2017 Porsche 718 Boxster And Cayman First Drive Review: Don't Play It By Ear

Few automakers play the options game as cleverly as Porsche. No matter what model you’re looking at, the siren song of the Porsche configurator is ready to lure you onto the rocks of financial ruin. And it’s not just the obvious big-ticket stuff such as carbon-ceramic brakes, PASM sports suspension, or the Sport Chrono package. It’s detail things such as having the key painted to match your car’s exterior color, fitting red seat belts, or a fuel cap with “aluminum look finish”—160 bucks for something only you will see when you’re gassing up. A click here, a click there, and the dollars quickly add up. It is possible to spec a Porsche 718 Cayman S to the point where you’ve effectively doubled its $68,750 base price. Yes, doubled.

The 2018 Porsche 718 Cayman and Boxster GTS, which retail for $80,850 and $82,950, respectively, therefore seem like smart buys. These new 718 variants basically bring together the options Porsche knows Cayman and Boxster S buyers are most likely to consider—PASM, Porsche Torque Vectoring, 20-inch wheels, the Sport Chrono package, and the sports exhaust, among others—and puts them together in a value-priced package. And Porsche has put a cherry on top, too: The 718 Cayman and Boxster GTS get a 15-hp bump over S models courtesy of a bigger turbocharger delivering higher boost pressure through a new intake plenum.

In GTS spec the 2.5-liter flat-four develops 365 hp at 6,500 rpm. If you order a car with the optional PDK transmission ($3,210), the engine also pumps out 8 lb-ft more torque from 1,900 rpm to 5,000 rpm than in S models. In manual transmission cars, however, peak the torque output of 309 lb-ft from 1,900 rpm to 5,500 rpm is unchanged over S-spec. That’s a reflection, says Porsche powertrain engineer Fabian Zink, of the fact that fewer than one in 10 Caymans or Boxsters worldwide are sold with a stick—not enough to justify investment in beefing up the manual to cope with more torque.

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