Since its first launch 12 years ago, the Porsche Cayman has maintained its winning formula as a rear-wheel drive, mid-engine sports car. Combining performance with excellent handling, it is one of the entry level models of Porsche. We recently test drove the latest version of the model, the Porsche 718 Cayman, which is the base model under the 718 Cayman S and 718 Cayman GTS during an event held at the Eurokars Group’s Porsche Center in Surabaya last November. For the fourth generation, the Porsche added the 718 monikers to the Boxster and the Cayman models. The 718 name pays tribute to the brand’s heritage; the mid-engine sports car won numerous races such as the Targa Florio and Le Mans in the 1950s and 1960s.
The test unit comes in a sporty bright red paint with black interior. The model is powered by the base engine, a 2,000-cc flat four-cylinder turbocharged engine that generates 300 horsepower and a peak torque of 380 Nm that is available from 1,950 rpm to 4,500 rpm. The peak torque that can be obtained from low rpm certainly helps the response of the car and makes it a better car in normal street driving. With the sport chrono package and the double clutch transmission, the car claims to be able to sprint from halt to 100 km/h in 4.7 seconds. It is also able to reach a top speed of 275 km/h.
In the package, the car also offers a driving mode knob that is positioned on the steering wheel that makes it easier to switch between modes. It also adds the sport response button on the knob, where it will make the car drop down in gear and makes the turbo spool faster and makes it easier to overtake cars on the road. Enhancing the handling of the car is an optional Porsche Torque Vectoring and sport suspension that will lower the car by 10 mm.
Inside the cabin, like the 718 Boxster, the design has been revamped. The upper part of the dash panel now houses air vents and it has a new sport steering wheel with a design influenced by the Porsche 918 Spyder, the hypercar from the brand. The Cayman delivers similar driving experience like the Boxster, the ride quality is quite comfortable for a sportscar and is enjoyable for normal drive on the streets. One difference is that the Cayman felt more rigid as it is not a convertible like the Boxster. However, on the streets the difference can hardly be felt. The seats in the test unit are very comfortable with soft padding.
For better handling than its predecessor, the chassis has retuned shock absorbers with firmer springs and stabilizers, while the rear wheels are one-half inch wider for better grip and traction. The steering itself is claimed to be 10% more direct and is a big appeal for the car, it is decently weighted, precise, while still enjoyable in normal drive. The steering rack itself is an electric power steering system and Porsche did a very good job in tuning the system to be able to deliver such an excellent steering feel. The driving position is also spot on, it feels sporty, but you still have a good view of the road. The visibility from inside the cabin is excellent, and you can see the wheel arches in the front that helps you point the car on the road.
We tested the car on a crowded street on a Saturday afternoon in Surabaya, where some of the roads are narrow and abound with motorcycles. It is still easy to drive the car as the visibility is very good and you can point the car accurately with no problem. The big question is, is the entry level model of the 718 Cayman an appealing sports car? With the base engine and its horsepower figure, some purist may see it as slightly underpowered. But one must remember that the car only weighs slightly below 1.4 tons and combined with the powertrain, transmission, and handling, it is still very appealing and solid. Braking is also a solid point of the car; the pedal feel is excellent and the stopping force adequately good. The car is fitted with the same brakes found in previous Cayman S models that use 330 mm brake discs in the front and 299 mm disc brakes in the rear.
A little bit more power will be nice but the performance is still adequate for some excitement on the road. For more power one can opt for the S and GTS model that has a bigger engine and power, but it also comes with a much higher price tag. Those who wish a sports car as a daily driver while still being a car with excellent driving dynamic, it’s hard to find an alternative to the Cayman.