6 months and 9,000 miles in a Porsche 718 #review

Porsche - 6 months and 9,000 miles in a Porsche 718 #review - Readers' Reviews

Hi all,

About 6 months ago I took delivery of my 2016 Porsche 718 Cayman and by now I already managed to cover over 9000 miles in it.

If you’re interested to know my thoughts about this car, read on…

I will organise my very professional (not) review in 7 points, starting with:

1. The 718 is a great daily and is surprisingly practical

Porsche - 6 months and 9,000 miles in a Porsche 718 #review - Readers' Reviews

The 718 is my only car and hence it’s my daily. When ordering the car I was preparing myself to put up with the fact that living with a sportscar might have to be compromising in daily life, especially since my previous car was a VW Golf, known for its practicality and usability. However, as I found out, it’s not necessarily the case.

First of all, the 718 is packed with technology you would expect to see in a modern saloon/hatchback. These include various safety features (none of which interfere with driving experience, I shall add), one of the best infotainment systems I’ve ever seen (including Apple CarPlay, brilliant built-in satnav with traffic updates and more, also 2 USB ports) and even a mobile app which lets you monitor your car’s location, fuel level, whether its locked and so on (which actually works).

This is not something I was necessarily thinking of when ordering the car, but it was a pleasant surprise when I found out that there are no compromises in terms of technology, safety and even practicality.

That's a large Samsonite suitcase. Large, not medium.
That's a large Samsonite suitcase. Large, not medium.

Speaking of practicality. I’ve heard before that Caymans and Boxsters make really good use of space available. However, even when you read pure stats which state that Cayman comes with 405L of luggage capacity (which is more than that of a Ford Focus), you kind of take it with a pinch of salt.

Until you actually start using the luggage compartments and you realise that it is indeed that good. The frunk is very wide and deep, allowing you to put a large suitcase in it. And the rear boot is big enough for two or even three medium sized bags, not to mention the shelf on top of the engine which is handy for coats or additional bags.

Week's worth of shopping fits nicely and thanks to the shape of the compartment, it doesn't fly around. By the way, having a frunk is extremely convenient: you can reverse park into a bay and still have easy access to the boot.
Week's worth of shopping fits nicely and thanks to the shape of the compartment, it doesn't fly around. By the way, having a frunk is extremely convenient: you can reverse park into a bay and still have easy access to the boot.

However, before you put your groceries in the rear boot, you have to remember that if you drive hard, the heat from the engine and the exhaust is going to cook things there. Sometimes it’s actually quite handy since you can keep your coats warm, but you must not leave any chocolates or other food in there (I found that out the hard way).

2. It's a better GT cruiser than you might think

Porsche - 6 months and 9,000 miles in a Porsche 718 #review - Readers' Reviews

The common belief is that the 718 is a pure sportscar whereas something like the F-type is more of a GT car. Which is completely true, but I think we should not count off the 718 as a GT car.

The radar doesn't look good at all I know. But it makes boring motorway cruises and traffic jams way more bearable. Not to mention slight reduction in insurance costs, since it also acts as safety device.
The radar doesn't look good at all I know. But it makes boring motorway cruises and traffic jams way more bearable. Not to mention slight reduction in insurance costs, since it also acts as safety device.

I’ve driven the 718 on motorways for up to 7 hours in one day and it was a surprisingly pleasant experience. The car drives very well, without being too nervous with the steering (which is common in cars with such precise and sharp steering as on the 718), gives amazing fuel economy (meaning you don’t have to stop for fuel too often) and the seats are amongst the most comfortable ones I’ve ever sat in. Coming back to what I said about the technology, there is radar cruise control which makes motorway drives very relaxing. Not to mention amazing Bose audio system and very effective climate control.

The bigger wheels look great and supposedly improve handling, but they can also fill the cabin with noise at higher speeds...
The bigger wheels look great and supposedly improve handling, but they can also fill the cabin with noise at higher speeds...

The only issue is that there is quite a lot of tyre noise filling the cabin and depending on the surface it might become very tiring. I’ve read some reviews of the car and most tend to say that it’s the problem with the 20-inch alloys only, and if you spec smaller size wheels then there isn’t as much tyre roar coming into the cabin. Personally, I wish Porsche just made a better job insulating the wheel arches.

3. The 718 insanely capable on a track

Porsche - 6 months and 9,000 miles in a Porsche 718 #review - Readers' Reviews

I’ve been on three track days so far and the 718 really did shine. The handling is absolutely brilliant, its great fun to drive and it’s very, very fast. You can read more about the track day experience in the 718 here

Porsche - 6 months and 9,000 miles in a Porsche 718 #review - Readers' Reviews

Yes, it’s not as fun some Lotuses, but given how usable the car is, It’s just amazing: you can turn up to a track day, have loads of fun while being faster than many more hardcore or expensive cars, and then drive back home in complete comfort.

4. It's much more luxurious than I expected and it still feels very special to drive

Porsche - 6 months and 9,000 miles in a Porsche 718 #review - Readers' Reviews

Ok, I’m not going to say that I expected the Cayman to remind me of a Lotus Elise in terms of luxury, but I was expecting some sort of A4/C-class level of luxury inside.

Porsche - 6 months and 9,000 miles in a Porsche 718 #review - Readers' Reviews

However, it’s more like an E-class or A6, if not better. Optional leather absolutely transforms the interior into a place that rivals executive saloons in terms of material quality, attention to detail and design. Not that it matters in a sportscar, but it’s a pleasant surprise when you find out that there aren’t any hard plastics, even at feet level, the leather is super smooth and stitching is done perfectly. Small details that you notice over time (like small Porsche logos in rear lights), complete the feeling of a high-quality machine.

I love centrally positioned tachymeters. The speedo on the left is absolutely useless, however the screen on the right can be configured and provides lots of useful info. I just wish they put a similar screen on the left side too.
I love centrally positioned tachymeters. The speedo on the left is absolutely useless, however the screen on the right can be configured and provides lots of useful info. I just wish they put a similar screen on the left side too.

Combine all this with incredible driving experience and you will be looking forward to every single opportunity to drive the 718.

In fact, even after 6 months of ownership the car genuinely feels special to drive, every time.

5. However, there are a few things that started to annoy me...

Make sure you order the smallest Latte, if you don't want it to be all over the interior next time the road gets bumpy
Make sure you order the smallest Latte, if you don't want it to be all over the interior next time the road gets bumpy

The 718 is not all perfect and there some things that are a bit of a pain in daily use.

Firstly, getting in and out of the car – the seat is very low and the sills are very wide. On the one hand it adds to that ‘special car’ feeling, but on the other hand, it’s a genuine pain, especially in tight parking spaces.

Ingress and egress a bit of a pain, and you end up smashing your feet against bits of the interior, leaving marks and causing wear to the seats as you have to slide your bum across it.
Ingress and egress a bit of a pain, and you end up smashing your feet against bits of the interior, leaving marks and causing wear to the seats as you have to slide your bum across it.

Secondly, the cup holders. Yes, I don’t like them. Interestingly, I did like them before I took delivery of the car and for the first couple of weeks, but after I spilled my coffee a couple of times onto the interior because they are not as stiff as regular cup holders and after I found out that you can’t really put a decent size bottle in it (most bottles are either too wide, so they don’t fit, or too narrow and tall, so they fall over), I started to dislike them. Because the door bins are not big enough for anything, the best solution is to keep bottles between the seats and the door sills (which, in turn, adds to the complexity of entry/exit procedure). And for cups… Well, at least you save money by not buying any Starbucks when you’re driving. I wish Porsche just made a normal cupholder just behind the gear lever, instead of the dummy buttons and a useless tiny storage bin.

6. It's loud and sounds better than most four-cylinders, but I still wish it was a flat-six

"Let me play you the music of my people"
"Let me play you the music of my people"

Despite being obviously biased, I’m not going to claim that the 718 doesn’t sound disappointing compared to 981 gen cars.

However, don’t think that it is muted – it is very loud (without being too anti-social), especially with the optional valve-controlled sports exhaust. It doesn’t sound too bad either - in fact, I believe that 718 is the best sounding four-cylinder on sale today. However, it’s still nowhere near as good as any naturally aspirated flat-six.

Speaking of the engine, I also love the fact that its the highest revving engine amongst the competitors. 7200RPM may be 300RPM lower than 981, but its still higher than Audi TT S, BMW M240i, or even Jaguar F-type. And I like revs.

Do I wish it was the 2.5L S version? Yes and no. I don’t necessarily want to pay for the extra 50hp which you won’t be able to use, but I do want the variable geometry turbo - it makes the engine even more responsive and adds low-rev torque (the 2.0 engine is a little bit sluggish below 2k RPM).

7. The Porsche 718 is a perfect car for UK roads

Porsche - 6 months and 9,000 miles in a Porsche 718 #review - Readers' Reviews

This is probably what I love most about the car. And pretty much why I bought it in the first place.

The car is very, very fast, but not overly powerful. Comfortable suspension and unbelievable reserves of grip make it the perfect back road weapon.
The car is very, very fast, but not overly powerful. Comfortable suspension and unbelievable reserves of grip make it the perfect back road weapon.

Firstly, let me explain what I see as a perfect car for UK roads, from my perspective.

To start with, the car has to be quite compact – this not only helps with driving it through city and tight car parks but also makes it more fun on narrow country roads. 718 is perfectly sized for this.

Secondly, it has to have as much grip as possible, ideally be AWD – UK roads don’t always come with the best quality tarmac and country roads are often covered with a layer of water/leaves/dirt/horsesh!t (literally). The 718 isn’t and AWD car, however, the way it puts the power down is unbelievable: mid-engined layout ensures load on the rear axle while wide section tyres stick to the road so that you are always provided with almost as much grip as an AWD car would.

Thirdly, the question of power. Some people say that there is no such thing as too much power, but for me, I’d prefer something between 350-400hp. You won’t ever be able to use more than 400hp on public roads without ending up in a tree/police car. Yet it’s plenty to ensure that the car has a lot of performance and is great fun to drive.
The 718 has 300hp, which is less than what I would normally consider as the ‘perfect amount of power’, but since this car is relatively light and capable of putting power to the road really well (for example, its faster in a drag race than a more powerful M240i), I think it’s the right amount of power.

Porsche - 6 months and 9,000 miles in a Porsche 718 #review - Readers' Reviews

To sum it up, the 718 strikes the perfect balance between B-road fun, performance and usability. One day you can drive it to work and handle the traffic in complete comfort, the next day you can drive 500 miles and not get tired, the day after overtake a few Lotuses on a track day and have fun on B-roads, and then drive it back home, knowing that nothing will go wrong with it.

As I mentioned, there are a few pains, namely ingress and egress, lack of interior storage space and a few things which could have been better, such as tyre noise and engine noise, but generally, this car does not disappoint and lives up to any expectations.

And did I mention just how beautiful it is?
And did I mention just how beautiful it is?

That’s all from me for today. I hope you enjoyed yet another long and messy post. Feel free to ask any questions :)

-DL

Porsche - 6 months and 9,000 miles in a Porsche 718 #review - Readers' Reviews

62 comments