the Cayman and has a similarly high level of performance.
We Did the Research for You: 23 Pieces of Data Analyzed
To help you decide if the 2017 Porsche Cayman is right for you, we’ve analyzed 23 pieces of data from around the automotive industry and put it all together in an expert overview. Our reviews are based on the consensus opinions of professional automotive journalists and data like crash test results and reliability ratings.
The Porsche Cayman started its current generation with the 2014 model year, but it receives a major midcycle refresh for 2017. Porsche discontinues the Cayman GTS and GT4 for 2017, leaving only the base Cayman and the Cayman S models. Each model gets a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and Porsche now brands both the Cayman and its related Boxster sibling under the 718 nameplate. This overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2014 through 2017 model years.
Why You Can Trust Us
At U.S. News & World Report, we've been helping consumers make educated buying decisions about cars and trucks for nearly a decade. Our automotive staff has a combined 75 years of experience in the industry, and we're completely impartial in our reviews: we don't accept expensive gifts, trips, or incentives from car companies, and ads on the page are handled by an outside vendor.
How Much Does the Porsche Cayman Cost?
The 2017 Porsche Cayman starts at $53,900, which is fairly affordable compared to most other luxury sports cars. Aside from the base model, the only other trim is the Cayman S, which retails for $66,300. Standard and optional equipment is nearly identical between the two, so the increase in cost is mostly for a larger and more powerful engine. A six-speed manual transmission is standard in both, but you can switch to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic for $3,200.
The Cayman comes well-equipped for a sports car, with standard equipment like satellite radio, HD Radio, a touch-screen infotainment system, a rearview camera, and front and rear parking sensors. However, you can also customize pretty much any facet of the vehicle, from seating upholstery and audio systems to performance features and advanced safety technologies. Nearly all options can be added individually, but be warned that costs quickly increase. It's easy to add more than the Cayman's base price in just options and personalization, pushing its price to more than $130,000.
Some rivals that compete well with the Cayman are also available for a similar price. The Porsche Boxster is the convertible version of the Cayman; it enjoys the same 2017 refresh and new equipment as its hardtop sibling. Porsche now offers the Boxster for $56,000, while the Boxster S is $68,400. The Chevrolet Corvette starts at $55,450 and has two higher-performance trims that cost $65,450 and $79,450.
In contrast to the aforementioned rivals, the flagship Porsche 911 will set you back a pretty penny; the lowest starting price is $89,400.
Porsche Cayman Versus the Competition
Which Is Better: Porsche Cayman or Porsche Boxster?
The Cayman is the hardtop version of Porsche's two-seat roadster, the Porsche Boxster. The Cayman was introduced almost 10 years after the Boxster debuted. The Boxster consistently earns rave reviews from critics and scores well among our luxury sports cars. The only real difference between the Cayman and the Boxster is the roof. Both cars enjoy the same midcycle refresh for 2017, getting new turbocharged four-cylinder engines and boosted handling performance. There is some conventional thought that hardtop versions of cars handle better than their convertible variants due to increased body rigidity and stability, but those concerns are largely moot with a performance brand like Porsche.
There's a slight price difference; the Cayman comes in at $53,900 and the Boxster is $56,000. Choosing between the Cayman and the Boxster is a toss-up based on whether you want to feel the wind in your hair on a nice day. Either choice is a good one.
Which Is Better: Porsche Cayman or Chevrolet Corvette?
The Cayman and the Chevrolet Corvette have similar prices and are among the best-performing luxury sports cars available, albeit for slightly different reasons. While the Cayman has a maximum of 350 horsepower, the Corvette in standard form comes with 455 horsepower. That makes the Chevy much faster off the line, but the Porsche certainly makes the most of its turbo four-cylinder and shouldn't leave you wanting for power. You can also opt for a 650-horsepower supercharged V8 in the Corvette, which costs about what you would pay if you added a decent amount of options to the Cayman S. However, no Cayman model will approach that level of power. For as much muscle as the Corvette has under the hood, it can certainly hold its own against the Porsche in driving dynamics, too. Both the Corvette and Cayman feature tight and accurate steering that's almost effortless in getting the car where you want it to go. You can add an adaptive suspension to either vehicle to further improve handling. The Cayman has a slight edge in handling, with excellent weight distribution and a lower center of gravity from its midengine layout. Interior quality gives a slight advantage to the Corvette, which earns a little more praise for its design and materials than the Cayman does. Some reviewers note that the Corvette's interior build quality is a bit rickety compared to the Cayman’s. For the price you’ll pay, though, neither car will feel cheap or make you wish you were in a nicer vehicle.
Which Is Better: Porsche Cayman or Porsche 911?
Few cars define their brands like the Porsche 911 does. It's the legendary model that all other Porsches and luxury sports cars have been measured against. Now other models like the Cayman have caught up. Choosing Porsche's flagship sports car is all about whether you can afford it. Starting at almost $90,000, it may be hard to justify for those who were considering a Cayman for its value proposition. However, with the 911, you'll get a standard 370-horsepower turbocharged six-cylinder engine, a standard adaptive suspension, and the performance that sets the standard for the brand. The 911 is also more practical than the Cayman, if only slightly. Since the engine is all the way in the rear – in contrast to the midengine Cayman – the 911 allows for a 2+2 seating layout. You can be the coolest parent on the block by taking your kids where they need to go in the (very small) back seat.
If you want the reputation and head-turning ability of the 911, and have the cash to drop, it's an excellent choice. But if performance and value are more your thing, the Cayman is an outstanding machine.
How Many People Does the Cayman Seat?
The Porsche Cayman is a two-seat luxury sports car. Even in the regular form, the seating accommodations contribute to the Cayman's appeal as a driver's car. The standard seats are branded as sport seats; they offer plenty of support to hold you snug, and they're comfortable enough for long drives, too. However, the true sport seats are what Porsche calls Sport Seats Plus, which add extra side bolstering on the bottom cushions and the backrests. Both of these seat styles come with only power reclining adjustments, but you can upgrade to 14- or 18-way power adjustments with memory settings.
The Cayman is predictably small, given that it only holds two people, but the cabin feels spacious inside. Headroom and legroom are ample overall, so you won’t be cramped when driving. One caveat is the amount of outward visibility: it suffers in part because of the Cayman's sloping rear window and large pillars. However, visibility is still a little better than the Cayman's convertible twin, the Boxster, with its roof up.
Cayman Interior Quality
The Cayman is clearly a driver’s car, but that doesn’t mean it sacrifices interior quality. Porsche’s timeless build quality is evident, with premium materials throughout. There are a few design missteps, though, like tiny control knobs that feel low quality and obvious empty spaces where optional features would be located if you opted to pay for them.
One cool aspect of the Cayman is the ability to personalize nearly any piece of the interior. You can choose from several different upholstery options, ranging from standard leather and leatherette to plush and supple premium leather. The entire cabin, including the door panels and dashboard, can be adorned in leather, or you can opt for real wood, brushed aluminum, or carbon fiber trim pieces.
Other Porsches, like the 911 and Boxster, allow for the same customization, and they both sport a top-notch design and an upscale atmosphere. Even rivals like the Chevrolet Corvette have been forced to improve their interior quality to keep up with Porsche designs. The Corvette has one of the best interiors among competitors, with standard leather seating and ample soft-touch surfaces that complement a handsome cabin layout.
Cayman Cargo Space
Because of its midengine layout, the Cayman has two trunks: one in the front of the car and one behind the engine at the back of the car. Up front, there’s 5.3 cubic feet of cargo space. The rear trunk offers 9.7 cubic feet. The front trunk is deep enough for a few pieces of luggage, but you won’t be able to fit larger items like you would in a car with a single big trunk. An example of that is the Chevrolet Corvette, which has 15 cubic feet of trunk space – a good amount for a sports car. Its hatchback design (or fastback, as Chevy calls it) helps it rival even some midsize sedans in trunk space.
The Porsche Boxster has 9.7 cubic feet of total space between both of its trunks, while the 911 only has a 4.76-cubic-foot front trunk.
Cayman Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation
Sitting in the driver’s seat, it’s easy to think of the Cayman’s cabin as a cockpit of sorts. Features and controls are ergonomically designed around the driver, and a 4.6-inch digital display in the gauge cluster provides vital information for your drive. The Chevrolet Corvette takes that to another level, though, with a standard 8-inch digital instrument display and an optional head-up display. The head-up display allows you to monitor things like speed and rpm without taking your eyes off the road.
The Cayman, along with the Boxster and 911, comes standard with the Porsche Communication Management (PCM) touch-screen infotainment system, which is housed in a 7-inch display. This interface functions well, processing your touch commands quickly and providing sharp graphics. You can also add on navigation, as well as smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay. Simply connect your iPhone through a USB port, and you can access familiar functions like media, messaging, contacts, and apps through the touch screen. The icons on the screen also mimic the ones you’re used to seeing on your phone.
The Corvette features Chevy’s MyLink infotainment system, which is cumbersome to operate. It comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Android Auto functions in the same way as CarPlay, but for Android devices. For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.
Other standard features in the Cayman that should make your drive more enjoyable include satellite radio and HD Radio.
Cayman Engine: Smaller but Better
Porsche went back to the drawing board for the Cayman’s midgeneration refresh. Mechanically, it’s almost a completely different model than the 2016 version. 2016 saw four trim levels, each with a larger and more powerful six-cylinder engine. Horsepower ranged from 275 in the base Cayman to 385 in the GT4. For 2017, the lineup is down to the Cayman and the Cayman S, and they each receive a turbocharged four-cylinder boxer engine and a six-speed manual transmission. A dual-clutch seven-speed automatic is available.
At 2.0 liters, the standard engine produces 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. The Cayman S has a 2.5-liter engine, good for 350 horsepower and 309 pound-feet of torque. According to Porsche, the standard Cayman goes from zero to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds, or as quickly as 4.5 seconds with the automatic transmission and performance launch control. On the track, it can reach 170 mph. The Cayman S can go from zero to 60 mph in as little as 4 seconds, and it has a top track speed of 177 mph.
Purists might tell you that a manual transmission is the only acceptable gearbox for a sports car like a Porsche. Even though the manual comes standard, the optional automatic might be a better choice. It delivers effortless shifts, and you can also control gear changes through paddle shifters or by entering manual mode with the shifter. In that setup, you pull back to shift up and push forward to downshift.
Since the Boxster is basically the Cayman with a soft top, Porsche gives it the same refresh treatment and new engines. Therefore, you can expect the same performance. Like in the Boxster and Cayman, Porsche ditches the naturally aspirated six-cylinder engines in the 911 and gives every model a turbocharger. The standard 911 now boasts 370 horsepower, which results in superbly quick acceleration. A discussion about engines wouldn’t be complete without mention of the Chevrolet Corvette, which makes 455 horsepower from its standard 6.2-liter V8 engine. Few cars can keep up with it off the line, and there’s even a 650-horsepower version for those with an extreme thirst for thrills.
Cayman Gas Mileage: Pretty Good
There are no official EPA fuel economy ratings for the 2017 Cayman yet. However, Porsche estimates the base model will get 21 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway and the Cayman S will get 20 mpg in the city and 26 on the highway. Those are the same figures the EPA gives the Boxster and Boxster S, which makes sense since it has the same chassis and engines as the Cayman.
Cayman Ride and Handling: Push It to the Limit
The powertrain isn't the only thing Porsche has revamped for the Cayman's 2017 refresh. They’ve also made several adjustments to handling and steering, which were already huge reasons why the Cayman consistently gets high scores for its performance.
Porsche reached into the parts bin and fitted the Cayman with the steering assembly from the 911, which has a quicker steering ratio and allows for more direct turning. By sitting the engine over the rear axle, Porsche gave the 2017 Cayman near-perfect weight distribution, and the car as a whole loses a few hundred pounds with the refresh.
Road grip is superb when cornering hard, and even the ride quality is comfortable enough for daily use. All in all, the Cayman remains one of the best-handling sports cars available.
There are several performance upgrades available for those who want to max out their Cayman's capabilities. One of them is Power Steering Plus, a speed-dependent steering system that makes it easier to turn the wheel at low speeds, like when moving through a parking lot or parallel parking. An adaptive suspension allows you to switch between Normal and Sport modes, the latter of which lowers the ride height by 10 millimeters and stiffens the dampers for greater control. You can also opt for upgraded ceramic brakes as well as the Porsche Torque Vectoring system, which can independently brake each rear wheel to improve road grip.
Is the Porsche Cayman Reliable?
Few brands impress across the board for their reliability as much as Porsche does. According to J.D. Power and Associates, the 2017 Cayman gets a rating of four out of five for predicted reliability. That indicates that the Cayman is more dependable than most cars on the road. The related Boxster gets the same rating, and the Porsche 911 receives a perfect five out of five.
Porsche Cayman Warranty
Porsche backs all of its vehicles with a four-year/50,000-mile warranty. By comparison, the Chevrolet Corvette comes with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Cayman Crash Test Results
There are no available crash tests results for the 2017 Porsche Cayman or any of its competitors, like the 911, Boxster, or Chevy Corvette. Due to the costs associated with crash testing, luxury cars and expensive sports cars are rarely evaluated by safety agencies.
Cayman Safety Features
The 2017 Cayman comes with a rearview camera and front and rear parking sensors, which emit an audible tone when you move too close to an object when parking. There are a few other optional advanced safety features that are somewhat uncommon in sports cars. Blind spot monitoring displays a small icon on the rearview mirror when the car detects another vehicle on your side, so you know not to make a lane change. You can also opt for forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, which alert you of an impending collision ahead. If you don’t respond to the warning by braking, the car can apply full braking force to mitigate the crash. Along those same lines, automatic cruise control monitors the speed of the car in front of you and adjusts your set speed by automatically braking when the car you're following slows down.
Which Porsche Cayman Model Is Right for Me?
The 2017 Porsche Cayman is available in two models: the base Cayman and the Cayman S. Previously, a Porsche Cayman GTS and Porsche Cayman GT4 were available. For the 2017 model year, Porsche has joined the Cayman with its convertible Boxster variant under the official 718 designation.
Choosing between the Cayman and Cayman S will almost exclusively be about which engine you want. The regular Cayman comes with a 300-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder boxer engine, while the Cayman S has a 350-horsepower turbo 2.5-liter boxer. Unless you’re pushing the Cayman to its limits, you probably won’t notice much of an improvement with the larger engine. Most shoppers will likely find the base Cayman more than adequate for all driving situations, and you’ll save more than $12,000 over the Cayman S as well. That money is much better spent on the seemingly endless list of options Porsche offers, such as full leather seating, upgraded audio systems, performance enhancements, or advanced safety technologies.
Both models come with rear-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission, but you can substitute in the Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Porsche 718 Cayman
The base Porsche Cayman starts at $53,900. Standard features include partial leather sport seats, automatic climate control, a six-speaker sound system, satellite radio, HD Radio, Bluetooth, the Porsche Communication Management (PCM) touch-screen infotainment system, a digital instrument cluster display, a rearview camera, and front and rear parking sensors.
Porsche 718 Cayman S
At $66,300, the Porsche Cayman S comes with the larger engine specified above, larger alloy wheels, and sport pedals. Included features are the same as in the base model.
Porsche Cayman Options
Optional features have the same pricing and availability between the Cayman and the Cayman S. While you can get nearly every option a la carte, there are a few packages designed to bundle common features and save a little bit of money. The Premium Package includes adaptive headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated seats, and memory seat settings. You can get it with 14-way power-adjustable seats for $3,690, or with 18-way power-adjustable sport seats for $5,195. The Premium Package Plus adds on to the Premium Package with ventilated seats, proximity-key entry, a keyless ignition, and additional interior lighting. It's $5,490 with the 14-way seats and $6,995 with the 18-way seats.
Other individual options include leather seating ($2,520), premium leather ($4,030), an adaptive suspension ($1,790), a heated steering wheel ($470), a leather-wrapped interior ($1,015), navigation ($1,730), a 10-speaker Bose surround sound system ($990), a 12-speaker Burmester high-end sound system ($4,690), and Apple CarPlay and Porsche Car Connect ($830). You can also get advanced safety technologies like blind spot monitoring for $690 and adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking for $1,670.
The Final Call
Simply put, the 2017 Porsche Cayman is one of the best luxury sports cars you can buy. It boasts incredible performance and should have major overall appeal for anyone shopping in this segment.
Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.
- "Headed to showrooms in late November, the 2017 Porsche 718 Cayman will start at $54,950 while the 718 Cayman S is set to open at $67,350 -- although buyers with deep enough pockets and a penchant for extras can push even a base Cayman into six-figure land. But regardless of price, one thing remains clear: The '718' transition has given both of these redesigned Porsche purebreds more scintillating character and enhanced their driving appeal." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "The … Porsche Cayman is a mid-engine coupe designed with the driving enthusiast in mind. While the Porsche 911's price tag has placed it out of reach for many buyers, the Cayman offers the same iconic good looks and nearly as impressive performance for far less money." -- Autotrader (2016)
- "Let's suppose you're a reasonably sane person looking to purchase a sports car. You don't absolutely need to have something that gives you bragging rights for the most power, biggest skid pad g-forces, or top slot at the valet line. Mostly, you just want something that delivers a fantastic driving experience while still being suitable for driving every day. If that's you, the … Porsche Cayman could very well be the best all-around sports car you can buy." -- Edmunds (2016)