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COUPE DE GRACE (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
Poor man's Porsche or the world's finest all-round driver's sportscar? Jonathan Crouch checks out the Porsche 718 Cayman coupe.
Ten Second Reviewword count: 73
This 718 Cayman ditches the old flat six engine of its predecessors in favour of a more efficient turbocharged four cylinder powerplant for mainstream varaints, yet still offers more power. As for the name, well in case you were wondering, the '718' reference refers not to the engine but a series of classic Porsche mid-engined models that won numerous races in the 1950s and '60s. Enough with the briefing; what's this car like?
Backgroundword count: 154
As ever, Porsche determinedly refutes suggestions that what we have here is simply 'a Boxster with a roof' but that's essentially what it boils down to. Not that there's much wrong with that, the exemplary handling balance of the brand's entry-level model enhanced by a body almost twice as stiff, enough to make this car the darling of the red mist brigade in the motoring press, if not as strong a seller as its maker would have liked. So what to do? Porsche could certainly make this car quicker, even sharper to drive, more efficient to run and higher tech to use - and sure enough, all of that was done for the launch of the original version of this third generation model, back in 2013. It wasn't quite enough, even with the subsequent launch of more focused GTS and GT4 versions. Will this 718 version fare any better? It'll be interesting to see...
Driving Experienceword count: 324
So, what's it like? Well, the cabin envelopes you like a proper sports car should. You sit low, and there are no seats behind you; just a bulkhead that separates you from the flat four turbo engine, just thirty centimetres from the small of your back. That'll be either a 2.0-litre 300PS unit if you've opted for the standard Cayman or Cayman T. Or a 2.5-litre 350PS powerplant if you've chosen the Cayman S. If you're wondering, that's now equal to what you'd get from the same engines fitted to equivalent Boxster models. If you want a six cylinder engine, there's also a 4.0-litre 400PS unit for the Cayman GTS, also available in 420PS form in the track-focused Cayman GT4. All the powerplants are, as ever in a Cayman, mid-mounted, that being the major point of differentiation between this entry-level Porsche coupe and its pricier 911 stablemate, which has its powerplant slung out behind the back wheels. Here, in contrast, it's hunkered down in the middle of the car, something that has all sorts of beneficial effects on this car's handling dynamics. Even if you don't plan to thrash round the Nurburgring, you'll notice a balance and friendliness to a driving experience that feels, well, just right. You'll be wanting some numbers. The basic 2.0-litre Cayman with a PDK auto 'box and the Sport Chrono package will accelerate to 62mph in 4.7 seconds and run onto 170mph. Go to the other extreme and plump for a 2.5-litre Cayman S with PDK and Sport Chrono and you'll be able to demolish the 62mph sprint in just 4.2 seconds with the engine pulling strongly from 4,000rpm and taking on a lovely guttural bark as the revs rise towards the red line and the cars hurls itself on towards a top speed of 177mph.Turn-in is crisp at whatever speed you choose and body roll's well contained too. What we have here is a masterclass in sportscar excellence.
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Category: Sporting Cars
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