Porsche 718 Cayman S: The everyday sports car


Porsche 718 Cayman S: The everyday sports car

Observer writer

Friday, January 10, 2020

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Balance is a significant element that is difficult to get right. That's what makes the 2020 Porsche 718 Cayman S so special. It's able to dole out the adrenalin-fuelled fun of a sports car and provide the practicality needed for everyday usage.

In 2016, the 718 moniker was added to the Cayman as homage to Porsche's 718 RSK sports car of the 1950s. On the surface the visual familial lines are there, but those steeped in the brand's lore can see the deeper connection with its namesake in the front and rear fenders. The shape is sleek and sexy, yet masculine and muscular. Sitting low on the 20-inch Carrera S wheels with their optional Satin Platinum paint, and with twin exhausts jutting out from the centre of the rear bumper, the Cayman is given an even more purposeful appearance. What is plain to see is that the Cayman is a two-seater, a concession to the sporty side of the balance box. You're not going to mistake it for the latest crossover sport utility vehicle.

Practicality elements are ticked once the doors are opened via standard keyless entry. Passengers sit low in the black, leather wrapped power adjustable seats giving them a racer's eye view over the slight visible arch of the front fenders. That doesn't distract from the high-quality materials and stylish design of the cabin. Soft touched everything blends seamlessly with metal accents. The Sport Chrono package adds an analogue clock to the middle of the dashboard for the traditional luxury vibe. Like the instrument cluster, the infotainment screen is large, clear and easy to operate, even anticipating when fingers approach it. Connectivity is as expected, while the BOSE Surround Sound system provides great audio within the compact soundstage that is the inside of the Cayman. There is storage inside, but personal items are best left to the bare minimum — better to be put into the front or rear trunk spaces due to the car's mid-engined layout.

On the road, the Cayman is a quiet comfortable car, hiding its true potential. Light noise from heavy suspension impacts do make it into the cabin, yet never disturb the chassis and serve as an occasional reminder about the performance of the Cayman. When one is done with things like auto start/stop for fuel efficiency during daily traffic and enjoying comforts like heated and cooled seats, there is SPORT and SPORT+ mode. Turn the steering mounted knob to any of those and the Cayman wakes up, filling the cabin with an aggressive exhaust note. Like a tiger ready to pounce, the turbocharged 2.5-litre four-cylinder boxer motor gives every bit of its 350bhp. Throttle response is even more immediate because of the lightning fast shifts from the Porsche PDK automatic transmission. Sixty miles per hour happens within the four second range on to a top speed of 178mph. For those just needing to tap into the super level of acceleration for brief moments, the Cayman can be made to unleash its full fury for 20 second bursts with the Sports Response button. The only thing more effortless than the Cayman's speed is it handling ability. Steering feel is near telepathic as the car's weight balance is centred on the driver. Carving corners is a literal term in the Porsche as it clips apexes at any velocity.

This all combines to allow the Porsche 718 Cayman S capacity to pull the sensation of performance out of any road and then simply retreat to comfortable motoring at a moment's notice, truly a driver's car that can deliver a rush of excitement and then deal with rush-hour traffic.

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