2018 Porsche 718 Cayman vs. 2018 BMW M2: Which is Better?

On March 29th, 2018 / By

Photo illustration of a 2018 Porsche 718 Cayman and 2018 BMW M2

Vehicles as transportation are one thing: practical people movers that benefit from comfort, efficiency, and plenty of leg room.

But that’s not what you want.

What you want is something fun, something that has a connection between the speedometer and your heart rate. Something that can take corners sideways and stop on a dime.

But it’s not just that, either. You want something even more.

Something like a 2018 Porsche 718 Cayman or maybe a 2018 BMW M2.

There’s only one country in the world that designs the type of car that you need. Read on to learn more!

Your Top Choices

American sports cars are too coarse, too unrefined. They have power and brute force, but they have no style.

Sports cars from Japan have more style. But they’re all too willing to sacrifice power for comfort and efficiency. They often reach to satisfy all kinds of driving styles, losing focus on sheer performance.

So that leaves you with one location: Germany, the creators and innovators of driver-focused cars.

And the best of those options come from Munich and Stuttgart.

BMW has a long history of letting the engineers at their performance division, M, take their already fantastic cars and give them that much more.

About 150 miles to the northwest are their purpose-built rivals at Porsche, a company dedicated to churning out vehicles that make your blood flow faster.

Let’s take a look at their most fun, most exciting offerings, the 2018 Porsche 718 Cayman and the 2018 BMW M2.

 

2018 Porsche 718 Cayman - On City Streets

2018 Porsche 718 Cayman

While the 911 will always be the poster-child for the Porsche brand, the 2018 Porsche 718 Cayman offers one massive engineering advantage over its big brother: engine placement.

The 911 is famous for having its engine hang behind the rear axle. This places a massive amount of weight at the very rear of the vehicle.

Genius-level engineering has helped keep this from being a detriment. But the mid-engine structure of the Cayman provides an inherent advantage that the 911 can’t meet.

When you make that mid-engine one of Porsche’s signature turbocharged flat-fours, you’re also getting an engine that offers a lower center of gravity, which spells superior balance.

The 2.0-liter engine pumps out 300HP and 280lb-ft of torque when paired with the sublime PDK dual-clutch transmission. Purists can opt for the manual, with no penalty in horsepower or torque.

This is good for a 0-60 time of 4.7 seconds (4.9 seconds with the stick).

The 2018 Porsche 718 Cayman S features a 2.5-liter flat four that generates 350HP and 309lb-ft of torque. The extra half liter of displacement decreases the 0-60 time to 4.2 seconds (4.4 seconds with the stick)

Optional equipment on the 718 Cayman includes Porsche Active Suspension Management, Torque Vectoring, the SportChrono package, and much more. All of these add-ons allow you to drive out of the lot like you’re Antoine Senna.

PASM manages the dichotomy of greater handling and greater comfort by constantly matching the suspension to meet the movements of the car and the surface it’s riding on.

Torque Vectoring ensures that the tires with the most grip get the most power, allowing you to accelerate out of corners quicker.

The sports exhaust and 20″ tires that come with the SportChrono package round out the details by giving your car the note and stance to help it stand out.

 

BMW M2 - On The Track

BMW M2

New for the 2013 model year, the M2 was the result of BMW’s rebranding of coupe offerings to even-numbered vehicles, keeping the sedan offerings odd-numbered.

Think of the 3 and 5 series as the daily drivers and the 4 and 6 as the sports variants.

The 2, the smallest offering from Munich, has consistently been BMW’s most fun car to drive, however.

After being run through the M house, that fun has increased exponentially. Wider bumpers and a larger grill lend to a more aggressive face, hinting at what lay underneath.

A big 3.0 liter turbo-charged inline-six cylinder engine boasts 365 horsepower and 343 lb-ft of torque, besting Cayman S in both categories.

A six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch transmission can be bolted to the engine.

The 19-inch wheels feature four-piston calipers at all four corners, 15″ in the front and 14.5″ in the back.

Understeer is managed by the Active M Differential which ensures that the right tires get the right amount of power through corners.

The M2 edges the PDK-equipped Cayman S in a straight-line, taking only four-seconds to reach 60MPH from a standstill.

Head to Head

Now that we have the lay of the land when it comes to the two cars, let’s go in-depth and compare them in some more specific ways.

 

BMW M2 - Engine

Power-to-Weight Ratio

Raw numbers in regards to horsepower and torque don’t really tell you too much on their own. A Chrysler Town and Country has a higher output than a Mazda MX-5. But the little droptop would win any drag race between the two due to its massive weight advantage.

Despite its diminutive size relative to the brand, the M2 still weighs in at 3450 lbs. This is easily bested by the 2018 Porsche 718 Cayman’s 2944 lbs curb weight (manual transmission).

While the Porsche is lighter on it’s feet, it’s not quite able to overtake the BMW’s 3.0 Liter engine in terms of raw straight-line power. The base Cayman puts up 9.8 lb/hp while the M2 surpasses it with an impressive 9.5 lb/hp.

Braking

Going fast is one thing. But stopping quickly is just as valuable. Your ability to get through a corner is as dependent on being able to brake late as it is about accelerating out.

Car and Driver have the 2018 Porsche 718 Cayman needing only 141 feet to come to a complete stop from 70MPH. The 2018 BMW M2, owing to it’s greater mass, requires an extra 18 feet to come to a halt.

 

Porsche 718 Cayman - Cornering

Handling

When Motor Trend put the two cars on their skidpad, the Cayman S managed the Figure Eight in 23.7 seconds, averaging .89 G’s. The M2 needs 24.2 seconds at an average G of .82.

Fuel Economy

Miles-per-gallon usually isn’t too high on the list of priorities when it comes to performance cars. But in the world of volatile gas prices, it does have value.

The 2.0L Porsche, for city and highway driving, achieves 22/29 mpg, while the 2.5L Cayman S is almost as good at 21/28 mpg – both with the PDK transmission. The BMW with a stick does 18/26 mpg while the auto manages 20/26 mpg.

So while the automatic M2 puts up respectable numbers, it is bested by the Cayman S, while the base Cayman is the clear winner.

Reliability

When choosing between vehicles that will be pushed to their limits, reliability is a major factor.

JD Power and Associates rank Porsche as third in their Initial Quality Study of new vehicles, with BMW three places lower at sixth.

Their study of three-year-old vehicles lists Porsche at second with BMW dropping down to eighth.

While these surveys cover the entire fleet from the brands, they do speak to each manufacturer’s overall ability to build reliable vehicles.

 

2018 Porsche 718 Cayman - Styling

Style

If we’re being honest, this is probably the number one factor in many peoples choices of performance cars. It’s also completely subjective and therefore hard to quantify.

The 2018 Porsche 718 Cayman strikes an imposing figure. It has that classic front-end, but its mid-engine design allows for a more gradual tapering at the back than the flagship 911.

The side-vents that feed air into the engine scream performance.

The 2018 BMW M2, on the other hand, started life as a daily driver before being Frankensteined into the beast it is.

It, therefore, holds onto design cues unnecessary to a performance car.

Its rear seat, a holdover from its less exciting base model, holds onto a backseat that seems more ceremonial than practical.

The flared wheel arches and more aggressive grill suggest the performance the car is capable of. But the truth is that the car started life as a far less exciting vehicle that it still shares the road with.

 

2018 Porsche 718 Cayman - Driver's side rear three quarter view

Verdict

In terms of raw power, the BMW comes out on top. But that big beautiful 3.0L inline six comes with some trade-offs.

In all the other categories explored, the 2018 Porsche 718 Cayman comes out the winner.

It makes better use of its power while handling and brakes better too. It goes further on less fuel, will last longer, and doesn’t share its chassis with an inferior model. Additionally, it comes with the ability to chose between two different engine sizes and to upgrade with some some truly incredible optional features.

That’s not to say that the 2018 BMW M2 is necessarily a loser. Whereas the Cayman benefits from it’s unrivaled PDK transmission and electric nannies to keep you on the road, the M2 is meant to be driven with a stick-shift. It’s a no-frills driving machine, less dependent on computer intervention and less interference between the driver and the road.

The best way to decide which one of these two machines best suits you is to get behind the wheel of each and try them for yourself.

Will it be the king-maker from Stuttgart, the mid-engine marvel that lets you test the car’s limits from the get-go?

Or is it the tiny wonder from Munich, the little rocket with the big engine that offers less and asks more?

Feel free to give us a shout, or come down and find out!

***

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