2021 Porsche 718 Cayman T review: Sports car purity

If I had my druthers, there would be a Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 in my garage. It’s a brilliant car to drive with a flat-aspirated six-cylinder engine, top-notch dynamics and good looks. But that size also comes with a six-figure price tag. Ouch. If it’s a little too rich for your blood, but you want a truly rewarding experience, could I suggest you check out the 2021 Porsche 718 Cayman T?

Like it

  • Mid-engine balancing
  • Responsive and communicative guide
  • Lively turbo engine

I do not like

  • The engine note is not sensational
  • No Android Auto

Optimized base

The T is based on the base 718 Cayman, powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. While those aren’t staggering numbers, they’re more than repairable, taking this 3,065-pound coupe to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds with the standard six-speed manual transmission. Those who rack up an additional $ 3,730 for Porsche’s PDK dual-clutch gearbox can do the 60 mph sprint in 4.5 ticks. The maximum speed for both transmission configurations is 170 mph.

As for power, the flat-four base provides more than enough. The Cayman T comes off the line well and the engine delivers a robust mid-range grunt for firing out of corners. Power hardly diminishes as you approach the 7,500rpm red line and this machine is a joy to command while working with the smooth manual gearbox. Throttle response is also snappy with pedal placement that’s ideal for heel and toe pairing. If there’s one thing Porsche fans will beat, however, it’s the engine note. For me it’s not terrible, especially with the sports exhaust. But it certainly doesn’t hold a candle to the glorious noise singing a real six flat.

Acceleration times and v-max numbers aren’t what the Cayman T is really about. Instead, it’s the overall experience. To enhance that, the T gets some standard chassis goodies that weren’t previously available on the entry-level 718, such as Porsche’s sports suspension trim reducing ground clearance by 20 millimeters, active transmission mounts, a mechanical limited-slip differential, 20 inch Carrera S rims and the Sport Chrono Package.

All this contributes to making the Cayman T an eye-catching specimen, especially with the Sport Plus transmission setting on. It turns on a penny and the electromechanical steering system provides oodles of feedback. There is hardly any dip under braking and there is little or no body lean. The 20-inch staggered Pirelli P Zero tires offer tons of grip and this balanced driving behavior makes me long for track time to safely find the 718’s dynamic limits.

When it comes time to simmer for everyday commutes or road trips, the Cayman T is still very capable. Taking it to Normal mode softens the shock absorbers, providing some city driving compliance, which is no easy feat on a car shod with 35 Series tires. Don’t expect to float imperceptibly on every road imperfection. , but small to medium impacts are mostly absorbed and even larger spots don’t rock the cabin. The Cayman T is also relatively fuel efficient, returning an EPA-estimated 20 miles per gallon in the city and 26mpg on the highway.

The Cayman T is fitted with 20-inch Carrera S wheels as standard.

Jon Wong / Roadshow

Small visual changes

Like any true sports car, the T looks the part. It’s not all that different from the standard 718 Cayman, but it doesn’t have to be. The Cayman’s curvy body lines and beautiful proportions still draw attention, and the only things that distinguish the T from the base car are the 20-inch wheels painted in titanium gray, gray mirror caps, black exhaust tips and badges.

Step inside and you’ll find a slightly smaller diameter GT Sport steering wheel, nylon door opener rings in place of traditional grab handles and seat inserts in woven Sport-Tex fabric. Overall, the Cayman T has a bold and simple interior, devoid of many frills. The seats are generously bolstered, the driving position is comfortable, and there are some storage compartments in the doors and center console, but you won’t find soft leathers lining every surface or flashy trim pieces livening things up – at least not quite that standard. In typical Porsche fashion, all of that sort of thing is available as paid options.

Distinguishing the T from the base Cayman are a smaller diameter steering wheel, nylon door handles and specific seat inserts.

Jon Wong / Roadshow

That’s not to say that my Cayman T tester doesn’t have any comfort and extras. Two-zone automatic climate control and three-stage heated seats arrive. The infotainment management is of the latest generation Porsche Communication Management system that uses a small but sharp and responsive 7-inch touchscreen. Here it features the available navigation which quickly calculates routes. A Wi-Fi hotspot e Apple CarPlay they are standard, though Android Auto still not supported. The driver’s assistant technical menu is limited to a $ 700 blind spot monitoring system and a $ 1,670 adaptive cruise control system, with the latter only offered on PDK-equipped cars.

How would I specify it

Given the performance-focused mission of the Cayman T – which starts at $ 70,250, including $ 1,350 for the destination – I wouldn’t go crazy adding options when building my ideal model. I’d put a complimentary white paint job on it that contrasts nicely with the black side stripes, gray wheels, and mirror caps. As tempting as the $ 7,410 carbon ceramic brakes would be for track racing, I’d forgo those to keep costs in check and because the standard steel clamps are more than adequate for brisk road riding. Choosing the $ 140 16.9-gallon gas tank instead of the standard 14.2-gallon unit offers more range, and the $ 700 blind spot monitoring system adds peace of mind. This brings my ideal car to $ 71,090, which slightly reduces the $ 72,710 price of the car pictured here.

The 2021 Cayman T starts at $ 70,250, including $ 1,350 for the destination.

Jon Wong / Roadshow

A pure sports car

As much as I love the Cayman GT4, I’ve never been bored with the Cayman T. Outside of the less-than-ideal engine note, it’s hard to find anything I don’t like about the T from a performance standpoint. There’s enough power to keep things interesting on energetic journeys, the chassis offers supreme balance, looks good, and most importantly, it’s a pure, engaging and really fun car to drive.

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