Overall rating: 5/5
A modest increase in power and cherry-picked specification makes for an even more appealing coupé in the all-new Porsche Cayman GTS.
In the Metal:
Always a beautifully proportioned shape, the Porsche Cayman's design is enhanced in the GTS by a new nose and some contrasting black elements too. The headlights feature black surrounds and the same colour is carried through to the air intakes and LED driving light housings on the re-profiled front bumper. The dark theme doesn't end there, as the 20-inch wheels come in the same hue, as too does the tip of the standard sports exhaust's tailpipe and the Porsche GTS badging on the rear hatchback. It's fairly subtle, but very effective, helped by a stance 10mm lower on the standard PASM suspension - and a further 10mm if you choose the no-cost option Sports Chassis.
Inside, there's more equipment, the Sports Plus seats and leather and Alcantara trim lifting the cabin, while the Sport Chrono clock situated atop and centre of the dash is no longer a cost option. Indeed, you could pretty much specify a regular S to GTS specification via Porsche's configurator, but you'd end up paying more for it - and not get the GTS's small boost in performance.
We're on record here as saying that the Cayman is among the very best sports cars money can buy. At any level. That remains the case with the new GTS model, its specification merely adding to its enduring appeal. Along with the unique looks and enhanced equipment level the Cayman GTS gains 15hp and 10Nm in torque. That means overall outputs of 340hp and 380Nm of twist. We'd be lying if we said that made a significant difference to the Cayman GTS's performance over the S; indeed, without a car to reference back-to-back it's all but imperceptible, but then the Cayman S isn't exactly lacking in performance.
Official figures for the GTS say it'll reach 100km/h in 4.9 seconds from rest, quicker if you opt for the twin-clutch paddle-shifted PDK transmission. It's a good car with that, but even some of the suits at Porsche admit the Cayman is a car best driven with three pedals and the six-speed manual gearbox - and we're not about to argue. The transmission remains among the finest shifting in the business, and a rare treat in a now predominantly paddle-shifted sports car world. The weighting and positioning of the pedals, and the crisp, quick snick accuracy of the six-speeder through its gate is all so pleasing you'll find yourself changing gear just for the hell of it. Do so with the Sports Exhaust button pressed and it's gloriously vocal in its accompaniment, the crackling noise overlaid with the characteristic flat-six growl from the engine. It even manages the throttle blips for you in Sports Plus mode if you can't be bothered with heel-and-toe downshifts.
The engine's ability to lug at low revs yet pile on the excitement as the red-line is reached is superb, though for all the performance on offer - of which there's plenty in the real world - it's the Cayman's otherworldly dynamics that dominate the experience. The steering remains among the best of the current electrically assisted set-ups, only Porsche's own 911 GT3 system bettering it for feel and accuracy; the brakes are mighty; and the suspension manages to blend enormous wheel and body control with a supple ride. Select Sports mode for the PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management) and there's a degree of intrusion from the road, but it's marginal. PASM-equipped cars are best left in the Normal setting on all but the smoothest of tracks. The free option of a Sports Chassis adds an even tauter set-up, but even then it's rarely unsettled on the road, there inevitably being a trade-off in ultimate ride comfort for its greater precision.
What you get for your Money:
Your cash buys you the most accomplished, nicest and most comprehensively specified Cayman as standard. There are a couple of oversights though: the Porsche Torque Vectoring system is a bit of a must-have, while most will opt for Porsche's communication and satnav system that adds a few more thousand Euro to the list price. Think not of it as an expensive Cayman though, but a genuine 911 alternative and it makes a great deal more sense.
Like all Porsche Caymans the GTS is more expensive than its Boxster alter-ego. The Boxster makes do with 'just' 330hp and 370Nm though, meaning it's 0.1 of a second slower to 100km/h than the Cayman GTS manual.
Any Porsche Cayman is a car of rare ability and will deliver huge thrills; the GTS adds a range-topper that includes the majority of options you'd choose when specifying an S anyway. It feels more special though, and looks it, the Cayman GTS arguably the most appealing driver's car Porsche makes this side of the 911 GT3.
High praise indeed, and hugely deserving of it.