Extra sporting cred for the Stuttgart bantamweight

LISTEN 13:26

While most automakers these days are occupied with searching for new methods of extracting more and more power from their sports coupes, Porsche seems more concerned with something even more elusive - lower weight. As such, the German automaker has given birth to a string of lightness-adding model variants, including the likes of the 911 Carrera T. Now, Porsche is applying a similar performance philosophy to the Cayman. Like its 911 big brother, this fresh two-door takes the name “T” and offer a more driver-focused experience thanks to slightly less heft, a variety of standard performance equipment, and a few new aesthetic upgrades.

2020 Porsche 718 Cayman T Exterior Styling

  • Looks similar standard Cayman
  • 20-inch alloy wheels as standard
  • Agate grey sideview mirror covers
  • Black chrome-plated rear exhaust
2020 Porsche 718 Cayman T
- image 810787
From the off, the Cayman T doesn’t look terribly different from its non-T equivalent.

It’s still quite recognizable as a Porsche Cayman model, and offers up the same classic Porsche styling from front to back. That said, there are a few details on the T that help it stand out next to the non-T variants.

In front, we find a very familiar fascia, with the classic low-slung nose and wide stance. A trio of intakes take up the lower bumper section, while horizontal corner lights add an extra dose of visual width. Above the bumper, the narrow headlights are drawn back into the fenders, which rise high above the plus-sized tire and wheel package.

Speaking of the rollers, the T comes equipped with 20-inch alloy wheels with a dark titanium grey finish as standard. These offer a blocky five-spoke design, and do well to complement the Cayman T’s “simplified” design philosophy. You’ll also notice T-specific upgrades like Agate grey sideview mirror covers, and of course, a full set of complementary 718 Cayman T badging.

2020 Porsche 718 Cayman T
- image 810792
Viewed from the side, the Cayman T absolutely looks to part of a sleek, slippery sports car.

The big wheels, the soaring fender flares, the big intakes in front and in the flanks - all of it screams performance, even without overstepping in any one area.

Further unique touches were added to the rear, where you’ll find a centrally mounted sports exhaust with a black chrome-plated finish. It’s a nice look, and should be appreciated by those in the know.

Finally, the 2020 Porsche Cayman T comes with a full complement of exciting exterior colors, including Indian Red, Racing Yellow, black, Deep Black, white, Carrara White, and GT Silver. The Cayman T is also offered with special hues like Miami Blue and Lava Orange.

Finally, it’s worth noting that Porsche offers a nearly identical T spec in a droptop body style with the 718 Boxster (the Cayman is the hardtop variant, but the cars are nearly identical below the roof).

2020 Porsche Cayman T Exterior Dimensions
Wheelbase 2,475 mm (97.4 inches)
Overall Length 4,379 mm (172.4 inches)
Overall Width (with exterior mirrors) 1,994 mm (78.5 inches)

2020 Porsche 718 Cayman T Interior Design

  • “Pared down” range of features
  • Cloth door pulls
  • Infotainment delete overseas
  • 718 logo embroidered to headrests
  • Glossy black trim
  • 14.2-inch GT-style sports steering wheel
  • Extra Cayman T logos in the instruments and kick plates
2020 Porsche 718 Cayman T
- image 810784

Like the exterior spec, the 2020 Porsche Cayman T’s cabin looks remarkably similar to that of the standard model. You still get a two-seater layout, with relatively tight confines, a button-laden central tunnel, and a set of D-shaped vents across the dash.

But although at first glance it may look similar to its standard sibling, the Cayman T still has a unique variety of tidbits to parse out.

These mostly pertain to Porsche’s “pared down range of features,” simplifying things where possible and cutting out anything extraneous that doesn’t contribute to the overall driving experience. For example, the T offers black cloth door pulls rather than traditional door handles.

Another example of this move towards overt simplification is a delete for the Porsche Communication Management module from the center console. In its stead, the Cayman T offers a large central storage compartment. Alternatively, buyers can get their infotainment system back at no extra charge, however, the system delete does help to cut out a little bit of weight.

That said, buyers in the U.S. are required to get the infotainment system regardless of their desire for weight savings due to mandatory back-up camera regulations. Lame.

2020 Porsche 718 Cayman T
- image 810783
Regardless, even with all its bits and bobs cut down to the bare minimum, the 2020 Porsche Cayman T is certainly no spartan racer.

You still get a decent amount of luxury, with padded seats and leather upholstery throughout.

Speaking of the sitters, passengers will enjoy the standard sport seats and electric two-way adjustment, which replace the standard Cayman’s far more adjustable (and presumably heavier) seats. The T also comes with Black Sport-Tex upholstery for the center sections of the seats, and the 718 logo is embroidered onto the headrests as well.

2020 Porsche 718 Cayman T
- image 810782

Moving towards the dash, we find high-end bits like glossy black trim on the instrument panel and central console. Pilots get to grips with a 360 mm (14.2-inch) three-spoke GT-style sports steering wheel, which also includes multifunction control with a thumb-length “Mode” switch.

Finally, the Cayman T logo was added to the black instrument dials, with additional logos found on the door entry strips.

2020 Porsche 718 Cayman T Drivetrain And Performance

  • Same drivetrain standard Cayman
  • Turbo 2.0-liter flat four
  • 300 horsepower, 280 lb-ft
  • Six-speed manual or seven-speed PDK
  • 0 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds
  • Top speed of 171 mph
  • Lower ride height (0.79 inches)
  • Standard PASM
  • Standard Sport Chrono Package
  • Mechanical rear axle differential lock
  • Porsche Torque Vectoring
  • Dynamic gearbox mount
2020 Porsche 718 Cayman T
- image 810789

Although we suspected the 2020 Porsche Cayman T would offer a few more ponies over its standard siblings, it turns out this isn’t the case.

Instead, the T comes equipped with the same engine and drivetrain configuration as the standard model.

That means it gets a mid-mounted, turbocharged 2.0-liter (1,988 cubic cm) flat four-cylinder powerplant, with output directed exclusively to the rear wheels. This is actually the smaller of the two engine options offered for the current Cayman, as the go-faster S variant comes equipped with a larger, more powerful 2.5-liter engine.

Output is also unchanged from the standard Cayman, with 296 horsepower produced at 6,500 rpm and torque set at 280 pound-feet at 2,150 rpm. Redline hits at 7,500 rpm.

For the sake of comparison, the standard Cayman S produces 350 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 309 pound-feet of torque at 4,500 rpm.

Fuel consumption is rated at 8.1 to 7.9 liters/100 km, or around 30 mpg combined, while CO2 emissions are rated at a combined 187 to 181 g/km.

Routing the muscle towards the rear axle is a six-speed manual transmission as standard. Porsche also points out that the T uses a quicker gear shift, with the gear markings punctuated in red type. Meanwhile, Porsche’s seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (PDK) is offered as an available option.

2020 Porsche 718 Cayman T
- image 810795

In its quickest configuration (that is, with a PDK transmission and the drive mode set to Sport Plus), the Cayman T can reach 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. Go for the manual transmission, and you’ll need to add a few tenths to that final figure.

Top speed for each configuration is rated at 275 km/h (171 mph).

However, the real appeal for the 2020 Porsche Cayman T isn’t in a straight line - it’s what happens when the going gets twisty.

Helping it achieve its epic handling characteristics is a low weight to power ratio, which is rated at 4.5 kg/PS. The mid-engine drivetrain configuration is also a major help in keeping the weight that remains properly balanced between the front and rear.

For the sake of comparison, the standard Cayman weighs in at 2,988 pounds when equipped with a manual transmission, and 3,054 pounds with the PDK.

The suspension set-up uses MacPherson struts both in front and in the rear.

If You Like to Keep it Simple, the 2019 Porsche 718 Cayman T or 718 Boxster T Might be for You
- image 811135
Keeping it all shiny side up is the Porsche Active Suspension Management system, or PASM, which comes as standard equipment and lowers the ride height by 20 mm (0.79 inches).

This feature is a first for this particular nameplate.

Porsche’s famous Sport Chrono package is also standard, and outfits the Cayman with a number of drive modes, such as Normal, Sport, Sport Plus, and Individual, all of which are selectable via the steering wheel. These various modes affect driving characteristics like the throttle response, the suspension settings, and on PDK-equipped models, the transmission shift times. Go for the PDK, and you also get a Launch Control function and a Sport Response button.

Additional performance features for the 2020 Porsche Cayman T include a mechanical rear axle differential lock and the Porsche Torque Vectoring feature.

Finally, the Cayman T comes with a cool dynamic gearbox mount, or PADM system, which helps to reduce vibrations around the engine and gearbox, thus maintaining a more linear handling feel overall.

2020 Porsche 718 Cayman T and Boxster T specifications

Engine 2.0-liter four-cylinder
Horsepower 300 HP @ 6,500 RPM
Torque 280 LB-FT @ 2,150 RPM
Top Speed 170 mph
0 to 60 mph 4.9 seconds (manual) / 4.7 seconds (PDK)

2020 Porsche 718 Cayman T Prices

2020 Porsche 718 Cayman T
- image 810785

Porsche claims that the 2020 Cayman T offers a 5 to 10% price advantage compared to a “similarly equipped basic model.”

No word on the final MSRP, but we think a number around $60,000 sounds about right. Compared to the $55,300 base model Cayman, that looks to be a pretty good bargain considering all the standard equipment you get with the T.

For the sake of comparison, the standard Cayman S starts at $68,000, which means the T slots between the base model and the S in the lineup.

2020 Porsche 718 Cayman T Competition

Lotus Evora 400

2016 Lotus Evora 400 High Resolution Exterior
- image 617787

While a bit more expensive than the Porsche, the Lotus Evora 400 has everything needed to scratch that stripped-down driver’s car itch. With a curb weight rated at about 3,150 pounds, the Evora is still pretty lightweight, and it’s got loads of power too thanks to a supercharged 3.5-liter V-6 mounted just behind the cabin. Output is rated at 400 horsepower and 302 pound-feet of torque, all of which is routed to the rear wheels by way of a six-speed manual transmission. Properly motivated, the Lotus Evora will hit 60 mph in the low-4-second range, with top speed clocking in at 172 mph. Inside the cabin, things are just as basic as the Porsche, with Alcantara and leather upholstery and srufaces providing the only comfort. Pricing starts at $94,900.

Read our full review on the 2016 Lotus Evora 400.

Audi TT RS

2017 Audi TT-RS High Resolution Exterior
- image 674034

If you prefer a little extra comfort inside, and a little more grunt under the hood, then the TT RS should fit the bill nicely. Up front, the TT RS arrives at the party with a 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine, which is turbocharged to produce as much as 400 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. Directed through a seven-speed automatic transmission and quattro AWD system, this fast Four-Ringer can sprint to 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds. Top speed clocks in at 174 mph. The cabin is pretty plush as well, with features like a digital virtual cockpit display and MMI infotainment system. Curb weight tips the scales at 3,300 pounds. The higher weight and AWD makes the Audi a bit softer in the corners compared to the Lotus and Porsche, but the magnetic ride suspension helps sharpen it all the same. Sweetening the deal is a very attractive price, with the latest model starting at just $64,900.

Read our full review on the2017 Audi TT RS.

Final Thoughts

2020 Porsche 718 Cayman T
- image 810797
If Porsche built a car using Colin Chapman’s famous philosophy of ‘simplify, then add lightness,’ it would probably look like the Cayman T.

Indeed, while most carmakers with a penchant for performance search high and low for new methods to extract even more power from their engines, Porsche seems more focused on simply cutting weight. And we like that.

Not only is it a smart move with regards to ever-tightening emissions guidelines, but it’s also more effective in creating feedback and enjoyment compared to simply stuffing a chassis with power.

“Traditionally, ’T’ stands for ‘Touring’ in Porsche models, and is synonymous with driving pleasure in its purest form,” the automaker explains. “The 718 T will be most at home on winding country roads, offering the joy of dynamic driving as its ultimate goal.”

With a nod to the 911 T from 1968, and a focus on purity in design and ultimate in driving engagement, the 2020 Cayman T ticks a lot of our boxes when it comes a “driver’s” car. You gotta love the “back to basics” attitude this thing brings, and have to applaud the simplicity of the formula.

Looks like Porsche is headed in the right direction.

  • Leave it
    • Relatively spartan interior appointment
    • No extra power
    • Much faster alternatives available

Further reading

2018 Porsche 911 Carrera T Exterior
- image 739975
A tenth-second quicker to 60 mph

Read our full review on the 2018 Porsche 911 Carrera T.

2017 Porsche 718 Cayman High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 673776

Read our full review on the 2017 Porsche 718 Cayman.

2018 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 739173
317 pound-feet of torque

Read our full review on the 2018 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS.

2016 Porsche Cayman GT4 High Resolution Exterior
- image 615254

Read our full review on the 2016 Porsche Cayman GT4.

2020 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Exterior Exclusive Renderings Spyshots Computer Renderings and Photoshop
- image 637442

Read our full speculative review on the 2020 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS.

Jonathan Lopez
Jonathan Lopez
About the author

Related Articles

2021 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 MR by Manthey Racing

What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: