Article written by Porsche of The Main Line customer, David Newton.
Last summer, I traded my 2009 Midnight Blue Cayman for a 2016 Macan S, with the self-imposed understanding that I would someday end up in another Cayman — perhaps a GTS or even the GT4. I’m not so sure I could have ultimately pulled the trigger on the Macan otherwise.
I admit I surprised myself by the transaction. But my daily driver was now closing in on 75,000 miles and was more than 6 years old. I don’t know about you, but I am only comfortable when I’m under warranty. I did look closely at the newly released Cayman 981, but ended up in a Macan instead.
Why not the new model? If I’m honest, I was underwhelmed by this next-generation Cayman. It was nice enough, and it outperformed my 987, but the styling just didn’t move me like the original —classic curves and lines reminiscent of the Carrera, but with a completely independent character.
I’m not getting any younger, so my next Porsche could very well be my last one, and I didn’t want to have a single reservation. When the 981 was released, I purposely — OK, with at least some reluctance — paused to see what the engineers at Porsche would come up with in the subsequent model.
I got the chance to flog a 981 Cayman GTS around the track, and I do love the balance of power and agility. But I expected to have the same reaction as I had with my first — I did not. So the Macan would just have to bridge the gap between the Cayman I traded, and the one I’d ultimately end up in.
With the ink on the Macan transaction barely dry, reports from Stuttgart began hinting that the long-rumored Porsche 718 Boxster and Cayman would be powered by a four-cylinder turbocharged engine, replacing the astounding flat-six configuration used in all previous models.
I never dreamed Porsche would go in this direction. Sure, I knew they were committed to forced induction, but I supposed they’d bolt a pair of turbos onto a smaller six as they did with the Carrera. Confirmation of the cylinder reduction followed, and I was a bit freaked as this critically affected my future plans.
I began the process of acceptance and healing nonetheless. I convinced myself the Macan could replace the bond I’d established with my Cayman. I guess I must have been somewhat successful in the effort because I stopped looking — generally ignoring the 718 Boxster and Cayman press.
But when the Boxster was released earlier this year, I admit I was struck by the unique and bold design. I was at my dealer for service and saw a Miami Blue specimen silhouetted in the showroom. I approached it cautiously, like a cornered animal. I sent a series of pictures to my better half as I orbited the display.
Porsche took the almost pedestrian design of the 981 and sculpted it into something truly exciting. The 718 Boxster and Cayman are technically aggressive but beautifully formed. Set your eyes on any panel, and they will be carried to the next without effort.
My obsession with the Cayman was reborn, and I began sifting through news releases and forum discussions, processing everything I could on the 718 including the expected release date. Waiting to see one in person is near torture, and it will test my patience since they aren’t due here in the states until mid-to-late fall.
The 718 has a modernized design with a classic undertone, and may just help me forget my old Cayman — or at least allow me to bury the memory. My wife is enchanted with the styling as well (she never really warmed up as I did to the 987). So we can plan this new addition to the family together.
It’s a bit odd preparing so deliberately for a car I haven’t even seen yet — like standing in line for a movie that hasn’t finished filming. But we are embracing the process with the anticipation of adolescents for the first day of summer vacation.
So how did I reconcile the changes under the hood? That’s a good question. At least part of it came down to technical performance. The 718 Cayman S pumps out 350 horsepower with enormous torque — very impressive even if it does sound a bit like a Subaru.
But the way I figure it, by the time we take delivery, Porsche will have resolved any shortcomings of turbo lag and the lovely burble they left with the flat-six. As it is, if you’d never before heard the gorgeous tone of the previous motor, you’d probably wonder what the fuss was about.
Some will say we are taking a chance, and I can’t really deny that assertion. What if Porsche doesn’t even produce a GTS version of the 718 Cayman? I feel certain they will — they simply must. It might take a year or two, but I know Porsche will do what they have done with every other current model.
Armed with a plan, I met with Erik, the Porsche product specialist who worked out my Cayman/Macan deal, and clearly expressed my intention. We are consequently first on the list for a 718 Cayman GTS — whenever, if ever they release. Graphite Blue Metallic, black wheels with PDK to be specific.
The 718 Cayman GTS will be the pinnacle of the model (possibly excluding the GT4 — to me more a track option). Either way, I’m guessing the GTS will top out around 375 horsepower. That’s extraordinary for a car so light and balanced.
There are also rumors that the GTS model may retain the original flat-six motor, and I admit I favor that approach if Porsche wants to listen to me. But I am prepared for the future either way — this new variant is lighter, more efficient and produces plenty of power and torque. I win either way.
The timing should work out perfectly, as our Macan S will be viably tradeable in 2018 (as near as I can target the GTS package release). I’ll have to be particularly patient as I will be tempted to spec the 718 Cayman S with the typical GTS options, but Porsche will likely make me sorry if I do.
I will be nearly 60 years old when we take delivery, and I hope to drive it into my seventies. For a dream that began more than 40 years ago, the next two years may just kill me. But I can be as pragmatic as the next guy if I set my mind to it.
And I’ll let you know what how it turns out when that glorious day arrives.
About the Author
David Newton is an active board member of the Riesentöter region of the Porsche Club of America (PCA) and a regular contributor and columnist to their newsletter Der Gasser. He doesn’t race and is not a mechanic or an engineer, but he draws from his unique perspective as an enthusiast who loves everything and anything connected with exceptional cars.