The very first day our new Porsche 718 Cayman GTS 4.0 went into long-term service, it got snowed on. Heavily. Six inches of powder, the kind skiers live for, piled atop a crust of ice from a blast of freezing rain that had arrived in Michigan earlier in the day. Welcome to your new home, Cayman!
Why would we subject a car this nice to weather this harsh? Because we praise Porsches for being everyday-drivable sports cars. Testing that belief requires living with one of our favorites from Stuttgart—we know, tough duty—long enough to experience it in a multiplicity of driving situations. A Cayman owner in Los Angeles might decide to take his or her car up to Big Bear for some skiing; a Michigander might want to do a little slip-sliding on a snowy day. We happen to know that a former C/D editor-in-chief bought a new 911 a few years ago and proceeded to use it as a daily driver in winter.
So, as we do with all our long-term test cars, we fitted the Cayman with winter tires when it arrived in late winter and proceeded to break it in. We’ll keep it long enough to rack up 40,000 miles through all four seasons and learn things about it that a short stay could never reveal. We’ll take it on cross-country trips and trundle down to the corner grocery in it to pick up a dozen eggs. We’ll lean on it hard on gnarly two-lanes. We’ll bring it to the dealer for service. And we’ll record every penny spent on maintenance, fuel, and repairs.
Snow or no snow, our Cayman will not remain parked for long periods, and with good reason: It’s the quintessential driver’s car. After all, the Cayman earned a spot on our 2022 10Best list—its 16th straight year—for its “shimmering combination poise, grace, and grit.”
Our new Cayman arrived well dressed for its stay with C/D‘s staff of hot-footed drivers. It wears a coat of sweetly understated Aventurine Green Metallic paint—far better that than arrest-me red. This is the GTS 4.0, after all, which is Porsche-speak for “racy.” It’s powered by a mid-mounted, naturally aspirated 4.0-liter flat-six that spins out 394 horsepower at 7000 rpm and 309 pound-feet of torque at 5000 rpm.
If that power curve sounds peaky, you’re right. This motor gets a big jolt of caffeine at about 4000 rpm—typical behavior for an unboosted Porsche engine—and it fills the intimate cockpit with an exquisite baritone wail as the revs race to the 7800-rpm redline. As if we needed more incentive to go fast. We opted for the six-speed manual gearbox—of course—and the stubby shifter moves through the Cayman’s tightly spaced gates with precision and delicacy.
Yes, Porsche’s brilliant seven-speed dual-clutch automatic would chop a few tenths of a second from the acceleration times, but initial instrumented testing of our manual-equipped long-termer (conducted after easing it through its 2000-mile break-in period), confirmed that it’s plenty quick. It’s not the easiest car to launch—it doesn’t like its clutch slipped off the line—but it still busted out a 3.9-second run to 60 mph and galloped through the quarter-mile in 12.1 seconds at 118 mph. It also circled our skidpad at 1.03 g’s and stopped from 70 mph in 145 feet. That’s appropriate performance for a car wearing a Porsche badge and a $99,070 window sticker.
Ninety-nine large is a lot of money, and our long-termer is actually lightly equipped for a Porsche. Our test car (base price: $88,750) has $10,320 in extras—a mere sprinkling by Porsche standards. The list includes the special green paint ($650), rich Espresso leather slathered on most interior surfaces ($3680), and ventilated seats ($740). We also added a Bose Surround Sound audio system ($900), brushed aluminum interior trim ($900), and gloss-black-painted brake calipers ($900). Wait a minute: plain black brake calipers for 900 bucks? Yep, this is a Porsche all right. At least Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM)—meaning, adaptive dampers—is standard along with Pirelli P Zero PZ4 summer tires, size 235/35ZR-20 up front and 265/35ZR-20 rear.
So now it’s on to the driving, 40K miles worth. We expect to bask in the Cayman’s sweetly intuitive steering; sharp, powerful brakes; and gutsy flat-six every time we climb behind the three-spoke steering wheel. What we can’t be sure of but hope to learn is whether that special driving character is matched by an equal measure of reliability though every season and situation. We’ll report back soon enough, with updates on how the Cayman’s stress test is going every 10,000 miles.
Months in Fleet: 1 month Current Mileage: 3845 miles
Average Fuel Economy: 20 mpg
Fuel Tank Size: 16.9 gal Observed Fuel Range: 330 miles
Service: $0 Normal Wear: $0 Repair: $0
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