With these two new T models, Porsche is taking its lowest-spec, 2.0-liter, 296-horsepower sportscars and tricking them out with the kinds of options you'd want on a hard driving car. Thus proving that sometimes less can be more, with the cars serving as a kind of rolling proof that it can be more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast one.
Slow is relative, of course. Although the 718 T's flat-four motors represent the meekest engines in the Porsche range, 296-odd horsepower is still a fair old whack, and both the hardtop Cayman and convertible Boxster manage 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 5.1 seconds with the manual transmission (4.7 with the optional PDK double-clutch auto), and hit top speeds around 275 km/h (171 mph), which, of course, is fast.
But here's the thing: sportscars in general are often so crazy-powerful these days that you never get the chance to really thrash the things outside of a track day. I'm talking full throttle, full power, redline coming out of corners. The sort of driving you used to do in the five-grand heaps you fell in love with cars in.
Dare we say it, 296 hp is an approachable level of power. Something you can probably get the most out of on a nice twisty road. That's what makes the new T models interesting as driver's cars – it's not about lap times or outright speed, it's about the feeling of laying a heavy right boot into a car that you can wring every last drop out of. You can maybe look at the 718 Ts as a classier Toyota 86 on steroids.
Thus, they get 20-inch alloy wheels, and the PASM sport chassis lowered by 20 mm (0.79 in) for harder, flatter cornering. The shortened gearshift is manual as standard, and the T models get the Sport Chrono package as well, giving you normal, sport, sport plus and custom driving modes that tailor throttle and engine management, as well as the active suspension system.
There's also no infotainment system – it's replaced by a storage compartment, but you can have it back for free if you want it, and I can't see why you wouldn't. Surely you can enjoy the road slightly more in a car that's a few pounds heavier, but that lets you crank a tune or two on the highway. Your call.
There's no US pricing available yet, but in Europe you're looking at a starting price of €63,047 (US$71,700) for the Cayman and €65,070 (US$74,000) for the Boxster convertible.
Check out a soundly enjoyable video below, of these two cars going quietly banzai out in the mountains, where they belong.
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