Porsche's 718 Cayman GT4, at its price point of R1.7-million, offers you the most dynamic, undiluted, mechanical driving experience of your life, but it's not a sports car for the PlayStation Generation.In this day and age, high performance motoring is all about turbo charging, electronics and auto shifting. The cars are built to flatter the average driver, but in doing so, the ability and raw emotion of being able to still drive a real car fast, is lost. For many this isn't a problem, but for me, there is still something mesmerising about being able to purchase and own a...
Porsche's 718 Cayman GT4, at its price point of R1.7-million, offers you the most dynamic, undiluted, mechanical driving experience of your life, but it's not a sports car for the PlayStation Generation.In this day and age, high performance motoring is all about turbo charging, electronics and auto shifting. The cars are built to flatter the average driver, but in doing so, the ability and raw emotion of being able to still drive a real car fast, is lost.
For many this isn't a problem, but for me, there is still something mesmerising about being able to purchase and own a sports car that offers a high revving naturally aspirated engine, manual shifting a mechanical diff at the rear, and big sticky rubber to make it go around corners really fast. And for this there is only one option on the market, and that is the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4.
The howling part is delivered courtesy of a 4.0-litre flat-six naturally aspirated engine that produces 309 kW of power at a heady 7 600 rpm and 420 Nm of torque from 5 000 rpm. Now before I get to the heart of this story, let's take care of the less important straight-line stuff first.
The 718 Cayman GT4 is never going to win every traffic light drag race. Around 18% of that 309 kW is lost up here due to our altitude, and that leaves you with around 250 kW to play with. And as much as I hate to admit it, the one thing electronics do quicker than humans, is change gears. The best 0 to 100 km/h time I got with the car was 5.01 sec, and a 13.14 sec quarter mile, while the half mile and 1 km speeds came in at 224 km/h and 235 km/h respectively, with a claimed top speed of 304 km/h.
Yes, I probably could have gone a bit quicker, but anybody who knows the Porsche brand, knows that messing around doing multiple launch starts with a manual Porsche is going to end up hurting the clutch, and I wasn't going to do that in the quest for the ultimate 0 to 100 km/h time. Besides, this car is not all about going fast in a straight-line, this car was built to thrill in the twisties or at the track. And here it will remain undefeated against cars with a whole lot more horsepower.
To also put the real world value of the technical upgrades of the new model into a bit more perspective; if you only took the 26 kW power gain over the predecessor into account, it is claimed that this new GT4 would lap the Nürburgring a mere three seconds quicker than before. But thanks to aero improvements, tyre choice and chassis fine tuning, the GT4 lapped the iconic circuit a full 12 seconds quicker.
You get the variable Porsche Active Suspension Management sports damping system as standard, with only two settings, firm road, and firmer racetrack. Porsche Stability Management is also standard as to be expected, and this system that combines electronic stability control and traction control is fine tuned for this specific model and allows you to explore your limits and the car's limits a bit more than on a normal Cayman before it intervenes and stops the fun.
But should you feel you have the ability and the insurance cover, then the system can be completely switched off. My experience was that doing this while the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres were still warming up on the 20-inch alloy wheels, made for a few holy moments, but once all primed, you could really put the hammer down and the GT4 not only felt like it had massive amounts of grip, it felt like it had all the grip.
Porsche Torque Vectoring with mechanical limited slip differential for added grip and Porsche Active Drivetrain Mounts for less vibration and more precision obviously all contribute to this feeling of never-ending grip.
A proper sports car is nothing without great brakes and here once again the GT4 does not disappoint, the standard six pot up front and four pot units at the back are more than up to the task of reducing speed in a hurry. Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes are available as a cost option should be using your GT4 on the track more often than not.
After spending a few days in this car I could only come to one conclusion. The Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 is a true driver's car of the highest order bar none.
To view our test results, click here.
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