|The new 718 Cayman gets styling tweaks and an all-new 300-hp turbo-four. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
You see, Porsche has long used a mix of integers, letters and words in its naming process, sometimes only referring to numbers like the original 356, the 901 that followed, the 911, 912, 914, 924, 928, 944, 959, 968, and so forth. These three-digit number sets were actually internal codes, with those noted being the most common
|The refreshed rear end looks fabulous. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
This makes Stuttgart’s decision to infuse some good old Porsche naming DNA into the Boxster and Cayman smart, as it ties these important entry-level sports cars more closely to the 911 Carrera they share some componentry with. See how I did that? I snuck “Carrera” into that last comment, another alpha name synonymous with the beloved 911 (and aforementioned supercar).
|These signature four-point LEDs are telltale signs of Porsche branding at night. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
I don’t know about you, but I’m willing to buy in to the marketing spin. After all, the original 718s were lightweight two-seat mid-engine roadsters (with a few coupes thrown in for good measure, and for higher track speed) powered by horizontally opposed four-cylinder engines, which pretty well sums up today’s 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman. Those spiritual predecessors were often dubbed “giant slayers” because the tiny, featherweight imps could out-manoeuvre their larger, more
|Track-tested cross-drilled rotors are easily up to road duty. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Of course, simply take one for a spin around the block and you’ll immediately know for yourself. I recently did just that with a bright “Racing Yellow” 718 Cayman, and went one step better on the track with a 718 Cayman S just last week, so trust me when I say the mid-engine 718 Cayman is one of the best handling Porsches ever created.
|The 718 Cayman’s rear fender ducts feed air to the engine. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Porsche even supplied my weeklong loaner with a six-speed manual… Yippee-ki-yay! Don’t get me wrong. I love the paddle-actuated seven-speed automated dual-clutch PDK too, and actually put it through its paces in the 718 Cayman S on the track. The non-S variant can hit 100 km/h in a mere 4.7 seconds with the Sport Chrono package added, while this manual is claimed to achieve the feat in 5.1 seconds. Not that you care, but the PDK gets an estimated 9.4 L/100km combined
|A single centre tailpipe denotes base 718 Cayman trim. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
In reality, other than the aforementioned key points our luxury-lined 718 Cayman tester has little in common with the purposefully hollowed-out shell of a sports car that stole through the circuitous tree-lined Nürburgring Nordschleife in its heyday, but that’s just fine with me. While the thought of doing likewise on the legendary Eifel Mountains track (or any old racecourse for that matter) sends tingles up the spine, for everyday use an RSK would be ridiculously impractical and likely quite uncomfortable.
|It might be entry-level, but the 718 Cayman is as nice inside as a 911. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Even the base model gets an impressive list of standard features adorning the revised sheetmetal and reworked interior, the list including gorgeous new 10-spoke 18-inch alloys, a new three-spoke leather-wrapped multifunction sport steering wheel (inspired by the 918 Spyder supercar no less), a 4.6-inch high-resolution colour TFT multi-info display, a new state-of-the-art infotainment touchscreen
|This mix of analogue and digital gauges is highly legible and classic Porsche. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Above and beyond this, my tester added a $1,980 navigation module to the aforementioned infotainment system, $2,650 14-way powered sport seats with memory, and a $1,570 Premium package with rain-sensing wipers, auto-dimming mirrors, heatable seats, and dual-zone auto climate control. The wheels were upgraded to a
|The large standard touchscreen is state-of-the-art tech. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Of course, the sky’s the limit when it comes to extras with this near-exotic brand, so go build one on Porsche Canada’s comprehensive online configurator and enjoy, although you might find it worthwhile to hang on until I finish telling you about my in-car experience, both on the road with the 718 Cayman and on the track with the 718 Cayman S.
|Let’s hope Porsche never stops building manual gearboxes. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Yes, I could never tire of rowing through the 718 Cayman’s six forward cogs, the manual’s gears ideally spaced, its action fluid, and precision exact, while clutch take-up is equally engaging. The engine makes sensational sounds, even more so in S tune with optional sport exhaust switched on, the auditory note as revs climb and resultant speed making it feel like anything but a four-cylinder. I promise you won’t
|As usual, Porsche sport seats are perfection. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
I’d probably stick with the manual gearbox too, although the PDK is so very good that it’s tempting, especially when factoring in the congested city traffic I live with more often than not. I know I’m not alone in my grumbling, which is reason enough the autobox is chosen more often than not.
|How’s that for deep? You can get a lot in the Cayman’s front trunk. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Now that I’m talking practical qualities, Porsche is one of the highest rated brands in J.D. Power’s Dependability and Initial Quality studies, while the 718 Boxster is first
|The rear cargo area is less accommodating, but very pretty with its thick metal strut brace. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Truly, the new 718 Boxster has it all covered. Stunning styling, phenomenal performance, a superbly crafted interior filled with top-tier features and state-of-the-art electronics, better usability than most of its mid-engine two-seat sport coupe peers, plus decent fuel economy. That it can be had for just $62,700 in base trim or $76,800 as the 718 Cayman S represents shockingly good value, the little Porsche worth every penny.
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