Porsche Cay­man GTS

Porsche has used the GTS (Gran Turismo Sport) name since the leg­endary 904 Car­rera GTS of 1963 — can the new Cay­man GTS live up to that fa­mous suf­fix?

New Zealand Classic Car - - CONTENTS - Words: Al­lan Wal­ton Pho­tos: Chris Smith and Adam Croy


NZ Clas­sic Car’s first meet­ing with Porsche’s mid-en­gined Cay­man was back in March 2006. At that time the Cay­man — ef­fec­tively a Boxster with a tin top — was pow­ered by a wa­ter-cooled 3386cc flat-six en­gine de­liv­er­ing 217kw. Our sec­ond Cay­man en­counter ar­rived in 2010, when we road tested the more pow­er­ful Cay­man S. With en­gine ca­pac­ity lifted to 3426cc, the S pumped out 235kw with an ap­pro­pri­ately larger help­ing of torque — enough to pro­pel the sport­ster from rest to 100kph in 5.2 sec­onds be­fore nail­ing down a top speed of 277kph.

While it seem­ingly em­ploys the lazi­est stylists in the world, when it comes to en­gi­neer­ing devel­op­ment Porsche has never been a com­pany to rest on its lau­rels, and so it in­tro­duced the sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion Cay­man mod­els in 2012 with the top-of-the-line GTS ar­riv­ing in 2014. Pack­ing more power and more torque, the GTS shrugs off the bench­mark 0–100kph dash in 4.8 sec­onds with max­i­mum speed el­e­vated to 283kph, mak­ing this stylish coupé the fastest and most pow­er­ful of the breed yet (un­less you count the Cay­man GT4, a car that’s al­most as much 911 as Cay­man). The GTS is even a tad quicker than the stripped out, now dis­con­tin­ued Cay­man R track-day spe­cial. >

In­deed, if you re­ally want to crunch num­bers, the GTS has pushed the Cay­man’s per­for­mance statis­tics firmly into 911 ter­ri­tory — and for a sig­nif­i­cantly lesser price.

As with the first-gen­er­a­tion cars, those with a pref­er­ence for open-top mo­tor­ing can opt for the new Boxster GTS that, on pa­per, of­fers sim­i­lar per­for­mance to the fixed-head Cay­man GTS — although the ma­jor­ity of over­seas road-testers mark out the coupé’s dy­nam­ics as be­ing rather bet­ter than those of the rag-top road­ster.

Com­plet­ing its over­all spec­i­fi­ca­tions, the GTS gains a set of good-look­ing 20-inch al­loy wheels, and a re­tuned PASM adap­tively-damped sus­pen­sion with a lower ride height, while the Sport Chrono pack­age adds dy­namic en­gine mounts, sports ex­haust and seats, plus bi-xenon cor­ner­ing head­lights. More no­tice­able is the new rear spoiler, while a re­vised bumper adds an ex­tra 30.48mm to the car’s over­all length.

Stan­dard trans­mis­sion is an old-school six-speed man­ual, although our test car came fit­ted with Porsche’s seven-speed Dop­pelkup­plungs­getriebe (PDK) flappy-pad­dle set-up — a $6600 op­tion.

Porsche Pan­e­gyric

Well, that’s some­thing I’m not nor­mally in­clined to put on pa­per, although truth be known, while I’ve never been im­bued with an over­bear­ing pas­sion for the cars from Zuf­fen­hausen, my mo­tor­ing past does in­clude a few mem­o­rable Porsche mo­ments.

Up at the top would be a week spent in a gen­uine 356 Speed­ster, a car that al­most made up for the time that I ditched a Su­per 90 through a hedge (back­wards, of course) — a dis­as­trous driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence from my youth. In­deed, the only down­side to a week of de­light­ful Speed­ster mo­tor­ing was that, when­ever I stopped, passers-by al­ways asked the same ques­tion — “Is it a replica?”

How­ever, ei­ther I’m mel­low­ing with age, or go­ing soft in the head, but I have to say that I en­joyed our day with the all-new 911 Targa late last year ( NZ Clas­sic Car, Oc­to­ber 2014) and now, de­spite the fact that I was rather un­der­whelmed by the Cay­man S we drove a few years ago, I found my­self fully in ap­proval of the GTS.

Sure, I’ve al­ways been pre­pared — al­beit some­what re­luc­tantly — to ac­knowl­edge the Cay­man’s im­pres­sive on-road ca­pa­bil­i­ties, and you re­ally can’t fault a Porsche that doesn’t have that iconic flat-six mo­tor dan­gling out be­yond its rear axle. Af­ter the pre­vi­ously-men­tioned very-plea­sur­able 911 Targa ex­pe­ri­ence, I shouldn’t re­ally have been taken aback by the re­al­iza­tion that the GTS turned out to be such a im­pres­sive car to drive — but it still caught me by sur­prise.

One thing that didn’t take me by sur­prise was the PDK trans­mis­sion fit­ted to our test car. I’d al­ready sam­pled this sev­en­speeder in the 911 Targa, so I knew what to ex­pect — ab­so­lute pre­ci­sion. >

In­deed, if you re­ally want to crunch num­bers, the GTS has pushed the Cay­man’s per­for­mance statis­tics firmly into 911 ter­ri­tory — and for a sig­nif­i­cantly lesser price

Although the GTS can be had with a six-speed man­ual gear­box, I’d sus­pect that most GTS buy­ers would front up the ex­tra cash for the PDK trans­mis­sion — a flappy-pad­dle set-up that re­ally works well, and pro­vides the best of both worlds. Put­ter­ing around town in auto mode, the unit shifts gears smoothly with­out even the mer­est hint of jerk­i­ness, while on the open road, it’s an ab­so­lute plea­sure switch­ing to man­ual se­lec­tion for re­ally clean, fast changes both up and down the box — ac­tions that are aided by sen­si­ble lo­ca­tion of the flappy pad­dles, not some­thing Porsche has al­ways got right. Any­way, you know you’re hav­ing fun when you find your­self swap­ping cogs sim­ply for the sheer joy of lis­ten­ing to the flat six sing.

And the GTS isn’t just storm und drang — on the black­top, the Cay­man per­forms its sports car du­ties with skill and pre­ci­sion. Although it has a firm ride, the Porsche never be­comes too harsh and, as a re­sult, body con­trol is top of the class and it ex­hibits very lit­tle lat­eral body roll. Al­lied to bags of grip, ex­cel­lent steer­ing re­sponse and de­pend­able brakes, the GTS loves to be given its head through a se­ries of de­mand­ing cor­ners, yet still of­fers re­laxed mo­tor­way cruis­ing. As well, with its en­gine mounted in a sen­si­ble po­si­tion, the GTS main­tains iron con­trol over dive and pitch.

Aid­ing the car’s road­abil­ity is the com­bi­na­tion of Porsche’s PASM adap­tively damped sus­pen­sion and the stan­dard fit­ment of its Sport Chrono pack­age, al­low­ing keen driv­ers to tog­gle be­tween a pro­gres­sive sport mode on the one hand and longdis­tance com­fort on the other at the sim­ple press of a but­ton. As you’d ex­pect, all this works with ex­em­plary Teu­tonic ef­fi­ciency.


NZ Clas­sic Car’s hard-work­ing deputy edi­tor, Ash­ley, has pre­vi­ously dipped his toes into porcine wa­ters, hav­ing owned a few air-cooled 911s in the past. Although he’s since re­verted to type and now owns a clas­sic Mus­tang, Ash­ley was cer­tainly on the side of the Cay­man GTS, and reck­oned that one would look rather good in his home garage.

As for me — well, for in­stance, would I choose the Cay­man over a sim­i­larly priced, su­per­charged V6 F-type Jaguar? Prob­a­bly not — the Bri­tish car pos­sesses cer­tain de­sir­able qual­i­ties that, for me, Porsche has al­ways lacked. How­ever, hav­ing said that, the Ger­man au­tomaker is get­ting aw­fully close to pro­vid­ing me with a tempt­ing op­tion if I should ever win Lotto.

The Cay­man GTS also brings an­other in­ter­est­ing as­pect to the sur­face. Once upon a time many would have sug­gested that Cay­man — or, in­deed, Boxster — own­ers were sim­ply Porschep­hiles who as­pired to but couldn’t af­ford a ‘proper’ Porsche, a 911.

I don’t know if that’s a valid ar­gu­ment any longer. For my­self, I’d al­ways opt for a mid-en­gined sports car rather than one with a rear en­gine — es­pe­cially when it’s as well bal­anced as the Cay­man GTS. And as I don’t nor­mally carry around a brief­case or have small chil­dren, I have no need for the 911’s to­ken rear seats. As well, there’s re­ally not a mas­sive dif­fer­ence be­tween the over­all per­for­mance of the GTS and a 911.

Of course, Porsche purists (are there any of those left now that Porsche has dis­con­tin­ued its decades-long af­fair with clat­tery air­cooled en­gines?) will un­doubt­edly dis­agree with that sen­ti­ment, stick­ing res­o­lutely to the hoary old opin­ion that the only Porsche truly worth own­ing is the (now wa­ter-cooled) 911.

Ev­ery­one else should prob­a­bly save a shed-load of cash and opt for the Cay­man GTS.

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