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2017 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS review

By David Morley, 14 Jan 2018 Reviews

2017 Porsche Cayman GTS review NW

More power and a better sound – what’s not to like?

Remember when The Simpsons was at its best?

You know, a few seasons in. After the animation had been cleaned up and Homer had handed over to Bart as the main culprit in the show’s misadventures. But before the feature-length film cash-in (Geez, what a turkey), and before Peter and Lois stole the show. Remember? Yeah, well that period was to The Simpsons what the GTS badge is to any Porsche of the last decade. It was a purple patch, the sweet spot, where every swing was a hit and every hit was out of the park.

And now the GTS badge is about to make a return on the Boxster and Cayman 718. Having just driven the Cayman S at PCOTY, I have questions.

Typically, Porsche started with the powerplant. Staying at 2.5 litres, the unit is fundamentally the S model’s engine, but with some important tweaks. Those start with a revised intake tract with greater volume. And with a new snail with variable vane-geometry tech, boost has jumped from a max of 1.1 bar to 1.3 bar.

2017 Porsche Cayman GTS review rear
Power now peaks at 269kW (11kW more than an S) and torque maxxes at 430Nm. That, says Porsche, will push the GTS to 100km/h in 4.1 seconds. Having just recorded very impressive figures in the Cayman S at PCOTY, I can well believe that claim.

The handling side of things is covered off with a revised version of PASM, while PASM Sport is optional and lowers the whole shebang another 10mm. There’s also Porsche’s PSM stability program and, since the Sport Chrono package is a GTS-standard fitment, you also get PSM Sport mode which allows for a rather larger degree of yaw angle when you’re up it for the rent. You also get standard torque vectoring, a mechanical diff lock and Porsche’s active engine mounts.

Porsche Cayman vs Audi TT S

Stock stoppers are iron rotors with a 330mm front and 290mm rear unit and four-pot calipers with the option of ceramic-composite anchors with bigger discs and six-piston fronts, painted, of course, bright yellow.

2017 Porsche Cayman GTS wheels
So how do you spot a Cayman or Boxster GTS? Look for the specific front apron and the dark-tinted tail-lights. The 20-inch black Carrera wheels and GTS badges are the other giveaways. Inside, it’s an Alcantara-fest with the stuff covering the seat inserts, roof lining and steering wheel. It’s everywhere.

I know the GTS is going to be quicker than a Boxster or Cayman S, but what I really want to know is if the new engine tune has given back any of the yowling refinement that was lost with the switch from an atmo flat-six to the turbo flat-four. Because that’s the deal breaker. I understand that fuel consumption and emissions concerns rule the world these days. But somehow, for a bloke like me, that was never justification enough to dump the flat-six. But knowing Porsche, there’s bound to be a way to make the new four-banger excite me like the old six did. Is this it, then?

Just for starters, there’s a bit more bite built into the chassis. Where the Cayman S will tend to understeer just a fraction at the limit, the GTS is a tad more likely to wag its tail.

2017 Porsche Cayman GTS interior
The extra power is not immediately obvious. But when you do really stretch it out to redline, it’s maybe a tiny bit more excited to get there. What you will have noticed long before that, however, is that the thing no longer sounds like a Subaru with a big tailpipe. Like I said, you won’t mistake it for a six, but Porsche has somehow managed to re-engineer a bit of the flat-six’s mystique into the aural delivery.

It’s still syrupy smooth, but now there’s a hint of that plaintive, seductive, moaning, wail that comes through the bulkhead at you. Suddenly, I’m interested again, because with the GTS, I can have the visceral noises and horsepower I love along with the emissions and fuel economy I (and Mother Earth) need.

2017 Porsche Cayman GTS speedo
The other question is whether the GTS treatment is worth the nearly 28-grand Porsche will ask for it. Your call. So is the seven-speed PDK at just on $6000 but, given the newfound purity of the GTS and the slick accuracy of the manual shifter, I struggle to see the point. You’ll find the new Boxster/Cayman GTS in Porsche showrooms from about March 2018.

STAR RATING 4.5/5

Like: All the stuff you loved with a much raunchier soundtrack
Dislike: Massive price jump over the S

2017 PORSCHE 718 CAYMAN GTS SPECS

Engine: 2497cc flat-4cyl, DOHC, 16v, turbo
Power: 269kW @ 6500rpm
Torque: 430Nm @ 1900-5000rpm
Weight: 1375kg
0-100km/h: 4.1sec (claimed)
Price: $173,100