What is it?
The Porsche Cayman GTS is the new top-of-the-pile version of the firm’s mid-engined two-seat sports coupe. And there has never been a quicker or more powerful one.
Even the stripped-out, diamond-hard 2011 Cayman R made do with 11bhp and 7lb ft less than this, and took four tenths longer to hit 62mph. None of which really helps classify this wonderful introduction, because despite all that, the Cayman GTS isn’t a replacement for the old ‘R’.
While the latter was a fairly short-lived trackday hell-raiser with aluminium doors and a standard specification that chucked out the radio, the air conditioning and even the interior doorhandles, the former is a simpler and more livable prospect. It gets more standard equipment, more power and a more focussed dynamic setup than a normal ‘S’ – and it costs more than the old ‘R’ did.
Over and above ‘S’ specification, the GTS adds 20in alloy wheels, a retuned PASM adaptively damped suspension setup with 10mm taken out of the normal ride height, Porsche’s Sport Chrono package with dynamic engine mounts, sports seats ‘plus’, bi-xenon cornering headlights, a sports exhaust, special bumper styling, a new rear spoiler and a tastier-looking steering wheel.
For that, as well as the revisions to the cylinder head that produces the additional 15bhp and 7lb ft, Porsche charges a premium of just under £7k. But add as much of that as possible as optional kit on a Cayman S and you’ll end up within just £800 of the Cayman GTS’ price anyway.
What's it like?
Probably the best new sports car of 2014. Which will come as a massive surprise to those who know how great Caymans are to drive generally, and how highly we’ve praised them over the years.
But not only that, it’s also a clearly superior sports car than the Boxster GTS we reviewed recently – and by a bigger margin that you’d credit given how closely related the two cars are.
You’ll value quality over quantity of performance to justify spending £55k on a Cayman – but that’s all part of the appeal. This is, after all, BMW M4 money – and the BMW is half-a-second quicker to 62mph, and probably quicker still in real-world conditions thanks to all that twin-turbocharged torque.
The connoisseur chooses the sharpness of response and the gathering noise and force of the Porsche’s naturally aspirated power delivery every time. Blipping the Cayman’s accelerator for a downshift and then leaving it pinned to the carpet on a delicious run to the 7800rpm redline is like immersing yourself in oily, tuneful perfection.
The car isn’t breathtakingly fast, but every bit as quick as a sports car intended to be driven on the road in 2014 needs to be – and rowing your way up and down the box for sharper corners and overtakes only makes the driving experience more vivid.
The car’s controls are beautifully harmonized. Dip the middle-weighted, long-travel clutch pedal and you know exactly how much effort you’ll need to operate the gearlever and steering wheel, and can even gauge the initial takeup of the brakes. The primary ergonomics are spot on, too. You won’t find better placed pedals for heel-and-toe gearchanges in any other car in the world.