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2017 Porsche 718 CAYMAN owner review

Theo G

About the Porsche 718

Theo G purchased this Porsche 718 used in 2019. Theo G would buy this car again because: “For the ‘baby Porsche’, and supposedly the ‘ugly, gruff duckling’ of the Porsche lineup, the 718 can still walk the walk. While the old flat-6 in the base Caymans are sorely missed, that doesn’t mean the 2.0L 4-cyl doesn’t have a charm of its own…”

How reliable has your car been? Tell us about any issues.

Here’s the thing about Porsches. 9.9 times out of 10, they’re built like absolute tanks.

The same goes with this. Even though this is an early build-date car, with essentially a brand new engine design, there have been next to zero issues with it. Nothing with the engine, nothing with the electronics, nothing with suspension, nada.

And build quality…

This was our first foray into Porsche-land. And just the way that everything just clicks, clacks, clunks… Tactile. That’s the theme of this whole car. Tactile. Volume knobs, A/C controls, the ‘Sport Chrono’ toggle switch, the paddle shifters, all have this weight and sound to them. Sometimes, they even go a touch too far. The indicator stalks sound and feel like you’re breaking someone’s bone…

But here’s a big example, the doors. You’d think ‘a door is a door is a door’, right? Well, typically, the way a car door closes is a big indicator as to the quality of the rest of the car. From the sounds, the rattles, any vibrations, the weight of it, all are the first indicators a person has to a car, past the looks.

The 718: *C H O N K*.

Ok. I have to find some faults, but these aren’t even faults of the car.

  • When we first got the car, we noticed the brakes would squeak. The Porsche Centre just put some copper paste on, and told us to ‘brake a bit harder, to stop the squeaking.’ And it worked.
  • The steering, when at full lock, will jolt quite badly, worse in cold weather. But that’s all due to the Ackermann Geometry of the steering, causing the tyres to rub on itself. Just… leave it. It’s all fine.

What do you think of the ownership experience with your car?

Typical: Brilliant, but M O N E Y.

Looking at it from a ‘Cost of Ownership’ POV: It’s a Porsche. So servicing cost alternate between around $695 and $1290 or so, as a major service involves the entire engine being taken out (something foreign to a front-engined pleb like me).

And just ‘General Ownership’: The ergonomics of this car, considering the size and layout of the thing, is as perfect as it gets. Just the fact there are the folding cupholders in front of the passenger seats, and door pockets that perfectly fit a small metal bottle, is great enough. Add in the fact that you could fit a full-size suit case + soft carry-on in front, then pack in two soft carry-ons in the back, and you got yourself one pretty practical (and stuffed) little machine.

Just for reference, we had to move house with this and my Toyota 86. This car could pretty much hold my mother’s ENTIRE wardrobe. Keyword: ‘Mother’s’. Imagine…

The car also came with PPF applied from the previous owner, covering all the vulnerable weak spots (front bumper, front fenders, side, skirts, bonnet, roof, doors and spoiler for good measure.). So cleaning this car is WAAAAY better than the A90 Supra, and its Matte Paint.

What’s more, visibility is amazing, even in comparison to my 86 or a Camry. Throw in the automatically moving seats and steering wheel for easier ingress and egress, this is by a country mile the most liveable sports car I’ve ever experienced.

Are you happy with the price and features of your car?

With Porsche, it’s understandable that majority of what you mostly pay for is the way it drives. But this is taking the piss a bit, surely…

Note, MSRP for a base 718 Cayman, with GT silver paint, Carrera Classic wheels in black, Sports exhaust, BOSE sound system, and ‘Sport Chrono package’, would run you around $150k or so. Maybe less now.

But with that, you get ZERO driver assistance systems, aside from obligatory traction control and stability control.

  • No blind-spot monitoring
  • No lane-keeping assist
  • No adaptive cruise control
  • No Speed sign recognition

Now, I get what people will say. ‘Who cares about those systems. It’s a driver car!’ I’m with you on that. But all of these are systems available AS STANDARD on a Camry Ascent Sport, and standard on the A90 Supra.

The infotainment system is simple, but effective. No fancy tricks or menus, but when you just want to listen to music from a USB, perfect. And Apple CarPlay is a nice touch (looking at you Toyota…)

And the options you do get are well worth the seemingly insane prices they ask. Key thing for future Porsche buyers. Sports Chrono, exhaust. All you really need for a ‘desirable’ spec.

But hey, no one really cares about all that stuff… We all wanna know what’s coming up.

What do you think of the performance and economy of your car?

The main event.

The thrum of the flat-4 is… surprising. What gets you is the bass of the sound. The thing at idle kind of sounds like a tractor, and mini-revs will make the thing sound like a mildly-modded STI.

Now, most people hate this sound. Obviously it’s far removed from the sonorous flat-6s, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a character of its own. It’s more gruff, more angry sounding. Add a touch of turbo whistle and you got an engine wanting to prove something.

2000 to 3000 rpm, out of boost, no one really home. 4000 rpm, okay they starting to come home now. 5000+, HERE WE GO!

There is an inherit lag to the turbo, but the satisfaction from the arrival of full boost is so much fun. You can’t duck and dive whenever you feel, like the Supra, you gotta wade it out just a bit more, but it’s so much more satisfying to feel the turbo kick in, and watch the analogue gauge start climbing up the tacho.

Also, factory claimed 0-100km/h time of 4.9 seconds? Easy. Flick to ‘Sport+’ on the Chrono toggle. Plant left foot hard on brake, mash accelerator, “WHABABABABABABA-“, off the brake and off she flies. No wheelspin, no heroics. Just pure business.

What’s next, transmission? Perfect.
Yes, a manual would be more fun, but:

  • This ain’t mine
  • This PDK is the best ‘auto’ box ever.

Rapid shifts, up and down, immediate input with the paddles. No clunking at low speeds like cheaper dual-clutches. And press the funny little black button in the middle of the Chrono toggle, and 7th to like 2nd *click* like that.

Oh yeah, that toggle. The magic switch. Normal, Sport, Sport+ and individual. With it, comes ‘Sport Response’, which allows for 30 seconds of Overboost from the turbos.
“Click that black button for a trip to space and the local Police Station.”

Do not, for a second, think that with this new 4 cylinder, the 718s have no character. On the contrary, there’s a new beast in this car. There’s a new personality, and it’s quite something!

Oh! I forgot fuel economy. around 10-11L/100km. Okay.

What do you think of the technology in your car?

As said before, sparce. But adequate.

When you’re driving something like this, you don’t really care about infotainment and other toys. So what it comes with, is perfectly fine.

The mini-screen on the right of the centre Tacho is perfect for scrolling through content. Engine stuff, g-meter, navigation, music. All good. And as said, the center infotainment screen, is perfectly fine. Fast enough processor, adequate graphics. again. All good.

The optional Bose speakers are absolutely brilliant… if the car is sitting still, with the engine off. The bassy nature of the flat 4 will drown and muddy any music you have. Great for people who like ‘SkullCandy’ headphones, but for normal people… sorry.

What do you think of the ride comfort and handling of your car?

Once you set off, the steering hits you next. It’s heavy, like REALLY heavy. Stepping straight out of the two Toyotas, the steering wheel feels like there’s glue on the shaft in comparison. But the upshot is that it talks to you. Porsche copped a lot of flack for the electric steering rack in the 991-gen 911. And they perfected it over time, to now this, where it just communicates every bump, undulation and stone on the road.

And you have to commit. While in the Supra you could flex a pinky and have the car darting away, you gotta put some arms into your inputs by comparison. But the positive is satisfaction. It weights up better than the Supra. You know full well when you’re approaching the limit, at the limit, and past it. There’s not vagueness to it, no second guessing, and it’s so much more satisfying, more rewarding.

And I just got to suspension. It rolls a touch more than the Supra, and front end grip is both less and more, depending on the type of corner, and how you manage it. But the car will squat more under power, giving you this uncanny level of stability out of corners. In fact, the entire sequence of cornering between these two cars is completely done differently.

  • The Supra will squirm, need crap-ton of correction coming in and midway through the corner, and under power, the rear is flying out like a Black-Friday special.
  • The 718 will do none of that. Brake, turn, boot it. That’s it.

It depends really, on your driving style and what you want out of it. If you want a thrilling, adrenalin ride, then the Supra is the one for you. If you just wanna go fast, and gain satisfaction from just being THAT perfect, 718 has no equal.

Do you have any additional comments about your car?

Think of this as like a ‘Part 2’ of my Supra review I made earlier.

This car belongs to my mother, who had the trade-up of the century from a CLA200 to this.

The previous owner to this car deserves a shout-out. You always fear buying a car from a Privateer, especially something like this, more so if it’s nearly on the other side of the country. But this guy was a gem.

Super passionate about his car, ultra-meticulous, and as a bonus, REALLY knew how to drive the thing. The car did see a few mountain roads in some sort of anger, but you genuinely would not be able to tell.

I chose this car for my mum, because it basically summed up what she wanted from a car. Subtle, drop-dead gorgeous, and when you poke it, just goes. No fuss. Even with all the criticisms, she still loves the car to death, and she nicknamed the car ‘Mads’, short for ‘Madness’. It’s her pride and joy.

Stay tuned for Part 3 I guess, the ‘rapscallion’ of the group.

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Show Breakdown
Technology 8.8
Reliability 9.8
Ride & Handling 9.7
Price & Features 8.1
Performance & Economy 9
Ownership Experience 8.7
Top Line Specs
Not tested
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