The 2015 Porsche Caymen GTS is the now the best all-around sports car under one hundred thousand dollars, replacing the prior title holder, the Porsche Caymen S. Take everything the prior S model is, add horsepower and a more track and driver oriented, visceral demeanor while retaining streetability, and that is the GTS. Besides horsepower, it adds a new body kit, a sport exhaust system, 20” wheels and a lower ride height versus the S.
Conveying the balanced perfection of a Cayman isn’t easy unless it’s driven. The latest generation gives it a more exotic, grown-up look. Inside, the familiar ideal seating position with excellent outward visibility. Every surface visually sculpted, everything that is touched has an engineered quality with logic of the controls. For performance driving or track days it has a lower ride height, among the lowest center of gravity among production cars, and an engine placed where it’s supposed to be, right behind you.
The sport exhaust reminds the driver that there is a constant interaction and involvement driving the car. The ride is firm but not choppy, giving the driver constant, subtle communication of what is going on with the road surface. With the Porsche Active Stability Management (PASM), the Sport mode provides a firmer ride without being punishing.
Additionally, the Sport Chrono package has a digital and analog lap timer along with a Sport Plus mode ideally suited for track duty with a firmer ride and more responsive steering. It’s as if it is ready to pounce and roar with the slightest provocation. In both the Sport and Sport Plus modes, the active transmission mounts provide an even more direct feel.
While 340hp isn’t a lot, Porsche lists the curb weight at 3,031 pounds for the 7speed dual clutch (PDK) transmission equipped model. Quite extraordinary in a modern vehicle. The S model is a high-12 second car in the quarter mile, quicker than most. The GTS is quicker still. The competition is still quicker, but this car is so good, so well made, you don’t care. And the mileage isn’t so bad either, 22mpg city, 31 highway. This isn’t a high strung, fragile exotic. Porsche quality is among the best, their recall rate is among the lowest, the warranty is 4 years or 50,000 miles and it has 12 year corrosion warranty.
Purists may scoff at an automated transmission, but this dual clutch unit is wonderful. And so precisely dialed in with the engine, it’s like driving a precision watch and being the puppet master of machinery. Pull a paddle, the tachometer needle immediately goes to a higher rpm reading with an associated sound, pull it again, make more music, press on the throttle and feel the direct response as a result of foot pressure. It sings, it talks, it snarls, its snarky and it can just cruise effortlessly.
It isn’t just the driving experience, the cockpit layout, the controls, the 18-way adaptive seats with ventilation, the seatbelts are easy to reach, especially for a coupe. The cargo area in the rear has a cover that moves with the hatch back. Up front, the frunk also offers usable space along with tools and an air compressor for tire inflation. A cover for the battery and fluid reservoirs is easily removed and right below the windshield. The owner, a longtime Porsche owner is very happy with this GTS, which replaced the Cayman S I reviewed previously. The only aspect he would change would be a front end lift for driveways and speedbumps as well as a front camera but is more than happy as equipped.
Porsche upped the ante in with the new Cayman GTS. More power, a crisper, more aggressive mode for the street or track, more aggressive styling and luxury amenities combined with the ideal dimensions and engine layout. It’s not the fastest, but it is among the best. Perhaps most importantly at the sub-$100k price point, the most satisfying overall.