Now in its second generation, the 2015 Porsche Cayman is still the entry-level, fixed-roof model in the Porsche lineup, but that will probably never stop certain journalists from wondering if it has become a better car than its big brother, the almighty 911. With the model now also getting a speedier GTS variant, Motor Trend’s Jonny Lieberman set out to find out if the most powerful production Cayman ever is finally posting a real threat to the base 911 Carrera, or if it is simply yet another mid-engine coupe neutered just enough to not step on its big brother’s toes. Spoiler alert - he doesn’t find anything of the kind.
Unveiled in 2014, the GTS is powered by an improved version of the 3.4-liter flat-six found in the regular Cayman S, which develops a reasonable output of 340 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. Those are not exactly massive improvements compared to the 325 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque developed by the Cayman S, but any more than that and the GTS could have easily run circles around the heavier and only slightly more powerful 911 Carrera.
Despite being kept on a tighter leash than it probably deserves – at least in terms of engine power - it seems that the Cayman GTS is truly a fantastic piece of kit and a more than worthy indirect successor to the Cayman R from the first generation. Despite appearing to be fitted with the less-efficient six-speed manual instead of the seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission, it managed to outhandle every other Porsche that Motor Trend has ever tested on the figure-eight – minus the hardcore 911 GT3 and 911 Turbo S models, naturally. Even so, in the end there can’t really be a true answer to the question that Lieberman asks in the beginning of the review, as both the Cayman GTS and the base 911 Carrera are awesome sports cars in their own right.
Click past the jump to read more about the Porsche Cayman GTS.
Why it matters
Despite being cross-shopped by some, I think that the Cayman and the entry-level 911 couldn’t be more different than each other. Sure, Porsche has its reasons to keep the two models in very distinct stables when it comes to overall power output, but now that the Cayman GTS may actually be faster on some circuits than the 911 Carrera, the differences are actually in areas other than performance. People who do go for the 911 are usually Porsche fans that would not buy any other rival – not even one that comes from Porsche itself.
On the other hand, most Cayman buyers are actually converts from other marques, and with the new GTS making the model better than ever, it may actually steal some buyers from the 911 as well. With that being said, the 911 will always be synonymous with Porsche, and no other model, no matter how good, has ever come close to dethroning it in the eyes of purists. With just ten horsepower and seven pound-feet of torque down from the lowest-powered 911, the new Cayman GTS packs more than a good punch, as it is also lighter and has near-perfect weight distribution for more spirited driving. Also, let’s not forget that an even more hardcore Cayman GT4 variant is on the way.