As you may know, each and every Goodwood Festival of Speed features a central theme (and a dramatic monument to celebrate it); this year, that theme was Porsche’s 70th Anniversary. In homage to that theme and the fantastic weather that we were having, what better way was there to travel to the festival than in one of Porsche’s latest manual sports cars – the 718 Cayman GTS?
Now, this year’s Festival of Speed may have come to a close a few weeks ago, but the celebrations of Porsche’s 70th Anniversary continue on until the end of year. So, whilst the festival is over, we just couldn’t help but share with you this homage to Porsche’s 70 years of building some of the world’s greatest driver focused cars.
After all, we all lead such fast paced and busy lives these days that it’s easy to forget the pleasure that can be had from just going for a drive with no destination and no time constraints; the only goal being to clear your mind, enjoy the scenery and take advantage of some of the country’s brilliant roads. When it comes to drives like that, there are few better companions than a Porsche.
As such, we decided to make the most of the 140 mile drive to Goodwood by teaming up with Porsche’s fantastic 718 Cayman GTS (with the optional manual gearbox) and avoiding all motorways.
Before we even begin to talk about the drive, however, we need to address the fact that the new Cayman GTS is a truly stunning thing. We’re sure you’ll agree that the current generation of Porsche Cayman is already a beautiful thing to behold, regardless of trim level. Well, the Cayman GTS takes that solid foundation and then builds upon it by adding new elements such as a new front spoiler, bi-xenon headlights finished in black and a new lower rear apron.
Driving wise, Porsche have gifted the 718 Cayman GTS (and Boxster GTS) with the Sport Chrono pack and active suspension as standard; this means that the car sits slightly lower, rides slightly harder and handles even better. It also means that the driver has control when it comes to fine tuning damper stiffness and throttle response. The result on British back roads is a hugely capable car that never fails to put a smile on your face.
At first, the thought of stiffer suspension and lowered ride height doesn’t seem like the best recipe for bumpy British B-roads. In practice, however, it’s fantastic. The ride is superb; offering enough suppleness over bumps but not compromising when it comes to great driving feel as the car moves about over the curves and camber of the road. What’s even more impressive is that the stiffened suspension doesn’t make the car uncomfortable on long drives – even when left in sport.
Teamed with this endless handling ability is speed; the 718 Cayman GTS is a quick car. Power comes from the same 2.5-litre flat-four turbo engine as the Cayman S but with the benefit of a boost to 361bhp.
Sent solely to the rear wheels, through either Porsche’s PDK gearbox or the optional manual that ours had, this power is easily converted by the 718 Cayman GTS into a 0-62mph sprint of 4.6 seconds and a top speed of 180mph.
Boosting the driving experience in our 718 Cayman GTS even further was that aforementioned manual gearbox. It’s brilliant. That’s not to say that Porsche’s PDK double-clutch automatic isn’t a sensational gearbox (because it is and we’d love to try one in a Cayman), the manual just served to offer a different kind of driver engagement – for what we were doing, it was perfect.
Featuring automatic rev-matching to ensure perfect changes (this can be done manually if desired), the short throw made each and every gear change satisfying and highly rewarding.
Whilst you definitely can’t exploit the new 718 Cayman GTS fully on public roads, the beauty is that, with everything set to sport, you can really enjoy driving the Cayman in a suitably spirited manner whilst never being irresponsible or being threatened with loss of your driving license.
It’s Porsche’s ongoing talent for doing this that makes their cars so good as companions for a drive – yes, you do need a track to exploit the 718 Cayman GTS’ extremes but that doesn’t mean that you can’t access the performance when you aren’t on a track. With almost every manufacturer chasing production car records at the Nürburgring, that’s a trait that sometimes feels slightly forgotten these days.
With the automotive world looking as if it’ll head in a very new direction in the future, it’s comforting to know that cars like the 718 Cayman GTS are still being produced; no matter what happens in terms of alternate energy sources and autonomous cars, we sincerely hope that this is something that’ll continue to happen. Until then, regardless of what you drive, we strongly recommend that you grab your car keys and simply go for a drive.
In the meantime, however, why not take a moment to read our highlights from this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed or take a look through the stunning Goodwood FOS gallery that our photographer has put together. What were your favourite parts of the show? We’d love to hear from you on Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin.