2018 Porsche Cayman

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MSRP: $55,300 - 67,700

2018 Porsche Cayman Review

The 2018 Porsche 718 Cayman stays true to its heritage by delivering brand-renowned handling and spine-tingling acceleration – two qualities that help it place near the top of our luxury sports car rankings. However, it has fewer standard features than most rivals do, and adding options quickly runs up the price. 

8.7

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 9.3
Performance: 9.4
Interior: 8.1
Safety: N/A
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Pros & Cons

  • Invigorating driving dynamics
  • Potent turbo engines
  • Comfortable, stately cockpit 
  • Base engine's exhaust sound disappoints some
  • Base model includes fewer amenities than rivals
  • Costly optional features

Is the Porsche 718 Cayman a Good Car?

When it comes to athletic handling and compelling engines, the 2018 Porsche 718 Cayman is a winner. Inside, its cabin is exquisite, with styling that leans toward classic and clean. The 2018 Cayman doesn't have a predicted reliability rating yet, but Porsche vehicles typically earn exceptional reliability ratings. Porsche was our 2017 Best Luxury Brand.

Should I Buy the Porsche 718 Cayman?

If you're in the market for a new Porsche sports car but have a budget that eliminates the Porsche 911, you should definitely give the Porsche Cayman a shot. The 718 Cayman samples many of its tricks directly from the 911, so you'll get almost the same invigorating level of performance. It comes only as a fixed-roof coupe, while its fraternal twin (the 718 Boxster) allows for top-down driving. Compared to the 718 Boxster, the 718 Cayman's quieter ride and extra cargo space make it more accommodating for road trips.

When comparing the price to other sports cars, take the 718 Cayman's lower sticker price with a grain of salt. The base trim is missing a few fundamental luxury vehicle amenities. It isn't completely barren, but you'll have to pay more for goodies like full leather seats, dual-zone climate control, and Apple CarPlay (all standard in the Chevrolet Corvette). Your final price climbs quickly when you add options like these.

Compare the 718 Cayman, 911, and 718 Boxster »

Should I Buy a New or Used Porsche Cayman?

When it redesigned the Cayman for 2017, Porsche released it as the 718 Cayman and retired the Porsche Cayman GT4 and Porsche Cayman GTS. The previous generation offered several engines, ranging from 275 to 385 horsepower. The 2017 Cayman offers 300- and 350-horsepower engines, and they're four-cylinder engines instead of a six-cylinder power plant like in the 2016 model. The 2017 model has more standard features, including a rearview camera with front and rear parking sensors. It also offers features the 2016 didn't, like navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, blind spot monitoring, and automatic emergency braking. There are no major changes for the 2018 model year.

By shopping used, you might save yourself thousands of dollars on a Cayman, but remember that getting a pre-2017 model means you'll miss out on some features. If you're interested in a used model, be sure to visit our overviews of the 2016 Porsche Cayman and the 2017 Porsche Cayman. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Cayman »
We Did the Research for You: 9 Reviews Analyzed

No need to waste time sorting through dozens of car reviews when we've already done the legwork for you. Our Porsche Cayman review blends evaluations from nine professional reviews with concrete data, giving you details like top speed, fuel economy, and cabin features in one place.

This overview includes applicable data and reviews from every model year of the current generation, which runs from 2017 to 2018.

Why You Can Trust Us

At U.S. News & World Report, our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined automotive experience. To keep our analyses unbiased, we don't accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and a separate team handles our advertising.

How Much Does the Porsche 718 Cayman Cost?

With its starting price of $55,300, the 718 Cayman is not only one of the least expensive luxury sports cars you can buy but also the least expensive model in the Porsche paddock. This coupe is also available as the more powerful 718 Cayman S, which starts at $67,700. For great savings on a new Porsche at your local dealer, check out our U.S. News Best Price Program. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Porsche deals page.

Porsche 718 Cayman Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Porsche 718 Cayman or Porsche 718 Boxster?

Most everything, including engine options and interior amenities, is identical between Porsche's 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman, but there are two key distinctions. The first is the body: The 718 Boxster is a soft-top convertible, while the 718 Cayman has a fixed roof. Prices are also noticeably different. The 718 Cayman is the cheaper of the two (its MSRP starts at $55,300). Add another $2,100 if you want open-air driving with the 718 Boxster.

Which Is Better: Porsche 718 Cayman or Porsche 911?

In many circles, the Porsche 911 is the champion of rear-engine sports cars. When building this car, you have many more options than with a 718 Cayman, as the 911 comes in coupe, targa, and convertible body styles. The 911 has four seats, but it's not necessarily easier to live with as a daily driver: Its back seat is cramped and overall cargo space is much smaller than the Cayman's. Price is also a significant factor; the 911's sticker price starts north of $91,000.

Which Is Better: Porsche 718 Cayman or Jaguar F-Type?

The Jaguar F-Type can sufficiently get your heart racing. A supercharged V6 engine is available, and if that isn't fiery enough, the supercharged V8 sounds and feels phenomenal. Handling is crisp and agile, though its firm suspension can feel too rigid on rough pavement.

Compare the 718 Cayman, 718 Boxster, and 911 »

718 Cayman Performance

718 Cayman Engine: A Potent Midengine Car

The base Cayman doesn't come with a naturally aspirated engine, as the previous generation did. Its 300-horsepower four-cylinder engine is equipped with a turbocharger – and that's not a bad thing. Power delivery is smooth, and there's little troublesome turbo lag. The standard six-speed manual transmission is enjoyable. If you prefer to let the car do the shifting, the available seven-speed dual-clutch automatic has lightning-fast shifts and slightly higher fuel economy. To marginally edge up your top speed or shave a few milliseconds off your launch time, pick the 350-horsepower engine, which comes in the Cayman S model. This version has a top speed of 177 mph, and when combined with the Sport Chrono package, sprints to 60 mph in four seconds flat.

718 Cayman Gas Mileage: Decent Fuel Economy Estimate

There are no official fuel economy estimates yet from the EPA. According to Porsche estimates, the base engine gets 21 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway with the manual transmission. These numbers are a touch above average for the luxury sports car class. The more powerful 2.5-liter engine gets an estimated 20 mpg city/26 mpg highway.

718 Cayman Ride and Handling: Perfectly Porsche-Like

Let's be real: One of the top reasons you're considering a Porsche is for the brand's unmistakable sports car handling. The 718 Cayman doesn't disappoint. It's agile, it's balanced, and it's a blast to drive at any speed. For performance junkies, an active suspension management system, torque vectoring, sport exhaust, and ceramic brakes are all present on the options list.

Read more about performance »

718 Cayman Interior

How Many People Does the 718 Cayman Seat?

The 718 Cayman seats two people on partial leather upholstery. The standard sport seats have two adjustments, while upgraded seats – with 14- or 18-way power adjustments – make it easy for just about anyone to find the perfect position. Also available are heated and ventilated seats, as well as about a dozen different leather upholstery options.

718 Cayman Interior Quality

The interior of the Porsche 718 Cayman is exquisite. Styling leans more toward classic sports car, deleting nonessentials like cup holders and keeping controls driver-focused. Upgraded materials are plentiful and include high-class options like mahogany, brushed aluminum, and supple leather.

718 Cayman Cargo Space

The midmounted engine in the 718 Cayman allows for two storage areas: a "frunk" in the front (measuring 5.3 cubic feet) and a hatch in the rear (at 9.7 cubic feet). Its rear trunk isn't as large as what you'll get with a front-engine sports car like the Chevrolet Corvette, but the combination of cubbies has enough room to hold luggage for a two-person weekend getaway.

718 Cayman Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Like most infotainment systems, there's a bit of a learning curve with the Porsche Communication Management interface. You'll also need to get used to the low placement of the 7-inch touch screen. Two USB ports and Bluetooth come standard, and we recommend adding the very detailed navigation system, along with smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay. Audiophiles have the pleasure of selecting between the 10-speaker Bose surround-sound system and the 12-speaker Burmester high-end sound system, both optional.

Read more about interior »

718 Cayman Reliability

Is the Porsche 718 Cayman Reliable?

J.D. Power has not released any reliability assessments for the 2018 Porsche 718 Cayman.

Porsche 718 Cayman Warranty

The 718 Cayman comes with a four-year/50,000-mile warranty.

Read more about reliability »

718 Cayman Safety

718 Cayman Crash Test Results

The Porsche 718 Cayman, like many luxury vehicles, does not undergo crash test analysis by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

718 Cayman Safety Features

Standard safety features in the 718 Cayman include a rearview camera and front and rear parking sensors. Advanced safety technology available for the 2018 model year includes adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, forward brake assist, lane change assist, a blind spot monitor, and a camera-based speed limit indicator.

Read more about safety »

Which Porsche 718 Cayman Model Is Right for Me?

The rear-wheel-drive, midengine 718 models come in two variants: the convertible 718 Boxster (which we review separately) and the fixed-roof 718 Cayman. For the Cayman models, the amount of horsepower you want determines which trim level you roll with. The base Cayman comes with a 300-horsepower engine, while the Cayman S employs a 350-horsepower engine.

To customize beyond the powertrain, Porsche offers dozens of standalone and bundled options. Examples include the $1,370 Premium package (which adds luxury amenities like dual-zone automatic climate control and 14-way power-adjustable heated seats). For the swiftest take off possible, you'll want the Sport Chrono package. This $2,090 option comes with a chronometer for measuring lap times, a button on the steering wheel to alternate between drive modes, three extra drive modes, and launch control.

Porsche 718 Cayman

The 718 Cayman ($55,300) comes with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a six-speed manual transmission. A seven-speed automatic transmission is available for $3,210. Other standard features include partial leather sport seats, the Porsche Communication Management infotainment interface, a touch-screen infotainment display, a six-speaker sound system, two USB ports, satellite radio, HD Radio, Bluetooth, automatic climate control, a built-in garage door opener, a rearview camera, and front and rear parking sensors.

Porsche 718 Cayman S

A more powerful turbocharged engine comes in the 718 Cayman S, along with larger wheels, red brake calipers, a twin tailpipe, sport-oriented pedals, and a sport-styled footrest. Pricing starts at $67,700 with the manual transmission and $70,910 with the automatic transmission.

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 2018 Porsche 718 Cayman specs and trims »

The Final Call

It may be about half the price of a Porsche 911, but in many ways, the 718 Cayman is its equal. Its performance and interior ambiance showcase an authentic Porsche experience. If you're in the market for a genuine driver's car, there are few reasons not to buy the 718 Cayman.

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

  • "Lithe and powerful, the 718 Cayman is one of the world's best sports cars." -- Edmunds
  • "The 911 is a marvelous driver's car, but the 2017 Porsche 718 Cayman just might be the better, purer and more engaging choice. That comes from its engine being tucked just behind the two-seat passenger compartment (rather than out behind the rear wheels), which has always been the ideal position for superior balance. Name an exotic supercar and it's almost certainly midengined like the Cayman." -- Autotrader (2017)
  • "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 (2017)
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