2020 Volkswagen GTI vs. 2020 Porsche 718 Cayman

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Volkswagen GTI are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Porsche 718 Cayman doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The GTI has a standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The 718 Cayman doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

The GTI Autobahn’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The 718 Cayman doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

To help make backing safer, the GTI’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The 718 Cayman doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the GTI and the 718 Cayman 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 and available rear parking sensors.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, its “Acceptable” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the GTI the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 139 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The 718 Cayman has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

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Volkswagen pays for scheduled maintenance on the GTI for 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Porsche pays for maintenance for the 718 Cayman (2/20,000 vs. 1/10,000).

There are over 3 times as many Volkswagen dealers as there are Porsche dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the GTI’s warranty.

Reliability

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The Volkswagen GTI’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the 718 Cayman’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

The 718 Cayman’s redline is at 7500 to 8000 RPM, which causes more engine wear, and a greater chance of a catastrophic engine failure. The GTI has a 6300 RPM redline.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the GTI gets better mileage than the 718 Cayman:

MPG

GTI

Manual

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

24 city/32 hwy

Auto

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

24 city/32 hwy

718 Cayman

Manual

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/28 hwy

S 2.5 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/26 hwy

Auto

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

22 city/29 hwy

S 2.5 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/28 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Volkswagen GTI uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The 718 Cayman requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Volkswagen GTI higher (7 out of 10) than the Porsche 718 Cayman (3). This means the GTI produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the 718 Cayman every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

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

GTI

718 Cayman

Front Rotors

13.4 inches

13 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

11.8 inches

Tires and Wheels

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The GTI’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 718 Cayman’s standard 45 series tires.

The GTI has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the 718 Cayman; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the GTI’s wheelbase is 6.2 inches longer than on the 718 Cayman (103.6 inches vs. 97.4 inches). The GTI’s wheelbase is 5.8 inches longer than on the 718 Cayman GT4 (103.6 inches vs. 97.8 inches).

For better maneuverability, the GTI’s turning circle is .3 feet tighter than the 718 Cayman’s (35.8 feet vs. 36.1 feet). The GTI’s turning circle is 1.7 feet tighter than the 718 Cayman GT4’s (35.8 feet vs. 37.5 feet).

Chassis

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The GTI is 4.4 inches shorter than the 718 Cayman, making the GTI easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces. The GTI is 7.5 inches shorter than the 718 Cayman GT4.

Passenger Space

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The GTI has standard seating for 5 passengers; the 718 Cayman can only carry 2.

The GTI has 45.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the 718 Cayman (93.5 vs. 48).

Cargo Capacity

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The GTI has a much larger trunk with its rear seat up than the 718 Cayman (22.8 vs. 15 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

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The GTI’s standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children in the rear seat from operating them, but the driver can still raise and lower all of them with the lock engaged. Porsche does not offer a locking feature on the 718 Cayman’s standard power windows.

If the windows are left open on the GTI the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the 718 Cayman can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The GTI’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The 718 Cayman’s cruise control switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

The GTI’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The 718 Cayman’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the GTI to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The 718 Cayman doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the GTI has a standard rear wiper. A rear wiper costs extra on the 718 Cayman.

The GTI Autobahn’s Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The 718 Cayman doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the GTI owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the GTI will cost $795 to $3690 less than the 718 Cayman over a five-year period.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Volkswagen GTI will be $19036 to $27416 less than for the Porsche 718 Cayman.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/13

Consumer Reports® recommends the Volkswagen GTI, based on reliability, safety and performance.

Motor Trend selected the GTI as their 2015 Car of the Year. The 718 Cayman has never been chosen.

The Volkswagen Golf/GTI outsold the Porsche 718 by almost 10 to one during 2019.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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