Over four laps of the Ascari Resort track, fairly damn good. Is it transformed from a standard 718 Cayman? No. Does it render a GT4 replacement redundant? No. Is it the greatest mid-engined sports car to ever grace this planet thanks to a standard sports exhaust? No.
Perhaps those points are obvious, although on occasion it seems a few get a little carried away with the talents of these tinkered Porsches. In all honesty it would take a back-to-back comparison with a regular 718 S to truly identify the differences; that wasn’t possible this time, so let’s run through what’s good and not so good about the Porsche 718 Cayman GTS.
It’s fast, certainly. Although the gains for this car are modest, all of the turbocharged 718s feel very punchy because of the torque increase; everything around you is familiar as a Cayman, except the way it’s pulling so hard from 2000rpm. That and the noise, of course, but we’ll deal with that. The point is that the GTS will satisfy all but the most ardent of speed freaks, is responsive to all inputs and is eager all the way to 7000rpm and beyond.
The best bit of this car however, and arguably of all Caymans, is the way it handles. It’s vice-free, mid-engined sports car nirvana. There are all the best bits of putting the engine directly behind the driver with seemingly none of the drawbacks. It’s a guilt-free bacon sandwich, a pub crawl without the hangover, paintballing that doesn’t leave you in agony.
So it’s agile and precise and direct, but not spiky if you misjudge anything. Lift mid-corner or brake at an inopportune moment – easily done on Ascari’s labyrinthine 26-corner layout – and the GTS doesn’t punish or rebuke; it’s far too assured for that. You may feel the mass move around, but it’s never intimidating.
And that’s when you get it wrong; get it right and the Cayman is superb, to a point that rivals such as the BMW M2, Audi TT RS and Jaguar F-Type could never hope to match. It’s impeccably damped, finely balanced and immensely rewarding, even when the instructor tells you off for trying a little too hard...
So what’s the problem? In all honesty it’s hard to detect much difference from the standard Cayman S, but the more pressing issue is the noise. Yes, still. Whatever has changed for the GTS sports exhaust has made the boxer drone more prominent, more audible and more annoying. In previous six-cylinder versions the sports exhaust button was permanently illuminated; here it’s never selected, and that seems rather a shame for a 180mph sports car.