new brightly coloured sportscar.
If you read my view on the new Ferrari 488 GTB last week, you’ll know that I’m not completely convinced that cars need close to seven hundred horsepower to be exciting. The new Porsche Cayman GT4 is trying to make that very same point.
Pretty much everyone who likes cars has a soft spot for Porsche’s Cayman. Even people who don’t like Porsches in general. It’s just so good that no-one can ignore it. And it’s a bit of an underdog as well, as Porsche has always held its performance back to make sure it doesn’t upstage the 911. Even so, the Cayman is the best handling car Porsche makes.
Now, they’ve introduced the GT4. It’s sort of a special occasion because Porsche doesn’t introduce new GT-branded cars too often. The first GT2 arrived in 1993, and the GT3 in 1999. So to see the first new Porsche GT model in more than 15 years certainly creates expectations. So far, we’ve only been shown the pictures and specifications. Road testing will have to wait a bit longer, but based on what we already know from driving the regular Cayman we can make some predictions.
It’s going to be fast, for a start. The standard Cayman S has a 3.4 litre flat 6 engine producing 325 horsepower. It’s actually the same engine as you find in the standard 911 Carrera, except it produces 350 horsepower in that car for the reasons I just explained. The new GT4 is getting the bigger 3.8 liter engine from the 911 Carrera S. Of course they’ve also turned it down a bit to deliver 380 horsepower rather than the 911’s 400, but I’m not complaining. The extra 55 horsepower combined with a lower weight will make the GT4 a properly fast car. Being a GT car we can expect the exhaust to be louder too, so goosebumps will be the order of the day when you floor it out of the pit lane.
Of course, Porsche is still being Porsche, they’ve made sure that it’s not too fast. You will get what you paid for but only exactly that. If you want 911 GT3 performance, you’ll have to buy a 911 GT3. Fair enough I suppose. Porsche also considers the 911 its primary performance car, for good reasons, so they only sell it with the PDK gearbox. Because it’s faster. And being faster on paper is important when people are arguing on the internet. The image of the brand is at stake. So the 911 has to go with the times and become faster and faster with each new generation.
The Cayman, and particularly the GT4, doesn’t need to compete with any other sportscars. It’s almost in a category of one. So it can focus on just being a fun car to drive. Something that makes you smile halfway through a corner. Who cares what the laptime is, as long as it’s fun. So the Cayman GT4 comes with an actual manual gearbox only. That should shut up those whiny purists for a while. Without PDK, the shifts will only be as fast as you’re able to make them. How wonderfully analog. Mind you, they’ve probably still kept the software that will blip the throttle for you on downshifts so you don’t need to actually learn to heel-and-toe.
I guess the only question I have now is, which organ should I sell to get a GT4 for Christmas this year.