Porsche 718 Cayman Style Edition Review: The hidden gem in Porsche’s crown

Cars

Criminally underrated and surprisingly affordable, do not be fooled, the ramped up 718 Cayman Style Edition from Porsche is anything but the 911’s underwhelming little brother. And as the luxury German automaker purrs away from its iconic internal combustion roots towards an electric future, there might never be a better time to pull the trigger.
The 718 Cayman Style Edition.

Sure, the 911 continues to capture the limelight with its storied racing pedigree and higher specs, but after spending 48 hours in this retro pocket rocket, I can safely say the 718 Cayman holds its ground with an unassuming grace.

Yes, the latest Style Edition of the Cayman is, on the surface, a strategy to rejuvenate an aging model – but it represents a deeper appreciation of Porsche’s “other” sports car, often overshadowed, and in this writer’s opinion, just as deserving of accolades.

The drive: Refined yet restrained

So, beyond its 2.0-litre turbocharged flat-four engine, here’s what you can expect.

Sliding into the driver’s seat on a wet and dreary Sydney morning, the cold-start of the 718 Cayman Style Edition offers that familiar grunty exhaust note we’ve come to expect from Porsche. Purists may argue it lacks the visceral punch when compared to the more robust flat-six offerings, but rest assured, this engine will still draw the wrath of your neighbours first thing on a Saturday morning.

Both the Porsche 718 Cayman and Boxster Style Editions derive their power from a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder boxer engine, which delivers 220 kW of power at 6500 rpm and 380 Nm of torque, available from 2150 to 4500 rpm.

A simplistic, yet premium interior.

It won’t win any awards for its 0-100 in 4.9 seconds – but the car’s architecture and mid-engine layout is a formula for balance and responsiveness. And with the added help of sports mode, it still punches above its weight, offering sufficient power without compromising on performance and control – especially when your inner race-car driver decides it’s time to swap over to the paddle shifters. Overtaking lanes never felt so effortless.

What it lacks in power, it makes up for in handling, and at just 1365kg, the first bend in the highway will help you quickly understand where the 718 Cayman Style Edition shines.

Practical yet premium design

Whether you’re after the attention or not, (and let’s be honest, it’s probably the former if you’re buying a Porsche), this retro redesign, its sports exhaust tips and 20-inch high gloss black Spyder wheels are going to turn heads when you pull into most car parks.

In a stark contrast, minimalist would be the word that comes to mind when describing the interior of the 718 Cayman Style Edition, and to be honest, it’s hard not to love almost everything about it. The experience is more about the sensory pleasure and the finesse of its craftsmanship than the latest in digital interfaces you might come to expect in a mid-level 2024 car.

Sure, the cupholders would struggle to fit anything bigger than a small flat white, but this was never meant to the car for your child and their novelty-sized Frank Green water bottle.

It is practical for its class, with adequate luggage space (for those who like to overpack) and an ergonomic layout that includes thoughtfully designed 14-way adjustable heated sports seats, capped off with the iconic bespoke Porsche crest in the headrests and a multifunction steering wheel that enhance both comfort and control.

We’ll get into price shortly, but it’s worth noting the interior is not overwhelmingly different to the more premium Porsche models, including the base 911 Carrera – that is almost two-and-a-half times more expensive than the 718 Cayman Style Edition.

Unlike newer models that feature push-button starts, the Cayman Style Edition still uses a traditional half-fob key  and yes, admittedly the infotainment system, with its 7.0-inch touchscreen, seems a step behind in an era where competitors boast more modern interfaces and larger displays.

Other features include the high-gloss black Spyder wheels, black leather seat trim with Crayon stitching, illuminated stainless steel kick plates, LED headlights with Porsche Dynamic Light System (PDLS), keyless entry and start, Apple CarPlay, satellite navigation, DAB digital radio, cruise control, auto-folding mirrors with courtesy lights, heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated seats, dual-zone climate control, Light Design Package, full-colour Porsche crests on hub covers, black sports tailpipes and for those opting for a bit of extra flair, contrasting stripes and lettering in white or black at no additional cost.

How much does it cost?

The 2023 Porsche 718 Cayman Style Edition debuts with a starting price of $136,700, which includes a $4,000 premium over the base model.

It’s a price-tag that places it at a significant point within the luxury sports car market, offering a distinctive blend of performance and prestige that rivals struggle to match in terms of overall refinement and brand prestige.

The Porsche Boxter and Cayman 718 Style Edition.

While the base price is compelling, potential buyers should be aware of the typical Porsche premium for optional extras. The test car featured in this review, for instance, sported additional equipment worth over $24,000, pushing the as-tested price to $161,530. These options include special Crayon grey paintwork, adaptive sports seats, a carbon interior pack, and the Porsche Active Suspension Management system, which enhances the driving dynamics and comfort.

Furthermore, the optional PDK dual-clutch transmission and the Sport Chrono Package not only elevate the driving experience but also the price, illustrating how quickly the cost can escalate with these high-value additions. Despite this, the Cayman Style Edition remains a compelling proposition, especially for those who value a more “grown-up” and sophisticated sports car experience.

Verdict

Porsche is of course not alone in its aggressive strategic pivot towards an electric future, with plans to electrify its lineup so that by 2030, 80% of its sales will come from electric vehicles (EVs). The luxury automaker is not only focusing on electric cars but also investing in e-fuels as part of a broader push to maintain options for sustainable high-performance vehicles beyond traditional gasoline engines.

The bold transition aims to position the iconic 911 as the sole survivor among its combustion engine models – which of course would mean goodnight to the likes of the 718 Cayman Style Edition.

So, with that in mind, would I buy one?

Absolutely.

For those who appreciate the nuanced joys of a classic sports car, you’d be hard pressed to find better value than the 718 Cayman Style Edition, that, as mentioned, seems criminally underpriced for the performance it delivers.

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