2015 Porsche Cayman Review

It’s late afternoon in coastal Rhode Island, and we’re nipping at the relatively low speed limits of beachside back roads in the 2015 Porsche Cayman GTS.

Summer wears brilliantly upon this white, “entry-level”two-door Porsche. The curvy ribbon of pavement seems to have no end, with unexpected twists and dips undulating along a relatively flat plain, offering the ideal opportunity to exploit the unfiltered driving magic provided by the Cayman GTS’chassis.

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When the power really starts to come on, sometime after 2,500 rpm, the Cayman GTS roars to life. Smooth inputs of throttle and steering around unfamiliar bends never fail to result in equally smooth outputs.

As the road turns north toward Massachusetts, whose border is barely a shout away, we drop down a gear just to hear the glorious hum of the powerful flat-six engine. The coastal scenery is passing by all too quickly –we want to keep driving all day.

Forgive the fawning praise: The Cayman GTS really is that good.

2015 porsche cayman interior

The interior of the Cayman GTS comes with Alcantara-covered surfaces, with an easy-to-use infotainment system that is among the easiest to use on the market.

(jeff jablansky)

Few modern cars over-deliver as well as the Cayman GTS does. In the hierarchy of Porsche models, the Cayman GTS is the mightiest Cayman –save for the recently released GT4 track-day car–and has served as the hardtop sibling of the Boxster roadster.

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The Cayman family has the uneasy burden of evincing the performance of a world-class sports car while remaining second-banana to an icon. That icon, in case you were wondering, would be Porsche’s own rear-engine 911 sports car.

But the Cayman GTS is a hugely compelling model, a true successor to the core values of the 911, albeit one that doesn’t step on the toes of its illustrious big brother.

Some of this explains why we fell in love with the Cayman GTS from the minute it arrived. The Cayman shares the sculpted-bean looks of the 911, while evolving a unique design introduced nearly two decades ago on the first Boxster.

2015 porsche cayman detail

GTS badges make sure it's clear you're driving this stepped-up Porsche.

(Jeff Jablansky)

In GTS trim, the Cayman comes standard with 20-inch wheels and dark-tinted taillights, which add a mysterious effect to its street persona. It never shouts “look at me!” But this Porsche is also no wallflower in any garage full of exotic machinery.

The Alcantara-covered interior of the Cayman GTS remains relatively stock, by comparison, and the center stack and infotainment system are easy to use and amongst the best in the business.

With a base price of approximately $75,000, the Cayman GTS is among the most expensive Caymans, but it still undercuts the base 911 that you’d be hard-pressed to order. As with most Porsches, the right selection of options makes the vehicle even better.

Our Cayman GTS was fitted with basically everything, from a sport suspension and billion-way adjustable seats, to black-painted wheels and thumping Bose stereo. In the end, the price tag nearly kissed $100K, which puts this mid-engine Porsche amongst some fierce competition.

Quantitatively speaking, the Cayman GTS’ figures initially underwhelm, at least until you’re behind the wheel. At that point, hard numbers and measurements are completely forgotten, as the Cayman goes above (and far beyond) your expectations.

2015 porsche cayman detail

The GTS model comes with 20-inch wheels and dark-tinted taillights, adding a mysterious effect to its persona.

(Jeff Jablansky)

Mounted at the middle of the coupe’s lithe body is a flat six-cylinder engine that produces 340-horsepower, or nearly the same output about as a modern, top-of-the-line family sedan’s engine can muster. Power output from the Cayman GTS’closest competitor, the Jaguar F-type Coupe/Roadster duo, starts where the most powerful Cayman leaves off. Torque in this Porsche registers in at only280 lb.-ft.

On a meandering strip of road these figures become virtually meaningless. The Cayman GTS takes the best elements of the standard Cayman and embellishes them further than you’d ever imagine.

Throttle response is instantaneous and linear. The crispness and directness of the steering inspires automotive poetry. You feel every surface of the road through the rear-wheel-drive chassis, and the engine–mounted right behind the driver and passenger–reminds you it’s there without feeling the need to deafen you.

The piece de resistance is the method in which all of the moving parts communicate and interact with one another.

Get up to speed, and you’ll quickly realize that you’re not focused on going fast. The sensation just occurs naturally. Unlike so many performance cars, which rely on massive horsepower and super-sticky tires to ramp up the fun factor, the Cayman GTS enhances the driving experience in all situations.

2015 porsche cayman rear

View from the rear: how most other drivers will experience the GTS as it throttles by.

(Jeff Jablansky)

This is true in rush-hour traffic (trust us, we know) to those aforementioned empty back roads. Yes, the Cayman GTS offers active exhaust and performance modes, but they’re defeatable or customizable.

Our Cayman GTS was equipped with the sublime, standard 6-speed manual transmission, which offered a heavy but responsive clutch and the option of rev-matched downshifts in Sport Plus mode. The optional 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, dubbed PDK, is the practical but pricey ($3,960) choice for the enthusiast who also has a heavy commute.

Are there downsides to driving the Cayman GTS?

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If there are, we certainly did not encounter them while driving this mid-engine machine. Over 500 miles in a week of varying road surfaces and driving conditions, nothing flustered the Cayman GTS.

If you’re looking for a way to reconnect with the road, the Cayman GTS is your portal to driving nirvana.

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Tags:
2015
porsche
porsche cayman
porsche cayman gts
sports cars
auto reviews

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