The Cayman is the sweet spot in the Porsche lineup for many. It's mid-engined handling bliss in a package that takes everything that's great about the Boxster and gives it the street cred of a 911 at a price more can hope to afford.
Since the introduction of the 718 Boxster and Cayman, some of the shine may have been taken off for some purists with its engines losing two cylinders and adding a turbo. Certainly the noise might not be what it had been, but the improved performance stats spot for themselves.
But now, the 718 Cayman GTS is here. Those three extra little letters signify that this should be the best the Cayman can be. I took out for a spin on road and track to see if that indeed is the case.
The 2.5-liter turbocharged flat-four engine is available with either a PDK dual-clutch transmission or a six-speed manual. As always, the PDK is quicker quicker to 60 mph at 3.9 seconds versus the manual's 4.4, but for real driving enjoyment you can't beat stirring the box yourself. Driving on both mountain roads and a twisty technical track, I certainly appreciated being able to shift fully for myself, but it's hard to argue with the precision and ease of the PDK. There's a reason many Porsches don't offer anything else.
Both versions are good for 360 horsepower, 15 more than the Cayman S on which it is based, but the PDK has slightly more torque at 317 pound-feet versus the manual's 310. Keep your foot down and both will get you up to 180 mph if you find a road long enough.
Where the 718 Cayman GTS shines, though, is not the stat sheet but out on the road, where all of the ingredients come together to form a car that can squeeze every last bit of fun from any road.
There is virtually nothing you can count against the 718 Cayman GTS, but there is something that will prevent it from hitting every single mark for some people. For all the improved performance, the sound of that turbocharged flat-four isn't as inspiring to some as its six-cylinder predecessor. The emotional connection to how a car sounds is strong. But for the same reason that some will pick the PDK over the manual gearbox, sometimes performance wins out. Porsche certainly thinks so, and for better or worse that's something we're all just going to have to get over.