2021 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS 4.0 manual delights the soul
We often forgive when we feel nostalgic, remembering things as better than they used to be, or even flawless. This is the case with manual transmissions. In our preemptive commemoration of their almost inevitable demise, we forget that the abandonment of gear changes was in part because they can be nicked, snappy, sloppy and miserable in traffic. Then you get behind the wheel of the Porsche 718 Cayman GTS 4.0, engage its mouse fur-covered gearshift lever, and find your memories silenced the quality of a stick. If the one awesome thing about the 2021 GTS 4.0 was its wonderful six-speed, that would be enough to make it a worthwhile buy, but its manual is just one fun among many.
Despite their kindness, the Caymans are not well respected. The 718 GTS 4.0 is still approached with suspicion, in part because the turbocharged four cylinders in the lower models (including the predecessor GTS) are quite powerful but not exactly inspiring. Then there’s the biggest question for any Porsche – heck, for any sports car: how good can it be when it’s not a 911? Fortunately, the Cayman comes with front and rear cargo areas to carry all that luggage. Go ahead and test it. Where does the GTS 4.0 fit in its range? The GTS 4.0 is sleeker and more powerful than the 718 four-cylinder models but less sleek and less powerful than the Cayman GT4, which has 20 more horsepower. But it probably drives better than all of them. With a base price of $ 88,150 (as tested: $ 100,990), it’s not the best deal, and yet it’s nearly perfect.
The big problem with GTS 4.0 is the 4.0 part. Instead of the turbocharged flat-four found in lower Caymans, the GTS gets a 4.0-liter flat-six that breathes uncompressed air like nature intended. With so many turbo-shredders these days, the joys of a naturally aspirated engine are few and far between. But like falling in love with three pedals again, it only takes a few seconds in the GTS 4.0 to remember what’s good about unforced induction. This six-cylinder buzzes like a happy baby when you start it up, and it laughs louder and louder the more you step on the accelerator. With 394 horsepower and 309 pound-feet of torque, this isn’t a Screaming Mimi of a car. It’s a happy candy, no matter how badly Porsche tries to imbue it with threat via a redesigned lower fairing and dark exterior trims and wheels. Your neighbor will shout: âCute! When you pass, and she’ll be right. The GTS is adorable.
Just because it’s user-friendly doesn’t mean it doesn’t perform well. The GTS is light on its feet, changes direction like a barrel racing pony, and it’s just as self-confident. In our testing, the GTS’s 20-inch Pirelli P Zero PZ4 summer tires helped it pull 1.04g on the skid pad, which is almost enough to throw you out of the saddle. Too bad they don’t offer sports seats in Alcantara and leather with tightening strap and knob. Horse racing would never be the same again. Back in the car, you gallop at 60 mph in 3.8 seconds and cover the quarter mile in 12.0 seconds flat at 120 mph. There are plenty of faster sports cars out there, but few will make you feel so peaceful at speed. Roll up the big six and her revs soar as Simone Biles goes for gold. Like Biles, you’ll still respect the landing, with brakes that stop things from 70 mph in a solid 142 feet without ever feeling gripping. That’s with the standard setup: six-piston calipers securing 13.8-inch cast-iron rotors at the front with four-pot calipers and 13.0-inch rotors at the rear. Porsche’s Composite Ceramic Brakes (PCCB) are a $ 7,410 option on the GTS, but nowhere in the notes did our test team bemoan their absence.
The real allure of the GTS is how fun it is to drive when you’re not doing everything. Ride around town and the clutch action is perfectly balanced with the brake and accelerator pedals. The engine slams behind your head and the ride quality is as smooth and smooth as the Race-Tex faux suede that covers everything from the headliner to the armrests. The smooth ride comes despite the GTS’s suspension being set 0.8 inches lower than on standard 718 models. Porsche’s adaptive dampers do their job well, providing a forgiving ride for the slowed-down part of town and appropriately firming up at the push of a button when the roads are worth talking about.
Complaints about the GTS are minimal. The six-speed gearing is a bit big – you could take a highway trip and never get out of second gear – but that’s only a minus point because it’s so much fun to change gears. speed. The GTS 4.0 doesn’t get jaw-dropping fuel economy either – a total of 21 mpg estimated by the EPA – but if efficiency is your concern, Porsche makes a nice electric car these days. And the Cayman’s cabin is comfortable, but not particularly attractive. This car doesn’t impress people with big screens and back seat massages. Its 7.0-inch touchscreen isn’t big, and the 718 doesn’t have rear seats of any kind. A family car that the GTS is not. But a commuter for a driver who likes to take the long road? Sunday consolation for a poet inspired by the summits? You bet. While Porsche offers its excellent seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission in the GTS 4.0 for $ 3,730, if you’re hesitant in your commitment to living the manual life, there might not be a better car with which to renew your gear. wishes.
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