Downsized but downhearted? Porsche launches 4-cylinder 718 Cayman

Fewer cylinders, more power

PORSCHE HAS revealed the new 718 Cayman sports car at the Beijing motor show, and its introduction is bound to cause murmurs of discontent amongst fans of the German marque.

The car features a new generation of four-cylinder, “boxer” engines that have been ushered in to help improve fuel economy and emissions, replace the flat-six cylinder motors and distance the Cayman from the 911 range. But as Driving found when it tested the latest 718 Boxster, the Cayman’s droptop sister car, the downsizing move is likely to leave some drivers feeling downhearted.

Like the Boxster, the 2016 Cayman coupé gets a substantial redesign of its bodywork to complement the mechanical makeover, and a modest tweak of the cabin.

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However, it’s what’s under the skin that is attracting the most attention. The standard Cayman is fitted with a 2-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged engine that develops 296bhp. It’s said to propel the car from standstill to 62mph in 4.7 seconds and the top speed is 170mph, while fuel economy is 38.2mpg – a modest improvement from the 35.7mpg of the outgoing Cayman.

Engineers have retuned the springs, anti-roll bars and dampers, and the steering system is said to be 10% more direct. However, the new model is actually heavier than the old six-cylinder Cayman.

Drivers who pick the optional Sport Chrono Package and the Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) electronically-controlled rear limited slip differential can adjust the car’s behaviour at the touch of a button.

Another option is Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) which lowers the car’s ride height by 10 mm lower.

It comes with a six-speed gearbox as standard, priced from £39,878. A PDK automatic model costs from £41,800.

The next step up the latest 718 Cayman ladder is the S model. It features a 2.5-litre version of the four-cylinder turbocharged engine, which develops 345bhp. That increase in power means the S version can accelerate from 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds with a manual transmission, and as low as 4.2 seconds when fitted with a PDK and launch control system.

Top speed is 177mph and fuel economy is 34.9mpg for the manual model. The 718 Cayman S costs from £48,834, or £50,756 with PDK. The 718 Cayman S models can have PASM with a 20mm lower ride height for the first time.

The revised Cayman is available to order now, and UK deliveries will begin in the autumn.

However, it won’t have an easy time of it. As well as the controversial change to dropping its signature six-cylinder engine, the Cayman must face the new 2016 Audi TT RS, which features a charismatic five-cylinder engine and is substantially more powerful and faster than the Cayman S.