Cayman GTS

Is Porsche’s 718 Cayman GTS Better Than The Old GT4?

The steady march of progress often comes with some compromises. In Porsche’s case, the naturally aspirated 981-generation GT4 has given way to faster and more capable turbocharged 718-generation mid-engine monsters. With a flatter torque curve and an earlier power delivery, the 718 Cayman GTS puts up a faster lap-time at nearly any track than the GT4 of just a couple years ago, even on less sticky tires. The chassis has been improved for maximum grip, a new turbocharged four-cylinder has been mounted where that glorious 3.8-liter flat-six once sat, and the electronics have all been exploited to make the driver near God-like. Is it better? In many ways, yes.

One only needs to watch this great video from Matt Farah on The Smoking Tire channel on YouTube to get a good comparison between the two Porsches. While Matt seems content to trade audible engagement for speed and torque, I am not quite as sold on the new car. The first few minutes of the video are at the wheel of a friend’s GT4, and that sound is second to none. It may well be one of the best sounding cars Porsche has ever built. It’s high on induction noise and that exhaust note is just mind-bendingly lovely. Both the 718 and the 981 are incredible in their own ways, but I’ll take the keys to the one with the wing every time.

The rumor mill is churning with reports that a new GT4 is coming, and it’ll be powered by a detuned version of the current GT3’s 4-liter naturally aspirated flat six. I count that as a victory for potential GT4 buyers, because the improved 718 chassis will pair quite well with the big six. As long as it’s still available with a manual transmission, it will take the new mantle. For now, maybe lease a 718 for a while and wait for the new GT4 to launch.

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Essai : PORSCHE 718 Cayman GTS

S’il se décline désormais en GTS, le Porsche 718 Cayman conserve son 4-cylindres boxer. Fort désormais de 365 ch et doté d’un châssis affûté, procure-t-il le frisson que suggère son appellation ?

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Essai Porsche 718 Cayman GTS : à une voix près

En renonçant à deux cylindres en 2016, le Cayman avait perdu un peu de sa superbe au panthéon des voitures de sport. Plus puissante, plus sportive, plus raffinée, la version GTS peut-elle changer la donne ?

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Seeking The Greatest Road In The World In A Porsche 718 Cayman GTS

The section of C-28 highway, known as ‘Puerto De La Bonaigua’ is a sinewy ribbon of road on the Spanish side of the border between France and Spain. Having lived in Spain myself for a while, I have been on some pretty amazing mountain roads, and find it not difficult to believe that this one might be an incredible route. Greatest in the world is extremely high praise for an as yet largely unknown highway in the Pyrenees, but based on Henry Catchpole’s assessment in this latest video from Carfection, it doesn’t seem all that far fetched. Of course, any upper-tier road will feel far better than the sum of its parts when driven in something as magical as Porsche’s 718 Cayman GTS.

The road itself is a twisting switchback of a thing, running up to a gorgeous skiing mountain. If you’re not going skiing, you can easily zoom up to the top and run down the other side for a different kind of exercise. If you’re looking for a road to aspire to drive, ship your car to Spain immediately, because this looks like some of the best driving in the world. Catchpole has been driving professionally for quite a few years, so if he says it’s a great road, it must be absolutely stellar.

As great as the 718 Cayman GTS might be, Catchpole (like myself), just can’t get over the turbocharged flat-four’s exhaust soundtrack. To his ears, it’s harsh, gruff, gravelly, and not very inspiring, which is a stark difference from the delightful flat-six the car used to be powered by. Regardless of the audio profile, the 718 continues to impress with perhaps the best driving dynamics Porsche has ever sold to the public. This is an incredibly capable Porsche in its own right, and is perhaps one of the best brand new rides with which to tackle the alleged ‘greatest road’.

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718 Cayman GTS – The Last Porsche I Plan to Own

I used to be your typical car enthusiast – seems like as soon as I made a new car purchase I’d be sniffing around for the next acquisition. I’d fall in love with a new release and then find myself at the annual auto show with no real serious intent or purpose, but then leave the event with the cerebral seeds planted.

When I purchased my 2009 Porsche Cayman, that routine came to a grinding halt. My activity in the PCA offered plenty of opportunity to salivate over some obnoxiously absurd machines from Stuttgart, most of which are well out of my fiscal stratosphere. But nothing within my reach could have dissuaded me from a car I truly treasured.

Accruing mileage was the ultimate motivation for trading my Cayman on a 2016 Macan S. I was well out of warrantee, so at 75,000 miles every minute behind the wheel was an adventure in white-knuckled anxiety. Not your representative Porsche owner, my Cayman was not only a daily driver but also my only mode of transportation.

The Macan was an extraordinary and even practical sports car clothed as a most unique SUV

Next to my Cayman it was the best handling car I’d ever owned. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the mid-engine performance and agility. So within a couple years I flipped the Macan for a 718 Cayman base coupe. I was content – or so I thought.

At 300 hp and 280 lb-ft torque, the 718 outperforms my first Cayman – and the deficient exhaust note that many in my Porsche community warned would send me into the pre-owned market really hadn’t deterred me. The motor is persuasively potent, and I can manage the infamous turbo lag with conscientious squeezing of the throttle on launch.

If I’m honest, the only way to get me out of this car would be to produce a better 718, which is exactly what Porsche did. I admit I’ve pined for years in hopes of possessing the pinnacle of all Porsche models – the GTS. But doing so would require a much different perspective in my history of ownership in that I’d want this one to last forever.

The GTS Models

Porsche has now announced the 718 Cayman and Boxster GTS models, and will be delivering them in the spring. By then I’ll be planning weekend jaunts, drive and dines and attending preseason cars and coffee gatherings. And of course there’s every probability I’ll run into a GTS or two before June – so there’s really no chance in avoiding them.

Should there in fact be an acquisition in my future, it would have to be judiciously configured with the most discerning of options. And because it would be configured exactly how I want and need it, the end result would not be cheap. But it would also be a Porsche I would enjoy until I no longer can.

Because of this, I would become one of those Porsche owners I used to make fun of – an investment residing quietly in comfortable quarters, appearing from its hermetically sealed bubble only when it was time to come out and play. Not exactly what I’ve been used to, but required to secure longevity.

So this presents a problem for me

Partly because my Cayman is only six months old – but also because the GTS adds more than ten grand on the top of an already pricier 718 Cayman S variant. So getting into one will take some serious finagling (and probably a bank heist) as the GTS is nearly twice the cost of the car I drive now.

Like my first Cayman, the 718 was delivered in entry-level trim (if you can say that about any Porsche). It does boast the PDK gearbox and some insignificant options selected mostly for passenger comfort. It is otherwise adorned by its maker with what all 718 models are born with – and not much else.

Conversely, the GTS is pretty well loaded to start with

It sports the enhanced S motor resourcefully dialed up to 365 hp with torque that initiates slightly over idle. Add to that the Sport Chrono Package, Torque Vectoring, and Porsche Active Suspension Management as standard features and you have some serious hardware.

Sport exhaust is also standard, and the tips that extend from underneath are matte black – matching the twenty inch wheels and other sinister looking accents, making the 718 Cayman GTS look seriously pissed off. The traditional Alcantara interior is distributed liberally throughout the cabin complimenting other GTS interior trimmings.

But the base sticker is north of $80,000 US dollars, which is just a tick below the original price of the GT4 when it was first introduced two years ago. The GTS therefore begins at the peak of my price point, and I know very well that when it comes to selecting options, addition for me will only occur by subtraction.

I only get one shot

I realize that for many of you the incremental cost is relative, but I only have one shot to get this right, as this is very likely the last Porsche I will ever own. at 59 I’m about to enter my seventh decade, and I anticipate driving this car for ten years or more – which means with any luck I’ll be in my seventies when I decide to put it (and myself) out to pasture.

If this acquisition is meant to be, it will do so on its own timetable as the all-in cost is likely to hit the century mark by the time I’m done checking boxes. The cost per mile will be significantly higher than any car I’ve ever had, and I can only justify this extravagance with the value of a grin permanently plastered on my smug face.

The GTS already has most of what anyone might want out of the box
However, as much as I like to select my own gears I’m also smitten with the PDK gearbox. I’ve driven too many Porsches equipped with this magically instinctive option, so add four grand to the invoice right out of the box. I rely on GPS navigation, so toss in another two thousand for that.

Entry-level trim does not belong on a car like this. Fortunately, I like the standard Alcantara but I’d have to add deviated stitching for the seats and GTS headrest emblem just because it looks that good. Required packages for this combination increase the invoice another four thousand.

I’ve already priced out a 718 Cayman GTS on the Porsche website – and being fairly frugal, I am still looking at about $95,000. If I add in the irresistible carbon fiber trim, fire extinguisher and a few somewhat frivolous options, I am over one hundred grand without even paying Uncle Sam and his offspring their cut.

Will I a GTS find its way to my garage?


I’d like to say that I expect a future purchase sooner than later, but the honest truth is that there are life events that will have to come first. Trading up to the GTS with a six-month-old car is not the most cost-effective plan from a perspective of value, and other things (like a pending home purchase) stand squarely between me and a dream.

Maybe in a year or so when things settle down I can once again ponder the possibilities. But for now it’s looking like finding a GTS in my newly acquired garage isn’t based in realistic thought. I hope that one day soon that time will arrive, and I’ll willingly trade in my 718 (along with a large sum of cash) for the last Porsche I’ll ever own.

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