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TEST DRIVE: Porsche 718 Cayman GTS

David Haueter test drives the Porsche 718 Cayman GTS…

Photo: David Haueter

Porsche currently offers three different 718 Cayman models in their lineup, from the 300hp base model to the 365hp GTS, with the 350hp Cayman S slotted neatly in between the two.

As the top-of-the-line Cayman, the Cayman GTS delivers performance that is on par with the more expensive 911 Carrera model and can effortlessly change roles between everyday road car and track day use.

Porsche uses the GTS moniker to identify models that are more sporting both mechanically and visually than lower-level models.

In the case of the Cayman GTS, it has 15hp more than the Cayman S, thanks to a revised intake manifold and a larger turbo compressor that allows for more turbo boost. It also comes standard with the Sport exhaust, Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) and a limited slip differential.

Photo: David Haueter

Visually, the GTS is distinguished by black accents, larger air intakes and 20” Carrera S wheels on the outside and alcantara trim and Sport Plus seats on the inside. A 6-speed manual is still offered, which is becoming harder to find, with the PDK dual-clutch transmission optional.

All of the Cayman models are attractive, but the GTS is especially so as the larger wheels and black accents give it more street presence, especially when combined with the Racing Yellow paint on our test car. I love the size of the Cayman.

It’s big enough to feel substantial and be comfortable enough to take on a long highway drive, but it’s small enough to feel like you’re a part of the car when you’re in the seat. It is a bit tight in the legroom area for me at 6’5” but it’s not uncomfortable.

Photo: David Haueter

Options on our test car included the PDK transmission ($3,730) the optional Ceramic Composite Brakes ($7,410) and the PASM Sport Suspension ($290), which lowers the ride height by 20mm and has stiffer springs and roll bars than the standard PASM calibration.

Curb weight on the Cayman GTS comes in at 3,098 pounds with the PDK transmission, which is only 99 lbs. less than the 911 Carrera. 0-60 goes by in 4.1 seconds with PDK and 4.4 seconds with the manual transmission, which is on par with the 911 but also nearly identical to the less expensive Cayman S.

The Cayman GTS may not be a lot faster than the Cayman S, but it’s still a good deal when you consider the standard equipment on the GTS model versus the S.

It also feels more special to drive, with the aggressive appearance and the more upscale interior, along with the more sporting nature that comes with the Sport exhaust and the PASM suspension.

Photo: David Haueter

With 365hp on tap, the Cayman GTS is very fast, but more importantly, the 309 lb-ft of torque comes in at 1,900rpm, which makes the Cayman GTS pull hard off the line and out of corners. The Sport exhaust may be a bit too loud for some as a daily driver, but it certainly raises the sport quotient.

One wish is that the car sounded better at idle and low revs. Even with the Sport exhaust it’s a bit uninspiring until you get the revs up.

The overall balance of the Cayman GTS (all Cayman’s really) is superb with the mid-engine layout, and Porsche has done a fantastic job with the PASM suspension.

The ride is always sportscar-firm, after all this is a Cayman and not a Panamera, but the softest setting allows for a compliant enough ride to use as a daily driver, while raising it a level or two improves handling noticeably on a twisty road.

The relative compliance of the ride was especially impressive on our test car considering it had 20” wheels and the optional PASM Sport suspension.

Photo: David Haueter

I spent a morning at Monticello Motor Club with the Cayman GTS as well, and it was very impressive on the track for a road car on street tires. Cars that feel well-balanced and predictable on the road often can’t hack it once they’re exposed to the more extreme requirements of the track, but the Cayman GTS felt like it was made for it.

The car displayed the same balance it has on the road, was very stable at high speed and the brakes were strong and held up well to a few track sessions.

Overall, the Cayman GTS is one of the best sportscars you can buy for under $100,000 (MSRP is $80,700).

The question that many Porsche buyers may grapple with is if it’s worth the price premium over the $69,300 Cayman S. If you want the ultimate performance in a Cayman, the GTS is the one to choose, but you can’t lose with either.

For more information, visit www.porsche.com/usa/models/718/718-gts-models/

Photo: David Haueter

David Haueter (@InfoTrends_DH) has been an automotive writer and photographer for the past 20 years. His writing and photos have been published in Roundel, Bimmer, Forza and Excellence and SportsCarInsider.com as well as other automotive and racing magazines.

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