Manual gearbox. A fresh engine. Bigger wing. Porsche’s 'best' modern sportscar is back
This is the new Porsche Cayman GT4. Of course, it’s now got ‘718’ in its name, because when Porsche facelifted its mid-engined two-seater and dropped in a controversial four-cylinder turbo engine, it added the ‘718’ bit to pay homage to a classic four-pot Porsche of ye olden days.
(Click HERE to read about the 2015 Porsche Cayman GT4)
But fear not. The turbo engine has been banished from the GT4. This thing’s packing a 4.0-litre, 8,000rpm, 420hp flat-six. That ought to make a jolly nice noise.
Power is up 35hp from the last GT4, which never really wanted for poke. We loved it. But we’ll take the extra horses. Torque matches the old 3.8-litre version’s 420Nm. And it’s actually no quicker: the GT4 does 0-100km/h in 4.4secs. Just like before. Top speed is up a smidge from 295km/h to beyond 300km/h.
The engine is cleverer, though. Kinder to the environment. Not only does it produce more power while breathing out through a heftier exhaust filter (which adds about 12kg in weight), it can also shut down a bank of cylinders when you’re cruising.
And the bigger engine now has a wider torque band. Porsche GT boss Andreas Preuninger is confident this erases one of the only problems with the old GT4 – that the gearing was too long. The gearing is the same this time around, but the car might punch through each ratio a bit harder.
Besides plumbing in a bigger engine, Porsche has also been hard at work in the wind tunnel. Yes, yes, we know it looks the same. Of course it does. It’s a new Porsche. What were you expecting?
Anyway, the headline is a 50 per cent jump in overall downforce. How? Well, the split exhaust opens up space for a more useful – if perhaps uglier – rear diffuser, sucking the car’s backside onto the road. The rear wing’s been redrawn to conjure more downforce without adding drag (so, with the extra power the top speed goes up).
Now, we’re not talking about an Aston Valkyrie AMR nutter here, so the GT4 isn’t a drive-it-on-the-ceiling kinda car. Apparently, even with the tweaked front splitter and so on, the extra downforce amounts to 12kg at 200km/h. Still, next time you’re pinned over Flugplatz at the Nürburgring, you’d be very glad about every extra kilo pushing you back down to Earth…
Speaking of which, the 718 Cayman GT4 is reportedly ten seconds a lap faster around said German racetrack. But Preuninger says the GT4 isn’t a humourless grip machine. “The tyres are not ultra-rated super track day tyres – more like an ultra-high performance all-rounder – so it can live with the horrid conditions as well,” he tells TG. “This is a car for the back roads in Wales, maybe Scotland too. You would rather dance with the car than drive it, that is how I would describe it.”
STORY Ollie Kew