2017 Porsche Cayman Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Porsche Cayman was new.


Performance: 9.5

The 2017 Porsche Cayman has among the best performance in the class thanks to two new engines that provide ample speed and power. The Cayman's driving dynamics are nearly unrivaled, and predicted fuel economy is a little above average. 

  • "It's not like the previous Cayman had been hurting in the exhilaration department. With its superb combination of mid-engine balance and driver-centric focus, this 2-seat road warrior had established itself as a more-affordable alternative to the 911 Carrera and Carrera S. However, this time around, the 718 Caymans are not only quicker in a straight line than the models they replace, they also carve corners with even more precision and confidence." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "On the eve of the inevitable robot takeover of our daily commutes, the 718 range proves that Porsche still knows the right formula to fuse technology, personality and downright mechanical engineering prowess into one of the most engaging driving experiences in the world... cylinder count be damned." -- New York Daily News
  • "Once up to speed, the previous Cayman/Boxster handled virtually as well as the S models. But their 2.7-liter six, with 275 horses and 213 lb-ft, made them the Miata of Porsches. Now, a 2.0-liter four with a wastegate turbocharger kicks up 300 horses and 280 lb-ft, the latter a 31-percent bump. Girded with PDK and Sport Chrono, the new 718 Cayman runs to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. Even from a stoplight, this base Cayman will ditch not just an Audi TT but also a BMW 4 Series, V-6 Mustang and a Camaro before delivering a final ass kicking on the curves." -- Automobile Magazine

Acceleration and Power

The 2017 Porsche Cayman is a midengine sports car that comes standard with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder boxer engine. Power output is 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque in base models. The Cayman S has a turbocharged 2.5-liter engine, which is good for 350 horsepower and 309 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is optional. 

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 launch control. It has a top track speed of 170 mph. The Cayman S goes from zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, or as quickly as 4 seconds with the right setup. It hits a top track speed of 177 mph. 

There are currently no EPA fuel economy estimates for the redesigned 2017 Cayman, but Porsche estimates the Cayman and Boxster will get 21 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. 

Power and acceleration are formidable from both engines; the difference with the larger engine is mostly only evident on the track. The optional automatic transmission is rated as the best transmission. It delivers seamless and precise shifts to maximize the engine's output.

  • "The manual transmission is standard, but four out of five buyers will upgrade to the optional PDK. Porsche has reversed the direction of shifting in manual mode so that you push forward to downshift. If you prefer the old direction, switch to the steering wheel-mounted paddles, which are quick and intuitive. The transmission respects the gear you select and does not upshift at redline in manual mode." -- Motor Trend
  • "As far as automatic transmissions go, Porsche's Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (say that five times fast...) is one of the best in the world. Shifts are almost telepathic in execution, whether you employ the use of the delightful aluminum paddle shifters or not, and the 718 will happily cycle through two or three gears in rapid succession with hardly a shake or sound. As a result, the new 718 feels livelier than before, and some masterful turbo tuning has erased any lag that usually accompanies forced induction, making for a flatter torque curve and subsequently more usable power at lower rpm." -- New York Daily News
  • "Other differences between the stock Cayman and the S are barely detectable on public roads. The 2.0-liter feels fractionally slower to respond than the 2.5 when asked to deal with big throttle openings at low engine speeds, in part because it lacks the S's variable-vane turbocharger, in addition to having 20 percent less displacement. According to Porsche, the standard car actually produces higher peak boost-19 psi versus the S's 16-but we wouldn't say you can feel that. … On the track, it's a slightly different story. We … can report that the S does possess a clear performance advantage that allowed it to edge away from the standard car on the straights. There was, however, no apparent difference in cornering speeds." -- Car and Driver

Handling and Braking

The Porsche Cayman boasts excellent handling and driving dynamics. Steering is quick and precise, and the car grips the road extremely well. Available performance upgrades include an adaptive suspension, enhanced power steering, Porsche Torque Vectoring, and performance ceramic brakes.

  • "The chassis delivers similarly abundant grip and what felt to be identically keen responses thanks to the new, quicker-ratio steering lifted from the 911 Turbo." -- Car and Driver
  • "Thankfully, Porsche has made some improvements to the driving dynamics to match the more responsive drivetrain, and the response is a better-handling Boxster and Cayman than ever before, which is certainly saying something. The previous generation car was one of the most balanced rides on the planet, and through weight saving, clever structural improvements and some helpful new tech, the 718 lineup is a side-road scalpel." -- New York Daily News
  • "Both models offer the adaptive dampers known as Porsche Active Suspension Management, which lowers ride height by 10 millimeters. Also available is Porsche Torque Vectoring, which can dab an inside rear brake to improve turn-in, or lock up its mechanical differential to boost traction on exit. A pair of switchable, vacuum-controlled engine mounts support the flat-four, versus the previous single central mount. At idle, the mounts uncouple to soothe vibration; in motion, they stiffen to ease drivetrain disturbances. The engine is positioned to load 55 percent of weight over the rear axle." -- Automobile Magazine

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