Porsche’s Cayman line is famed for poise and accuracy. How does the GT4 take things further?
How do you follow on from an all-time great? That’s the challenge faced by the Cayman 718 GT4, which arrived in the shadow of its predecessor, the Cayman GT4. Now powered by a 4.0-litre six-cylinder engine – rather than the old car’s 3.8 – the 718 GT4 aims to be just as involving, engaging and downright brilliant to drive as the car it replaces.
We drove the 718 GT4 some years ago, so wanted to give it a thorough going-over to see if it still stands up today. Let’s check it out.
Technically not the top dog in the 718 Cayman range anymore – that title falls to the more hardcore Cayman GT4 RS – the GT4 is still packed with go-faster measures and all manner of aerodynamic touches. There’s also a sports exhaust to give this Porsche an even more menacing growl.
Plus, it’s even got adaptive cylinder control that can switch the engine into three-cylinder mode in order to improve efficiency when travelling on the motorway.
As mentioned, the 718 GT4 uses a 4.0-litre naturally-aspirated flat-six engine, which actually has its base on the 3.0-litre turbocharged units found in many 911 models. Here, you get 414bhp and 420Nm of torque, equating to a 0-60mph time of 4.1 seconds and a top speed of 188mph. It’s certainly more than enough performance for a car of this size.
All cars come with a six-speed manual as standard, with power being sent to the rear wheels alone. There’s even a shorter gear level for a more tactile, engaging shift. And, with that cylinder deactivation tech, Porsche says you should see 25.9mpg combined – though we far exceeded that – while CO2 emissions stand at 249g/km.
All doubts about whether this car could live up to its predecessor’s reputation are quickly put aside once you get behind the wheel. The 718 GT4 is a truly engrossing experience, with all of the main controls put right where you need them.
The gear stick is there to hand, while the fixed-back bucket seats hold you in place well. The steering, as we’ve come to expect from Porsche cars, is utterly superb and though this new engine can’t quite match the old one for outright noise, it’s still wonderfully responsive.
As we’ve found in other Cayman models, the 718 GT4’s gearing is almost hilariously long, with second alone allowing you to reach motorway speed limits. It does mean that, at times, you’re not as encouraged to shift through the gears as you might expect.
With its huge wing and large front air intakes, there’s no disguising the GT4 as something ordinary. Our test car came in a particularly eye-catching pink shade – known as Frozen Berry Metallic – which only added to the theatre. This colour is continued inside through a variety of trim pieces finished in the same shade.
Unlike the 911 GT3 models, you can’t get the 718 Cayman GT4 with the Touring package. This lops the rear wing off and gives the car a far more understated appearance. However, few can fault how much drama the GT4 brings to the table.
The GT4’s cabin is centred around the driver, which means that there are actually very few distractions or add-ons to speak of. The Cayman hasn’t been graced with the touch-sensitive buttons that you’ll find in the latest 911 and Panamera models, and instead uses the somewhat old-school-looking controls positioned around the gearstick. That said, they’re easy to use and give you quick access to settings for the traction control and auto-blip gearbox mode.
Luggage space? There’s actually a little more than you might expect, with 130 litres in the ‘frunk’ and an extra 275 litres at the rear. Combined, you’ve actually got a decent amount of storage space and more than enough for a weekend away.
The Cayman 718 GT4 remains one of the tip-top options if you’re after involvement from your sports car. Yes, it may have lost a tiny bit of outright aural drama, but in all other areas, it’s still hard to beat. In an age of electrification, the GT4 seems like a fitting reminder of just what is possible with an engine, a well-executed chassis and a six-speed manual gearbox.
Given the industry’s fondness for turbocharging, it feels as though this GT4 might be something of a last hurrah. So it’s best to make the most of it.