When the current Porsche Cayman launched in 2016 it underwent something of an identity shift, with both it and its convertible sibling, the Boxster, being rechristened as the Porsche 718 and their previous respective names becoming model designations.
This naming reshuffle was intended to designate the fact that they had also dropped the six-cylinder boxer engine and switched exclusively to the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Well, almost exclusively, the hot Cayman GT4 and Spyder versions still packed a 4.0-litre six.
This led to the 718 name coming to the fore; the original 718 won the Targa Florio race in 1959 and 1960, and the name is intended to evoke Porsche's racing success with light cars like the 718 that outmanoeuvred competitors with larger and more powerful engines.
While this is a fun Porsche fact and a very appropriate name, it is actually just a long way of saying that the 718 Cayman came out seven years ago and is undeniably in the second half of its life span.
So what do you do to spark interest in a car that is trundling towards replacement, but not quite yet? That's right - special editions!
So that's why we now get the Porsche 718 Cayman Style Edition you see here.
Also available in Boxster form, the Style Edition is basically what it says on the tin; the entry level 718 with added style. Yep, that mainly means stickers.
But not just stickers, the Style Edition also comes with 20-inch alloy wheels that match the sticker colour (black or white), black stainless steel sports tailpipes with a high-gloss finish and contrasting stitching on the seats. The Boxster also gets its name embossed on the soft top near the A-pillar.
The name is intended to evoke Porsche's racing success with light cars that outmanoeuvred competitors with larger and more powerful engines.
So how much does this relatively mild cosmetic upgrade cost you? Well, absolutely nothing.
That's right; in a shocking turn of events, the 718 Style Editions cost exactly the same as their donor models. Plus, of course, any of the many and varied personalisation options you wish to add from the extraordinarily extensive options list, that is.
This means the 718 Cayman you see here starts at $141,900 and packs a 220kW/380Nm 2.0-litre turbo four that will propel it to 100km/h from a standing start in 5.1 seconds in manual form, or 4.9 seconds for the dual clutch PDK automatic.
This particular car was fitted with both the PDK transmission ($4990) and the Sports Chrono Package ($3170) which dropped the 0-100 sprint to 4.7 seconds and bumped the price to $150,060.
So do stripes, coloured wheels and a bit of stitching fundamentally change a car and justify a new road test of it? Absolutely not, but c'mon - it's a Cayman, I was never gonna say no...
Porsche has taken the MX-5 approach to the basic 718, endowing it with enough power to be massively fun and exhilarating, but without going nuts with it.
Anyway, the stylish bits do absolutely nothing to detract from the fundamentally brilliant nature of the Cayman, with all of that deliciously agile and responsive handling well in place. The boxer engine is a delightfully flexible unit that, while lacking the ultimate character of the sixes, still has a wonderfully belligerent roar when prodded into life and a distinctively horizontally-opposed grumble that gives it a unique character all of its own.
It is also more than eager to deliver healthy performance when required while also being perfectly docile around town. Porsche has taken the MX-5 approach to the basic 718, endowing it with enough power to be massively fun and exhilarating, but without going nuts with it, meaning it is superbly easy to live with on a daily basis, but just as eager as you are to get onto a winding back road or a track day.
You can go fantastically hard in the 718 and have huge amounts of fun, but without seeing the stratospheric speeds that would be very much frowned upon by the local constabulary that you would see in something like a 911.
It is satisfying, delightfully engaging and thoroughly addictive, all without even needing to break the speed limit. Oh, it can, of course. But you don't actually need to to get the most fun out of it.
The chassis is, of course, utterly sublime, with fantastically balanced mid-engined dynamics and razor sharp responses, without any of the old-school mid-engined on-the-limits terror of old. It feels agile, eager and utterly alive on the road, and is truly one of those rare cars that literally feel like an extension of your nervous system as you dive into corners with startling accuracy and communication.
You can go fantastically hard in the 718 and have huge amounts of fun, but without seeing the stratospheric speeds that would be very much frowned upon by the local constabulary.
Of course, being a standard Cayman under the stickers means it also features the same fiddly, almost useless cupholders and a dated, irritatingly messy infotainment system, but a sublime chassis with just the right amount of power easily makes up for such minor irritations.
PORSCHE 718 CAYMAN STYLE EDITION
ENGINE: 2.0-litre turbo-petrol boxer four
GEARBOX: 6-speed dual clutch automatic transmission, RWD
CONSUMPTION: 7.8l/100km, CO2 181g/km, Clean Car fee $2185