Quick Spin

2017 Porsche 718 Cayman S Drivers' Notes | Simple, lightweight fun

Don't say it sounds like a Subaru.

  • Image Credit: Christopher McGraw
  • Engine
    2.5L Turbo H4
  • Power
    350 HP / 309 LB-FT
  • Transmission
    6-Speed Manual
  • 0-60 Time
    4.4 Seconds
  • Top Speed
    177 MPH
  • Drivetrain
    Rear-Wheel Drive
  • Engine Placement
  • Curb Weight
    2,988 LBS
  • MPG
    20 City / 26 Highway
  • Base Price
  • As Tested Price
For 2017, the Porsche 718 Cayman S received a whole host of updates. This includes a new engine, new styling and even a slight name change. Gone is the wonderful 3.4-liter naturally aspirated flat-six. In it's place is a torquey turbocharged 2.5-liter mill. You may not like the sound, but it's hard to argue with the results. The current car is both quicker and faster than the old one, hitting 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds. That's a factory number. Porsche has been known to underrate things like that.

This particular car is loaded with a number of go-fast goodies. This includes the PASM sport suspension that combines a 0.8-inch ride height reduction with Porsche's active dampening system. It's also equipped with the Sport Chrono package, torque vectoring and a smaller diameter GT Sport steering wheel. While it may be missing things like full power seats and keyless entry and ignition, those things don't matter when it comes to performance.

Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore: The 718 Cayman S is such an engaging machine. With its mid-engine layout and this smooth six-speed manual, it's the kind of car you just immersive yourself in and shut out the rest of the world. This example is sharp with its sapphire blue paint and snazzy, thinly spoked wheels. I think the Cayman has better proportions than the 911, and the design just flows better. It feels curvy yet taut. The only things I don't like are the plastic vent pieces, which seem cheap for a car carrying a sticker north of $82k, and the interior, which is too pedestrian for this price. Also, the turbo four sounds good, mostly, but it does get a little whiny at times. I did like the growl that's emitted when jabbing the throttle in first or second gear.

I love that Porsche brought back the 718 name. If you're a Porsche fan, you know what that number means, and if you're not, well it still sounds cool. Porsche has a strong corner on this market niche: somewhat reasonably priced mid-engine sports cars. The company knows its customers, and as the 718 Cayman illustrates, delivers what they want.

Senior Producer Christopher McGraw: I am in the camp that thinks the Cayman could be better than the 911 if Porsche ever let it. But right now it has a bit of a way to go. Sure, it looks incredible, better than the 911 in my opinion, and handles great, but I miss having six cylinders.

Maybe it was because I had just gotten out of the R8, but I was left wanting when it came to the sound. And the price tag in the $80k range, is a tough pill to swallow. A base 911 is $91K, and for the extra few thousand you get two more cylinders and 20 more horsepower.

That being said, this car is incredibly balanced, and while it isn't perfect, it was a lot of fun to drive.

Associate Editor Reese Counts: This was my first time behind the wheel of a Cayman. I had high expectations going in, as nearly everything I'd read or heard about the car was full of praise. After a short stint in the driver's seat, I walked away hugely impressed. All the acclaim seems to be warranted. Watch the video below for my full thoughts on the car.

Managing Editor Greg Rasa: This is a car in the Porsche tradition. Meaning: Light, nimble, fast, though not overly powerful. These days, we think of Porsche as a luxury brand, which is a logical frame of mind when you're spending Porsche money. But Porsches of old weren't luxurious. Really, they were kind of crude. Tools honed not for comfort but for one purpose — driving.

The Cayman's engine notes made me think of those 911s of yesteryear, whose engines in turn were a raucous reminder of their Volkswagen DNA. And no, this car's interior is not $82k worth of luxurious, the road noise is abundant, and it's just a bit inconvenient to get in and out of. But once you're in there, you're there — in the driver's seat, merged with the machine. You, the shifter, the throttle, the sharp steering, all working together.

Once you've reached your destination, you're treated to a fresh look at the Cayman. It's one of those cars you glance back at as you walk from driveway to house. Or you turn full around and walk back toward it to really take it in again. Looking at it is almost as good as driving it. If you're getting one of these, we highly recommend the blue.

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