Last week America had something called the Superbowl. Apparently it was a massive event with the typical American style of excess. This was a thing to please the sort of man who drives an excessively large pick up truck and find Taco Bells to be too foreign. From what I can figure out the Superbowl was made up of Katy Perry dancing with some sharks and there was an American football game somewhere in the mix. Coincedentially last week was almost like a Superbowl week for petrolheads around the world. In the space of a week we got a new mid-engined Ferrari in the shape of the beautiful 488 GTB, Ford gave us a real-world hero with its new Focus RS, and perhaps the most driver-focused of them all was this; the new Porsche Cayman GT4.
Ah yes, I can hear you go “a Porsche that isn’t a 911? Next”. Well hold on to your horses for a second because this is the most hardcore Cayman ever, and if we’re to believe the rest of the world’s motoring press that can only be a good thing. The Cayman has received almost universal acclaim for its handling. Porsche are quick to remind us of its various mid-engined successes such as the Carrera GT, their Le Mans racers, and more recently the 918 Spyder.
Before the GT4 was the Cayman GTS which had a tuned version of the 3.4-litre flat six engine, which developed 340bhp/250kW. The GT4 ditches the traditional Cayman engine and uses a 3.8-litre flat six derived from the bigger and most expensive 911 Carrera S. Yup, a 911 engine in a car smaller, lighter, and crucially less expensive. In the GT4 the 911’s flat six engine pumps out 380bhp/280kW and 420NM of torque. The GT4 is good for a 0-100 km/h time of just 4.4 seconds and on to a top speed of 293 km/h. That’s enough Got your attention now?
Here’s the best bit though, to show this Porsche means business there’s only one gearbox option available and it’s not a PDK (dual clutch transmisison). To get petrolheads around the world weak at the knees the GT4 will be a manual only car. The manual box is an upgraded version of the one found in the GTS. Like other serious driver’s cars such as the ‘B7’ Audi RS4, Lotus Elise, and various ‘GT’ Porsches such as the 997 GT3 and Carrera GT. Apparently a PDK gearbox was considered but rejected. Whoever made that call deserves a pint of Oettinger.
The GT4 uses an even stiffer and sharper body than the Cayman GTS. Porsche’s boss of GT cars, Andreas Preuninger, said “we didn’t make this out of the Cayman GTS, this is an entry level mid-engine GT3 car”. Quite literally so as the front suspension, front axle, dampers, electric power steering, 20-inch wheels, and optional carbon-ceramic brakes are taken straight from the 991 GT3. Porsche wanted a “zero lift car” and as a result there’s many additional aero bits such as a fixed rear spoiler, new front splitter, and a new rear diffuser. The GT4 is able to produce 100kg of downforce at speed, the same as the GT3.
Despite this being a stripped out, hardcore version of the Cayman, standard equipment is reasonably generous. Porsche have very kindly thrown in the Porsche Torque Vectoring, mechanical limited slip diff, and Porsche stability management with the GT4. Optional extras include carbon-fibre reinforced plastic bucket seats inspired by the ones in the 918 Spyder. You can also have the option to delete unnecessary equipment such as sat-nav and air con to save weight. The GT4 weighs exactly the same as the GTS despite a bigger engine and more equipment, tipping the scales at 1340kg.
The GT4 is said to have lapped the Nurburgring in a very respectable 7 minutes and 40 seconds. That puts it in the same company as the Mercedes-McLaren SLR, Porsche 997 GT3, and Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera. It should be noted these cars are much more powerful and expensive than the GT4. And also no longer in production. But let’s gloss over that. The fact of the matter is there’s no denying the Cayman GT4 is one serious performance machine. Perhaps it could be argued it’s the purest of all the current Porsches, now that the 911 GT3 has gone in the way of the PDK.
A poor man’s 911? Pah, more like a proper petrolhead’s Porsche.