Interestingly, while prices are still up, the Cayman has been repositioned to undercut the Boxster and become the new Porsche sports car entry point.
As with the Boxster, the 718 Cayman loses the old six-cylinder engines in favour of more efficient and powerful mid-mounted, turbocharged flat-four powertrains. The same outputs are therefore now offered in both 718 body-styles.
The 2.0-litre flat-four makes 221kW (up 18kW) and 380Nm from 1950rpm (up 90Nm). The 718 Cayman S’ 2.5-litre gets 257kW (again, up 18kW) and 420Nm from 1900rpm (up 50Nm). The latter has variable turbine geometry like a 911 Turbo.
Pictured: 2016 Porsche 718 Cayman (left) with 718 Boxster.
More powerful 718 Cayman derivatives will no doubt appear down the track.
As usual, the engines are mid-mounted and send torque to the rear wheels via a standard six-speed manual gearbox or optional seven-speed PDK dual-clutch auto. The PDK costs $4990, though Porsche argues that on the base car, because it cuts fuel use to below the luxury car tax efficient car threshold, it actually commands an effective increase of $1333.
The 718 Cayman with optional PDK dual-clutch auto and Sport Chrono Package sprints from zero to 100 km/h in 4.7 seconds (down almost a full second), while the 718 Cayman S completes the same sprint in 4.2 seconds (down more than half-a-second).
Fuel use is cut to 6.9 litres per 100km on the combined cycle for the 718 Cayman, and 7.3L/100km for the 718 Cayman S, down from 8.2L/100km and 8.8L/100km apiece (with the PDK auto gearbox).
Dynamically, the new 718 Cayman models are claimed to “follow in the tracks of the classic 718 sports cars of the past”. These historic mid-engine sports cars won numerous races in the 1950s and 1960s such as the Targa Florio and Le Mans.
Lateral rigidity and wheel tracking have been improved in the completely retuned chassis of the 718 Cayman — read our deeper-dive page on the 718 Boxster here for more — springs and stabiliser bars have been designed for added firmness, and the tuning of the shock absorbers ditto.
The electric-assisted steering, now 10 per cent more direct, enhances agility and driving dynamics. The rear wheels are more than a centimetre wider, and in combination with the redeveloped tyres give more lateral force and greater cornering stability.
Familiar Porsche options such as the Sport Chrono Package and Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) remain, as does PASM with a 10mm lowering of the ride height. In the Cayman S model, the PASM sport suspension drops the car 20mm.
As in other Porsche sports cars, the Sport Chrono Package can be adjusted via the switch on the steering wheel. Supplementing the previous driving modes of “Normal”, “Sport” and “Sport Plus” is the “Individual” programme, which is able to call up previously programmed individual settings.
Stronger brake systems are now in use with 330mm discs up front and 299mm discs at the rear. The 718 Cayman now has the brake system that was previously used in the Cayman S. The 718 Cayman S now uses the four-piston callipers of the 911 Carrera combined with 6mm thicker discs.
The 718 Cayman redesign is evolutionary, not revolutionary. The nose has a sharper profile, which Porsche says lends the front end “a wider and more masculine appearance”.
There are new slim front lights above the air intakes, which contain the parking lights and indicators; significantly larger cooling air intakes; and re-shaped bi-xenon headlights with integrated LED daytime running lights. Full LED headlights with four-point daytime running lights are available as an option.
The redesigned rear has a wider look due to the accent strip in high-gloss black with integrated Porsche badge between the tail lights. The tail lights have been redesigned and are distinguished by the three-dimensional technology and four brake spots that appear to float freely.
Cabin revisions are familiar from the 718 Boxster. The upper part of the dash panel including air vents is new. The new sport steering wheel echoes the 918 Spyder, and the centre fascia has the revised Porsche Communication Management (PCM) infotainment system.
For Australian models this includes standard DAB+ digital radio, Bluetooth, sat-nav, voice control and a 150W Sound Package Plus system. The system also supports Apple CarPlay.
The repositioned 718 Cayman is now priced below the Boxster roadster for the first time. 718 Cayman pricing starts at $110,300 plus on-road costs (up $4100), climbing to $140,600 for the 718 Cayman S (up $1600).
This means each of the two launch derivatives of the 718 Cayman are $2800 cheaper than their 718 Boxster equivalents.
Australian Porsche dealers are now taking orders for the new 718 Cayman and Cayman S, with deliveries to commence late in 2016 — a few months after the Boxster.