Porsche is one of the world’s most famous makers of sports cars. They are known for high-tech engineering and high levels of performance. When we think about Porsche, most of us think of the 911 and its variants. The headline-makers, like the GT3, GT3 RS, and GT2 RS, are all about big numbers. Big horsepower, big performance, big speed, and a big price tag.
What about the opposite end of the spectrum? We know how good a $161,000 GT3 is, but can you have just as much fun for less than half the price?
If we are after Porsche’s cheapest car, we are talking about the 718 Cayman. With a base price of $60,500, is it worthy of the Porsche badge, or should we look elsewhere for sports car nirvana?
2022 Porsche 718 Cayman: performance and handling
The base model 718 Cayman is a two-seat sports car with a mid-engine layout. Behind the driver lives a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. That is good enough to give the Cayman a 0 to 60 mph time of 4.9 seconds and a top speed of 170 mph.
The EPA estimates that the base 718 Cayman will return 21 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway.
The base Cayman has a six-speed manual transmission that sends the power to the rear wheels. Porsche’s fantastic PDK transmission is a $3,320 option, as is a locking differential ($1,320).
The beauty of the 718 chassis is in how it handles. The base Cayman gets a fairly conventional spring-strut suspension with beefy anti-roll bars. This gives the coupe excellent handling and road holding, with the mid-engine layout assisting in the balance and feel department. One of the defining characteristics of the Cayman is how it feels to drive, and Porsche has done an exceptional job of transmitting all of the road feel directly to the driver. Thanks to good weight distribution and time spent tuning the suspension; the Cayman feels like it rotates around the driver’s hips. This makes the driver feel more comfortable pushing the small sports car hard on a twisty road or race track.
Interior features, technology, and safety
Even on the base models, Porsche’s interiors are top-notch. Black leather is standard, and the instruments and controls appear in a very logical and driver-centric manner.
There is a central touchscreen for Apple CarPlay and various other vehicle functions. An eight-speaker sound system is standard, as is a CD/DVD drive with 11 GB of internal storage. There are also a pair of USB ports and a pair of SD card slots.
Porsche is very good at making everything an optional extra, so if you want more technology, luxury, or high-end finishes, expect the price to rise precipitously.
From a safety standpoint, the Cayman does pretty well. Because this is a niche sports car, the NHTSA, IIHS, and Euro NCAP won’t test this car independently. Regardless, the 718 Cayman comes equipped with Porsche’s Side Impact Protection System (POSIP) and has a full complement of airbags.
ParkAssist with a reversing camera comes standard, but most of the more advanced active safety features require the purchase of optional packages.
An anti-theft system with an immobilizer and alarm is standard.
2022 Porsche 718 Cayman: warranty
The warranty is pretty basic, four years or 50,000 miles. There is a 12 year, unlimited mile warranty for corrosion protection, and Porsche will cover all genuine parts and accessories for two years.
Is the 2022 Porsche 718 Cayman worth buying in base spec?
We can’t gloss over the fact that $60,500 is a lot of money for a base model sports car. A base Toyota Supra 2.0 will offer similar performance for $17,000 less. The one thing the Toyota doesn’t have is the Porsche crest on the hood.
The base 718 Cayman will give you entry into the world of Porsche and give you a fantastic driving experience that few other cars can match. Nothing feels like a Porsche or handles like a Porsche, and that is essentially what you are buying, the experience.
The 718 Cayman is a fantastic little sports car, but the entry price is a bit steep. If you have to have a new Porsche but have a limited budget, this is a good place to start. But, if you are looking for the best sports car you can buy in this price range, too many other options will get you going faster, for less money.