2018 Porsche Cayman Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2018 Porsche Cayman was new.


Performance: 9.7

For the 2018 Porsche 718 Cayman, you can select either a turbo engine that's forceful and cost-effective or a larger power plant that sounds better and is brazenly quick. No matter which way you go, you'll have a sports car that's thrilling to drive, backed by Porsche's inimitable driving dynamics.

  • "The 718 Cayman S is a fun, responsive and engaging sports car. Amazing handling and braking, both in terms of performance and nuance. Plenty quick, too." -- Edmunds
  • "The result is one of the best-handling cars on the planet, so much so that it could likely compete with – or even surpass – cars that have a massive horsepower advantage around a track." -- New York Daily News (2017)
  • "The 718 Cayman is one of the best cars to drive, period. With its midengine, rear-wheel-drive layout and the added rigidity of its hardtop body, few cars (if any) can match its balance, athleticism, poise and engagement. Plus, its quicker steering for 2017 only enhances its razor-sharp reflexes." -- Autotrader (2017)

Acceleration and Power

The base 718 Cayman engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. This 300-horsepower engine is brisk, and though there is a hint of turbo lag, its power delivery is generally smooth and satisfying. Some lament that its exhaust note is disappointing. The turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, which comes in 718 Cayman S models, sounds much better. This engine is faster off the line as well.

When the car is equipped with the optional Sport Chrono package, the Cayman S can reach 60 mph in as little as four seconds (a decrease from the base engine's slowest time of 4.9 seconds). All models come standard with a six-speed manual transmission, while a seven-speed automatic is available. Both transmissions are polished, and both shift quickly (especially the automatic), so the best choice depends on your personal preference. A sport exhaust system is also available.

No fuel economy rating has been released by the EPA. Porsche estimates gas mileage at 21 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway for the standard powertrain. Fuel economy for the 2.5-liter engine with a manual transmission is projected to be 20 mpg city/26 mpg highway.

  • "This engine gives a good shove from pretty much any rpm. The gear ratios are well spaced to keep power on tap at all times. The Cayman S reaches 60 mph in 4.6 seconds in our tests, matching its closest competitors. It's very likely that the PDK transmission is quicker still." -- Edmunds
  • "The base 2.0-liter engine offers impressive power, but its responsiveness and sound leave a bit to be desired. Opting for the 2.5-liter is quite pricey, but it's ultimately a more thrilling and suitable choice. We would also recommend sticking with the manual transmission -- yes, the optional PDK produces quicker shifts and is one of the best automatics produced, but the manual is easy to drive and adds back a layer of engagement that's been stripped away by the turbo engines' deeper well of low-end power." -- Autotrader (2017)
  • "We drove both the basic Cayman and the S at the launch event in Sweden where we confirmed … that the 2.0-liter's relative lack of urge when compared with the 2.5 is obvious only at the sort of commitment levels that risked getting us arrested and deported. As in the S, the smaller engine's abiding characteristic is its torque. … The result is the sort of effortless, any-gear progress of a big-cube powerplant." -- Car and Driver (2017)

Handling and Braking

The 718 Cayman is one of the most athletic cars in the class, with responsive steering and engaging handling. It comes only with rear-wheel drive, as a proper sports car should, and the suspension is well-balanced. Numerous performance upgrades are available, including an active suspension management system that lowers the ride height by 10 millimeters, torque vectoring (for more stable cornering), and ceramic brakes.

  • "World-class handling among sports cars. The Cayman S is incredibly balanced and stable when driven hard. Even over moderate midcorner bumps, handling is unaffected. Without stability control, the rear end will step out a bit, but it's very controllable and enjoyable." -- Edmunds
  • "Ride quality is incredibly compliant in easy driving, even on harsh highway expansion joints and is firm when you need it to be, especially with the optional active suspension management." -- New York Daily News (2017)
  • "We won't quibble with fractions, but we can attest to the fact the car reacted beautifully around the 12 corners and blind crests of the Sturup race track." -- Motor Trend (2017)

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