2020 Porsche 718 Cayman vs. 2020 Volkswagen GTI

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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Both the 718 Cayman and the GTI have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes and blind spot warning systems.

Warranty

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The 718 Cayman’s corrosion warranty is 5 years and unlimited miles longer than the GTI’s (12/unlimited vs. 7/100,000).

Reliability

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The battery on the 718 Cayman is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the 718 Cayman’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The GTI’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the 718 Cayman’s reliability 14 points higher than the GTI.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Porsche vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Porsche 15th in initial quality. With 17 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 25th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Porsche vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Porsche second in reliability, above the industry average. With 23 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 12th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Porsche vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Porsche fourth in reliability. Volkswagen is ranked 27th.

Engine

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The 718 Cayman’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 72 more horsepower (300 vs. 228) and 22 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 258) than the GTI’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder. The 718 Cayman S’ standard 2.5 turbo 4-cylinder produces 122 more horsepower (350 vs. 228) and 51 lbs.-ft. more torque (309 vs. 258) than the GTI’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder. The 718 Cayman GT4’s standard 4.0 GT3 6-cylinder produces 186 more horsepower (414 vs. 228) and 51 lbs.-ft. more torque (309 vs. 258) than the GTI’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.

As tested in Car and Driver the Porsche 718 Cayman is faster than the Volkswagen GTI (manual transmissions tested):

718 Cayman 2.0

718 Cayman S

GTI

Zero to 60 MPH

4.3 sec

4.1 sec

5.8 sec

Quarter Mile

12.7 sec

12.4 sec

14.4 sec

As tested in Motor Trend the Porsche 718 Cayman is faster than the Volkswagen GTI (automatics tested):

718 Cayman 2.0

718 Cayman S

GTI

Zero to 60 MPH

4.1 sec

3.6 sec

6 sec

Quarter Mile

12.5 sec

12 sec

14.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

111.2 MPH

114.9 MPH

98.4 MPH

The flat cylinder configuration of the boxer engine in the 718 Cayman lowers its center of gravity, enhancing handling stability. The GTI doesn’t offer a boxer engine configuration.

Fuel Economy and Range

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Regenerative brakes improve the 718 Cayman’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The GTI doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Regardless of its engine, the 718 Cayman’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Volkswagen only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the GTI Automatic.

The 718 Cayman’s standard fuel tank has a gallon more fuel capacity than the GTI (14.2 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The 718 Cayman’s optional fuel tank has 3.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the GTI (16.9 vs. 13.2 gallons).

Transmission

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To facilitate fast shifting and allow the driver to focus on the road, the 718 Cayman has a standard up-shift light to indicate when to shift, based on a value pre-entered by the driver. The GTI doesn’t offer an up-shift light.

The Porsche 718 Cayman manual offers a downshift rev synchronizer that automatically raises engine speed to make downshifts perfectly smooth. This keeps the car from lurching during downshifts, preventing loss of control during cornering. The GTI doesn’t offer a downshift rev synchronizer.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the 718 Cayman’s available brake rotors are larger than those on the GTI:

Cayman opt.

Cayman GT4

GT4 opt.

GTI

Front Rotors

13.8 inches

15 inches

16.1 inches

13.4 inches

Rear Rotors

13.8 inches

15 inches

15.4 inches

12.2 inches

The 718 Cayman offers optional heat-treated ceramic brake rotors, which last ten to twenty times as long as conventional cast iron rotors, don’t rust, don’t fade during repeated high speed braking, and their lighter weight contribute to better braking, handling and acceleration. The GTI doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.

The 718 Cayman stops much shorter than the GTI:

718 Cayman

GTI

70 to 0 MPH

141 feet

163 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

97 feet

129 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the 718 Cayman has larger standard tires than the GTI (F:235/45R18 & R:265/45R18 vs. 225/40R18). The 718 Cayman’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the GTI (F:245/35R20 & R:305/30R20 vs. 225/40R18).

The 718 Cayman’s optional 245/35R20 front and 305/30R20 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series front and 30 series rear profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the GTI’s 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the 718 Cayman GTS/T has standard 20-inch wheels. The GTI’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Suspension and Handling

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The 718 Cayman has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The GTI’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The 718 Cayman’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (44.7% to 55.3%) than the GTI’s (60.4% to 39.6%). This gives the 718 Cayman more stable handling and braking.

The 718 Cayman handles at 1.06 G’s, while the GTI SE pulls only .91 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis

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The 718 Cayman is 7.2 inches shorter in height than the GTI, making the 718 Cayman much easier to wash and garage and drive (lower center of gravity).

To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the 718 Cayman has liquid-filled engine mounts. The liquid helps further dampen engine harshness. The GTI uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

Passenger Space

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The 718 Cayman has .7 inches more front headroom and 1 inch more front legroom than the GTI.

Cargo Capacity

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A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the 718 Cayman. The GTI doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, just holding your hand near the emblem on the trunk can open the 718 Cayman’s available trunk, leaving your hands completely free. The GTI doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

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The engine in the 718 Cayman is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the GTI. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Porsche service is better than Volkswagen. J.D. Power ranks Porsche first in service department satisfaction. With a 62% lower rating, Volkswagen is ranked 18th.

Ergonomics

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When two different drivers share the 718 Cayman, the optional memory system makes it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, steering wheel position, outside mirror angle and climate settings. The GTI doesn’t offer a memory system.

The 718 Cayman’s optional easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The GTI doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The 718 Cayman’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The GTI does not have an oil pressure gauge.

The 718 Cayman’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch. The GTI has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The 718 Cayman offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The GTI doesn’t offer headlight washers.

When the 718 Cayman with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The GTI’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The 718 Cayman’s optional rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The GTI offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the 718 Cayman keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in Summer. The GTI doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the 718 Cayman’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The GTI doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

Model Availability

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The Porsche 718 comes in coupe and convertible bodystyles; the Volkswagen GTI isn’t available as a coupe or convertible.

Economic Advantages

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The 718 Cayman will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the 718 Cayman will retain 59.69% to 60.13% of its original price after five years, while the GTI only retains 45.13% to 46.99%.

Recommendations

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The 718 Cayman was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 3 of the last 7 years. The GTI hasn’t been picked since 2015.

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