The Porsche 718 Cayman is the cheapest sports car Stuttgart offers, but there is nothing entry-level about its performance.
When equipped with a seven-speed PDK gearbox, Porsche claims it will sprint from 0-100km/h in 4.9sec, or 4.7sec when fitted with the optional ($5330) Sport Chrono Package. Keep your foot pinned and Porsche claims you’ll pass 160km/h in 11.1sec, or 10.8sec if you’ve ticked the magic Sport Chrono box.
Porsche is lying. In actual fact the 718 Cayman is much quicker than its maker claims. Porsches are renowned for besting their performance claims, but we’ve never had a car smash its official figures by this margin before.
Launch control primed, the 718 bolted to 100km/h in just 4.38sec, undercutting the claim by an impressive 0.32sec. However, it was just getting started, storming to 160km/h in just 10.18sec, an incredible 0.62 quicker than Porsche’s official figures. From there it crossed the quarter mile in 12.65sec at 177.86km/h.
Remember, this is Porsche’s slowest and least powerful sports car, offering 220kW/380Nm from its 2.0-litre turbocharged flat four. Perhaps we shouldn’t have been surprised by the numbers – though we were! – as its bigger brother, the 718 Cayman S, clocked an outrageous 3.95sec to 100km/h and a 12.02sec 0-400m at 189.12km/h during PCOTY 2018 testing.
'Cheap' and cheerful: 718 Cayman review
To illustrate what a quantum leap the 718 is over its predecessor, consider that when we performance tested the 981 Cayman back in 2015 – again as a PDK – it took 5.80sec to hit 100km/h and required 13.93sec to complete the quarter mile at a terminal speed of 163.38km/h.
That’s the value of torque. While the two models’ power-to-weight ratios are quite similar, the 718’s 161kW/tonne playing the 981’s 152kW/tonne, the new turbo engine murders its 2.7-litre naturally aspirated predecessor when it comes to twist, offering 278Nm/tonne to the 981’s 218Nm/tonne.
Is the extra speed worth losing that old flat-six scream? Debatable. But the debate is only going to rage on as the next Cayman is rumoured to be adopting electric drive, meaning it’ll be even quicker against the clock but make no noise at all!