Expert Reviews

2022 Porsche 718 Cayman T Review

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I recently read that more than US$100 billion, or less than half of Elon Musk’s one-time net worth, had already been invested in self-driving technology with limited tangible results.

The illustrious Tesla CEO has touted the imminent coming of so-called “full self-driving” functionality for years, but it still hasn’t come to be. After spending a week with the 2022 Porsche 718 Cayman T, I hope that remains the case for years to come.

OK, I wouldn’t have minded if the rest of the traffic would have moved over to the rightmost lane and promptly engaged autonomous settings of their own. Such is the only frustration when it comes to driving the new Cayman T. Some may argue that a true driver’s Porsche can’t solely offer 300 hp, or one fewer than a V6-equipped Toyota Camry; but they clearly mistake driving excitement with straight-line speed. What this Cayman provides is a truly immersive driving experience that promotes momentum and not instant bursts of speed. Like the Mazda MX-5 and Toyota GR86, the 718 is balanced to perfection.

Driving Feel: 9.5/10

Balance isn’t necessarily related to weight distribution. Balance equates to how every driving element is tuned in relation to the rest. In other words, power doesn’t overwhelm the chassis, steering and brakes are complementary and easy to modulate, and all mechanical systems operate in perfect unison.

Too many of us are spoiled by video games to be capable of grasping the delicate intricacies of what it means to drive. Feedback and communication with the car are vital and impossible to replicate in a video game – or even an 807-hp Dodge Challenger, no matter how extraordinary it might be (which it is).

Thanks to the included Porsche Active Suspension Management Sport (PASM Sport), which lowers the car by 20 mm (0.8 in), this little Porsche is one with the road. It sounds cliché, but the reality is that being closer to the ground, tipping the scale at only 1,380 kg (3,040 lb), and being blessed with a chassis this capable means grip and traction are a given. And – within reason, of course – this car will always respond positively to driver inputs.

Driving the 2022 Cayman T is rewarding beyond imagination. So proficient is the car at being driven hard or otherwise that it’s quick to convince the driver it’s he or she that’s skilled. Key to this is the chassis that’s honed for scaling mountain passes and switchbacks. Above all, the suspension and its dampers never punish occupants.

Finally, there’s the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. To this day, no other transmission of any kind is as gifted at being both hyperactive and efficient as the vaunted Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK). Its ability to respond to driver desires ahead of inputs leads me to believe that Porsche engineers have developed a psychic-like technology that allows the transmission to read minds.

Power: 8.5/10

Power in this T-for-touring two-seater comes from a turbocharged 2.0L flat four-cylinder that produces 300 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. Again, these might not seem like Porsche numbers to you. If so, you’re confusing a 911 Turbo S with the 718 Cayman T. And yet both are very much Porsches.

From a standstill, the tested T with the always excellent PDK and optional Sport Chrono package will hit 100 km/h in 4.7 seconds. While this figure is in Ford Mustang GT territory, the 718’s story has only just begun. That’s because speed is not uniquely a number – it’s a feeling, too.

The engine’s torque is full-on from 2,150 rpm all the way to 4,500 rpm, meaning forward thrust is sustained. But more than just the surroundings blurring, the Cayman T tells you through the steering wheel, throttle pedal, and tires that the game is on. The standard sport exhaust, whether activated or not, also delivers the same message.

Fuel Economy: 8/10

You may be surprised to learn that, for the power and performance built into each Porsche, they happen to be quite fuel-efficient. The 718 Cayman T with the PDK will return a combined average of 10.1 L/100 km. And while my average was a little higher than that, I can’t be blamed for driving this car as it was intended for a week.

Styling: 9.5/10

Now here’s a bold revelation: the Porsche 718 Cayman is prettier than a 911. I’m not bashing that legendary rear-engine sports car, but its mid-engine sibling has tighter proportions and a more pleasing profile In other words, the 718’s got less junk in the trunk.

Included with the T trim are 20-inch titanium grey Carrera S wheels along with unique decorative lettering. And, as configured, this Cayman T, is sublime. Racing yellow is quite possibly the best-suited colour for the package as it wonderfully contrasts and highlights the trim and high-gloss black twin tailpipes from the sport exhaust system.

Practicality: 8/10

The Cayman isn’t just a toy for driving enthusiasts – it can be useful, too. Like all other 718 Caymans, it has a 150-L frunk that can hold a weekend’s worth of clothing, and a 272-L trunk for everything else.

Features: 8.5/10

The 718 Cayman T’s cabin is a simple affair. Essentially, it provides the driver with all the elements he or she needs and little more. Despite the car’s size, it’s still delivered with dual-zone climate control, an eight-speaker audio system, and a number of other expected creature comforts. My personal favourites are the door-opening fabric loops instead of handles.

User-Friendliness: 8.5/10

The current 718 Series dates back to 2016, and with it comes an older Porsche dashboard. Its layout is devoid of large screens and a digital instrument panel, but features a series of hard buttons that satisfies the older man I’ve become.

Comfort: 8.5/10

The standard sport seats plus are superbly supportive and comfortable. The limited adjustments mean a perfect driving position is quick and easy to find. They are also lighter than the adaptive sport seats and far less expensive than full carbon-fibre buckets.

Value: 9/10

Porsche: there is no substitute. That’s the bottom line when it comes to value. There are alternatives to the $81,700 718 Cayman T, but none match the Porsche on all fronts. The brand alone carries a tremendous amount of clout, which itself commands a premium.

Thankfully, Porsche’s reputation for making some – if not the – greatest sports cars in history is reflected in all its vehicles. And about the alternatives. The Toyota GR Supra, the new Nissan Z, and BMW M2 come to mind. And although all can be more powerful than the Cayman T, none are as satisfying or effervescent as the Porsche.

Safety: 8.5/10

As a modern and unburdened sports car, the 2022 Porsche 718 Cayman T features only the necessary safety elements. It’s fitted with front and rear parking sensors, driver and passenger airbags, and side impact protection, plus the back-up camera that’s mandatory on all new vehicles sold in Canada. As this car demands that the driver be fully involved in the goings on, there’s no need for more.

The Verdict

The thing with the Porsche 718 Cayman T is that it’s reserved for only a few true driving enthusiasts. It’s all Porsche and extremely special, but probably not the Porsche most owners would brag about. I’ve long since referred to the 911 Turbo S as little more than a flex because of the car’s price and status. It’s mind-bogglingly good and fast, but less than a handful of owners are capable of fully experiencing its capabilities.

The 2022 Porsche 718 Cayman T, on the other hand, is within reach of many drivers and is utterly entertaining. Looking for a weekend track-day giant slayer? This is it.

My only piece of advice would be to stay away from pricey options. Given the Cayman T’s svelte body, carbon-ceramic brakes aren’t necessary, nor is anything else. Only two decisions lie before you when configuring your Cayman T: six-speed manual or PDK, and what colour to choose.

Engine Displacement 2.0L
Engine Cylinders Turbo H4
Peak Horsepower 300 hp @ 6,500 rpm
Peak Torque 280 lb-ft @ 2,150–4,500 rpm
Fuel Economy 11.2 / 8.7 / 10.1 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb
Cargo Space 150 L frunk / 272 L trunk
Model Tested 2022 Porsche 718 Cayman T
Base Price $81,700
A/C Tax $100
Destination Fee $1,750 + $2,750 Estimated Maximum Dealer Fee
Price as Tested $93,710
Optional Equipment
$7,410 – PDK transmission, $4,250; Interior package, $3,160