Porsche 718 Cayman review – engine and gearbox

A pair of four-cylinder engines, now thankfully joined by a pair of 4-litre sixes. Excellent manual and PDK gearboxes remain

Evo rating
Price
from £44,790
  • Beautifully balanced chassis, styling, brilliant GT4
  • Four-cylinder engines still disappointing, options can be pricey

The 718 Cayman’s 2- and 2.5-litre motors are unashamedly boosted, but they do produce some impressive figures. The 2-litre of the Cayman and Cayman T develops 296bhp, while the 2.5-litre makes 345bhp in the S. The peak power for each car comes in at 6500rpm.

The biggest advantage of the new engines is the useable torque they both produce. The standard Cayman makes 280lb ft from 1950 to 4500rpm and the S 310lb ft from 1900 to 4500rpm.

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This abundance of torque helps the 718 overcome the one chink in the old Cayman’s otherwise blemish-free armour – its long gearing. The 3.4-litre engine in the old Cayman S only managed 273lb ft at a lofty 4500rpm and so the tall ratios often made it feel a bit gutless in slower corners, or when the engine wasn’t quite on song.

For the torque-rich turbo engines, the lack of low-down muscle isn’t a problem. You don’t necessarily change gear any more frequently than before, given the wide torque bands in each gear, but there’s now less penalty for an early change simply to enjoy the tactile, mechanical action.

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With a naturally aspirated four-litre flat-six, there are times when the range-topping Cayman GT4 can actually feel a little flat next to the turbocharged models – when punching out of a tight hairpin, for example.

Stick with it. The 414bhp output needs revs to achieve, and this is an engine that doesn’t reach its fuel cut until 8000rpm. Similarly, the 310lb ft peak torque figure requires 5000rpm on the clock to achieve, though it does last until 6800rpm, and as a four-litre engine in a relatively light car, there’s of course more shove lower down the rev range.

The engine itself is effectively a development of the 3-litre in the 992, albeit without turbocharging. A six-speed manual is standard, with a PDK on the way in the near future. Gearing is once again an issue though – a ’box that can pull 85mph in second gear can only provide you with limited high-rev thrills at legal speeds. The auto rev-matching is useful, and can thankfully be turned off with a button press for those who prefer the DIY method.

Porsche’s PDK gearbox – a £2000 option – is one of the best dual-clutch transmissions you can buy. It reacts relatively intuitively left to its own devices, while changes are quick, crisp, and aren’t accompanied by an unnecessary wave of torque or an uncomfortable jolt.

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