Clutch down - it’s beautifully weighted and lighter than before. Snick first - the gearbox is deliciously precise, just as before. Move off.
It’s better than before, honestly. Face facts: the old 2.7 actually felt a bit tardy. It had the chassis of the Cutty Sark powered by a calm southerly breeze. This little 2.0-litre turns that up to gale force by comparison, dishing up just the right amount of pace for a quick road car; in fact, 0-100mph in just over 11 seconds is properly fast.
Unlike some turbo units, it’s not horrendously boosty, either. Sure, there’s lag below 2000rpm, but higher in the rev range it’s less pronounced, and the torque feeds in relatively smoothly and predictably. It gives you more to work with in the mid-range as well. The 718 is infinitely more driveable in the real world than the old car as a result, and better placed to utilise the Cayman’s traditionally long gearing. Yet it will still rev its heart out to 7500rpm.
Granted, even at full chat it’s still nowhere near as melodic as the 981, but if you turn off the sports exhaust, which makes it unnecessarily boomy, it produces an arguably interesting series of tones.
So now you’re heading much faster towards that tight left-hander on your favourite back road than you would’ve been in the old 981; time to get on the brakes. The middle pedal is solid, inspiringly so, slowing you down confidently while acting as a fulcrum to jab the throttle between downshifts so you feel like Senna in that fabled clip from qualifying at Monaco in 1988.
Speed scrubbed, now turn in. You don’t think about the steering. The nose does what your hands, guided by your brain, are asking. This helm is so natural, with perfect weight build-up and accurate gearing. Negatives? A little more sensation through the wheel from the road surface and extra weight drop-off as you pick up understeer would be welcome.
The rest of the chassis is sublime, though. The way it settles mid-corner with sensational balance, or the slight rotation as you back off or feed on the power, is akin to alchemy in its execution. Meanwhile, the ride is as comfortable and well judged as it could be in a car built with performance at the forefront of the designer's mind.