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2020 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS review: The joy of six
SHOULD a real Porsche sports car have at least six cylinders? Some people think so, which is why the mid-engined, rear-drive 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman models have been the subject of endless debate about their flat-four engines.
But Porsche has clearly been listening to its fans, because a horizontally-opposed six-cylinder (or flat-six) engine has just reappeared in a mainstream model in the form of the rebooted GTS.
The new 4.0-litre engine replaces a turbocharged 2.5-litre flat-four, and is something of a hand-me-down from the Cayman GT4 and Boxster Spyder, two special edition models.
With 400 horsepower and 420 Newton-metres of peak pulling power, it's a detuned, lower red-line version of the engine in those cars, and is not to be mistaken for the 911 GT3's mighty engine.
But it is a special engine, generating its power without the aid of a turbocharger, and it adds to the evocative thrills associated with Porsche's sportier variants, because the non-turbo soundtrack it makes plays a large part in their emotional appeal.
Unlike the Cayman GT4 and Boxster Spyder, which are Porsche Motorsport products with careful chassis and aerodynamic modifications, the GTS is part of the 718's regular line-up, and sits above the 718 S.
For now you can have your GTS with a six-speed manual gearbox, but automatic twin-clutch options are planned for the near future, as they are for the Cayman GT4 and Boxster Spyder.
How to make sense of so many Caymans and Boxsters?
The 718 GTS (for Gran Turismo Sport) versions occupy a high performance sweet spot, for those in search of sporty trim, track-day ability and daily drive comfort.
And, let's be honest, it's one way to win the one-upmanship game, because the other regular 718 models still have only four cylinders.
But Porsches are supposed to be all about driving pleasure, and what better place to be reminded of that than on the Estoril circuit on the outskirts of Lisbon, once home to the Portuguese Formula 1 grand prix?
The 718 Cayman GTS 4.0 given to us to drive has items from the options list, in the form of snug carbon-fibre sports bucket seats from the 918 Spyder and Porsche Carbon Ceramic Brakes for stupendous, fade-free stopping.
The other sporty bits are standard on the GTS, which include Alcantara trim, sports suspension that is lowered by 20mm, Porsche Torque Vectoring and a mechanical limited slip differential, just like on the 2.5-litre turbo GTS it replaces.
That earlier GTS was no slouch on the circuit, because its 35hp surfeit was compensated by a similar 420Nm to the new 4.0-litre.
But driving enthusiasts will appreciate the addictive buzz that accompanies working a naturally-aspirated engine hard on the track, because that's where you get into the groove of its soaring powerband. And it's no exception with the GTS 4.0.
The additional weight of the mid-mounted engine is scarcely felt, and there's a natural agility and intuitive, almost playful adjustability to the sweetly-balanced Cayman GTS 4.0 that rewards the committed, with progress that is fluid and flowing, as opposed to fast and furious like in the GT4.
It offers a broad range of abilities to occasional track day and B-road warriors, who also require daily drive sensibilities.
Porsche 718 Cayman GTS 4.0
Engine 3,995cc, horizontally-opposed six-cylinder
Power 400hp at 7,000rpm
Torque 420Nm at 5,000-6,500rpm
Gearbox 6-speed manual
0-100km/h 4.5 seconds
Top Speed 293km/h
Fuel Efficiency 10.8L/100km
Agent Porsche Singapore
Price S$402,488 without Certificate of Entitlement