2020 Porsche Cayman Performance Review


Performance: 9.7

The 2020 Porsche 718 Cayman checks all the boxes when it comes to performance. Each of the engines feels powerful and delivers quick acceleration, the ride remains smooth even over rough pavement, and the handling is sublime. This car is thrilling to drive whether you're jaunting around town or tearing it up on the track.

  • "The 718 Cayman, and its muscular stablemates, the 718 Cayman S and Cayman GTS, employ a choice of powerful horizontally opposed turbocharged engines, near-perfect front-to-rear balance and an impressive suspension setup that makes the 718 Cayman as comfortable on a track as it is on the open road." -- Kelley Blue Book (2019)
  • "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, impressively quick steering only enhances the 718 Cayman's razor-sharp reflexes." -- Autotrader (2018)
  • "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, though the PDK version is probably quicker." -- Edmunds (2018)

Acceleration and Power

The base Cayman and the Cayman T each feature a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. Some critics complain about the engine note, but this turbo-four provides plenty of oomph for just about all driving situations, and it delivers the kind of acceleration you want in a sports car.

According to Porsche estimates, the base Cayman dashes from zero to 60 mph in as little as 4.5 seconds when equipped with the Sport Chrono package and PDK transmission (detailed below). And keep in mind, this is the baby of the lineup.

The Cayman S comes with a 2.5-liter turbo-four that produces 350 horsepower and 309 pound-feet of torque. The S is even more exciting to drive thanks to its superior acceleration, and it makes the zero-to-60 sprint in as little as 4 seconds flat when properly equipped.

The Cayman GT4 and Cayman GTS each feature a 4.0-liter six-cylinder engine. The GTS has 394 horsepower and the GT4 has 414, and both make 309 pound-feet of torque. This is the first time in a few years that Porsche has offered the Cayman with a six-cylinder engine, and the GT4 is a new trim for 2020. The six-cylinder doesn't disappoint, and the GT4 is the fastest Cayman with a manual transmission, with a zero-to-60 time of just 4.2 seconds.

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, or PDK, transmission) in all but the GTS and GT4. Regardless of which gearbox you select, you're getting one of the best transmissions on the market.

At the time of writing, EPA fuel economy estimates for the 2020 Cayman are not yet available.

  • "… All three engines are capable and very quick. Regardless of engine, every Cayman comes standard with a slick six-speed manual transmission that ought to be the model by which every other manual transmission is judged. A quick-shifting seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission with steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles is an option." -- Car and Driver
  • "If you're not entranced by a super-sporty four-cylinder Cayman, the return of the cult favorite GT4 might be right up your alley. … Our early look had us finally confirm that right in the middle, buried behind you and your passenger, is a 4.0-liter, non-turbo flat-six engine with 414 horsepower and 309 lb-ft. That's significant, because while the rest of the world is making smaller, turbo or hybrid engines to pass ever-tighter emissions and noise regulations, Porsche has stuck to its guns with the Cayman GT4." -- 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)

Handling and Braking

Even among high-end sports cars, the Cayman stands out because of its handling. This Porsche feels buttoned-down at any speed, letting you tackle corners with confidence. Even with a focus on agility, the Cayman still manages to deliver a supple ride. All Cayman models come with rear-wheel drive.

Several performance features are available to make the Cayman even more athletic. These include torque vectoring, an active suspension system, and the Sport Chrono package, which includes additional drive modes, launch control, and a lap timer.

  • "The Cayman's willful chassis and telepathic steering transcend perfection. Credit the Cayman's mid-engine layout and sticky summer tires, which work together to provide the sports coupe with stunning balance and stability on twisty two-lane roads. But it's more than the layout or the tires alone; it's the fine-tuning magic that Porsche's engineers conjure during the development process. The Cayman is a sublime mix of heady handling and a relatively relaxed ride." -- Car and Driver
  • "When it comes to cornering, the mid-engine 718 Cayman, Cayman S and Cayman GTS are three of the world's greatest performers. Quick and agile, the 718 Cayman demonstrates remarkable stability and balance, responding without hesitation to even the slightest driver input regardless if it's during a feverish twisting uphill run, or a simple lane change on a freeway." -- Kelley Blue Book (2019)
  • "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 (2018)

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