2014 Porsche Cayman GTS Review

It’s the most hardcore of the Caymans, but does that actually make it better?

By Shahzad Sheikh

2014 Porsche Cayman GTS Review

I reviewed the Cayman mid-last year and you can read that here, so I won’t go into the basics of introducing the new generation Cayman all over again. What you want to know now is, what makes the GTS version so hardcore? That’s what this 2014 Porsche Cayman GTS Review is all about.

Imthishan’s video walkaround and verdict on the new Cayman GTS

What’s GTS about it?

You get 15bhp more, and 7lb ft of extra torque for the 3.4-litre flat-six. Doesn’t sound like much, but you also get a 10mm ride height drop, or 20mm with the optional Sports Chassis fitted to the yellow car we tested and pictured here (which also removes adaptive dampers). Plus there’s Adaptive Stability Management and the Sports Chrono Pack, as well as alcantara and leather interior upholstery.

Actually most of this stuff is available as options on the regular Cayman, but then you wouldn’t get the GTS badge (plus it works out considerably less expensive overall). The GTS badge denotes perceived extra performance, ability and sportiness.

2014 Porsche Cayman GTS Review

What’s it like to drive?

So all good then? This is the Cayman that takes the fight to the 911, and in the process comprehensively trounces every other wanna-be sportscar along the way, right? Er… Not quite.

This generation of Boxster/Cayman has already caused me to do a U-turn on my previous thinking when it came to the Stuttgart sportscars – since the original Boxster was introduced in 1996, I always maintained that the slightly cheaper Boxster/Cayman duo, being mid-engined, with more a accessible depth of ability, were the better more satisfying cars to drive, compared to the costlier 911 variants.

However as stated in my previous Cayman review, I feel the new electric steering has really let the car down in terms of actual driver engagement. For the GTS this gets compounded by sheer racecar-like poise and dynamics of the sportier set-up.

2014 Porsche Cayman GTS Review

During hard cornering apart from a little initial understeer from the light front end, the turn in is sharp, precise and the 235/35 front tyres and 265/35s rears on massive 20-inch wheels, dig in and grip like glue. Even lifting off the throttle barely adjusts the attitude. The cornering speeds are therefore extraordinary, and road-holding limits are beyond anything I could hope to exceed with my limited skillset.

Performance is obviously fantastic, if not quite neck-snapping, off the line. It takes a moment for momentum to build, but there is strong mid-range pull and the gearbox is quick and works well whether you use the proper Turbo-style paddles or leave it to sort its own ratios out.

I sense a major ‘but’ coming

So far all you’re hearing is positives right? Sweet-looking little sportscar that goes like a rocket and grips like a mother. What’s wrong with any of that?

2014 Porsche Cayman GTS Review

Absolutely nothing of course. Except that I think it’s basically gotten too good for its own good now. Too efficient, too purposeful, too perfect, too… well, remote.

I was impressed by it, I wasn’t engaged by it; I was left with a lot of respect for it, but I didn’t lust after it. After completing a run across into the mountains and back, I didn’t really want to do drive it again at all. And when it comes to pure ‘driver’s cars’ that’s not right is it?

Part of that is probably to do with the hard ride having left me a little sore. Then there was – shock, horror for a Porsche – an incessant rattle from somewhere in this particular car, the boomy but not necessarily pleasant sports exhaust, the very average stereo which caused nasty resonance vibration in the driver’s door, the too-tight seats, not having anywhere to put anything in the cabin etc, etc…

2014 Porsche Cayman GTS Review

But those are usually the sort of things you readily forgive in a great sportscar – unfortunately, for me, this isn’t that either. But it is very fast, very composed and will flatter your driving abilities.

Verdict

At AED258,400 its only AED30,700 more than a Cayman S, so it ticks the ‘value’ box in Porsche terms, and it’s still way less than you’d pay for the cheapest 911 – AED344,600. Although the options on the test Cayman GTS took the price up to AED312,000.

The Porsche 911 though has also suffered from the artificial steering feel, but there’s still an overall ‘specialness’ that makes up for it, and there’s still plenty of reward to be had from peddling that enduring icon.

2014 Porsche Cayman GTS Review

Back to the Cayman GTS though, and if it were possible to buy a Chevrolet Corvette C7 for the official manufacturer price of just AED250,000 I would say forget this, just get that – however dealers are still commanding in excess of 300k, and there’s a waiting list. If you like power, check out the Camaro ZL1 or Dodge Challenger SRT8 (2015 models with the vastly improved interiors now on the way) both for considerably less money.

My next suggestion would be to save up a bit more and go for the Alfa Romeo 4C from AED280k, just about the best driver’s tool out there right now – and actually cheaper than the next best, the Lotus Evora. Otherwise go for a regular Cayman or Cayman S for at least a more comfortable overall experience.

2015 Porsche Cayman GTS Review – The Specs

Price: AED258,400 ($70,350)
Engine: 3.5-litre flat-six cylinder, 335bhp @ 7400rpm, 280lb ft @ 4750-5800rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic PDK, rear-wheel drive
Fuel Economy: 9/100km
Performance: 0-100kph 4.6 seconds, Top speed 285kph
Gross Weight: 1375kg

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