Los Angeles is the perfect setting for the driving enthusiast. Between the glitz, glam, awesome neighborhoods, and the epic food scene are superb roads perfect for cars like the 2021 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS 4.0. These twisting layers of asphalt are your playground, the place where you (plus one lucky person) can have one of the most euphoric automotive experiences out there.
The 2021 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS 4.0 splits the difference between the Cayman S and thehard coree Cayman GT4. It takes cues from both vehicles to create one of the best all-around sports cars available. While most of the exterior looks like a standard car, you’ll find a GTS 4.0 badge on the lower part of the door and split dual exhausts hinting that this isn’t just any 718 Cayman. Other telltale signs are black exterior accents, 20-inch alloy wheels, and the standard Sport Design package.
Under the hood of the 2021 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS 4.0 is a 4.0-liter flat-six with 394 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque (309 lb-ft with the manual). In addition to the standard six-speed manual transmission, you can also get a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic like in our test car. Other standard go-fast goodies include a mechanical locking differential with torque vectoring, larger brake rotors (350 mm/330 mm front/rear), a sport exhaust system, and a PASM sport suspension that’s 20 mm lower than a standard Cayman. The Sport Chrono package, which adds launch control, the sport response button, additional drive modes, a dash-mounted stopwatch, and dynamic transmission mounts, is also standard on all 718 GTS 4.0 models. Should you want to configure every aspect of the car, you can do that via the Individual drive mode. This allows you to mix and match the suspension, powertrain, exhaust, rear spoiler, and auto start/stop system.
The result? A mid-engine sports car that comes alive in your hands and gives you a sensory overload. Turn the precise and ultra-quick steering wheel and the car goes exactly where you point it. This comes into full focus on a road like Angeles Crest where the car slices through every corner like a precision scalpel. Together with nonexistent body roll, relentless grip, and incredible composure, the 718 Cayman GTS 4.0’s handling capabilities impress. You don’t lose out much on compliance either. Although it is stiffer than the standard car, the GTS 4.0 is still compliant enough for daily driving. You still feel some harsher impacts but they’re muted enough that they’re not bothersome, even with the adaptive dampers in Sport mode.
Completing the equation is a total aural delight of an engine and a transmission that essentially reads your mind. Porsche’s 4.0-liter flat-six provides prodigious power to move the 3,234-pound and 718 Cayman GTS 4.0. This mill happily revs to its 7,800-rpm redline, giving you smooth, even power delivery whenever you want it. While it doesn’t make peak torque until 5,500 rpm and its peak horsepower doesn’t arrive until 7,000 rpm, there’s still plenty to work with because of how willingly the engine screams to redline. In fact, you want to keep the engine screaming just to hear it go from baritone to full-on Banshee wail as you explore its powerband. Even when you think you’ve gone through the whole rev range, you’ll realize you still have almost 3,000 rpm left before you hit the redline.
Porsche’s seven-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic remains a sweetheart. It snaps off shifts so quickly, it’s already upshifted or downshifted before you let go of the paddle. Put your foot down in seventh gear and it’ll instantly drop to fourth without giving you shift shock or any unwanted shuddering. Put the car in manual mode and you’ll have full control of the transmission, allowing you to explore the engine’s power band even more. Be mindful of the tall gearing though because you’ll be at arrest-me speeds sooner than you expect.
The 718 Cayman GTS 4.0’s dual nature further reveals itself once you get inside the cabin. In typical Porsche fashion, the fit and finish are first-rate. There isn’t a single piece that doesn’t feel expensive and everything button or knob you operate gives off a satisfying click. Even with the standard Race-Tex (leatherette)/Alcantara interior, the 718’s cabin is a nice place to spend time in. It’s easy to find your perfect driving position, and all controls fall close to you. Surprisingly, it’s also well insulated from road, tire, and wind noise even with the standard 20-inch alloy wheels. The sound you’ll hear most is that glorious engine, which is not something you want to keep muted.
Even with the mid-engine layout, the Cayman is practical enough for you and another person to take on a road trip. The 9.2-cubic-foot under the hatch; however, the floor isn’t flat due to the engine being back there and the window eats up some of the space. You’ll need to put some items in the 5.2-cubic-foot frunk, which is surprisingly deep.
You get an older version of Porsche’s PCM interface in the 718 Cayman and Boxster lineups. It uses a small 7.0-inch touch screen, but it’s quick to respond and has Apple CarPlay support. You also get physical shortcuts and climate control buttons instead of the haptic feedback ones in the newer models like the Taycan. We’d suggest spending extra for one of the two upgraded audio systems if you want another source of aural pleasure because the base eight-speaker unit is nothing to write home about.
The lack of a fully digital gauge cluster gives the Cayman an old-school feel, further adding to the car’s analog nature. You can still reconfigure the 4.6-inch display to the right of the tachometer to show everything from navigation to the engine and transmission oil temperature. Our test car cost $94,200 as tested with the only two options being the built-in navigation and the PDK gearbox. As expected, getting carried away with the options will cause the Cayman’s price to balloon significantly; such is the cost of endless customizability.
When you put every component of the 2021 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS 4.0 together, you get one of the most intoxicating driving experiences currently available. It’s sharp, powerful, refined, and it makes all the right noises to get your heart racing. The best part is you’re not getting punished for having all that fun because the Cayman remains relatively comfortable for daily use. No, it’s tech isn’t the newest but it works well enough that it passes in that regard. It’s the wondrous road manners and mechanical symphony that matter most with the 718 Cayman GTS 4.0.
A driver’s car makes every drive an occasion, even if you’re only going to get groceries. It’s an extension of you, a vehicle that gives you confidence and a huge grin on your face. That’s exactly what the 2021 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS 4.0 does to you. It becomes part of you and all components work harmoniously to satisfy you every single time you’re in the driver’s seat. You’ll look for reasons to go out for a drive whenever the opportunity presents itself.
At a glance
- Year: 2021
- Model: 718 Cayman GTS 4.0
- Type: Mid-engine, two-seat coupe
- Horsepower: 394 hp
- Torque: 317 lb-ft
- MPG ratings (city/highway/combined): 19/24/21 (Manual: 17/24/19)
- Pros: Incredible ride and handling, screamer engine, fantastic fit and finish
- Cons: Tall transmission gearing, gets even more expensive quickly
- Base price: $88,150
- Price as tested: $92,400