Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS

Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS

It’s hardcore, looks amazing, will probably be the best thing ever to drive, costs £109k and you probably can’t buy one. It’s the latest Porsche RS and frankly, I’m accepting bids for my firstborn as I NEED one.

The Porsche 911 GT3 has always been the go-to car for those who want the ultimate fast road car that can also do a bit of track work should you ask it to. The latest 992-generation GT3 has seemingly gone even more towards the road-biased nature, but that’s fine because there has always been the track-ace up Porsche’s sleeve – the RS model. You see the GT3 RS has always taken the GT3 and turned it up to 11 – harder, more powerful, less weight, more focused and generally an absolute weapon on track (but more compromised for road use). But for some, the 911 will always have a slight disadvantage due to the rear-engine layout as the engineers are always fighting that weight behind the rear axle.

So when Porsche brought out the Cayman in 2005 there was a flurry of excitement – finally a mid-engined Porsche sports car, and not only that it was affordable as well. With the facelift 987 Cayman R there was a hint of what was possible, but it wasn’t until the 981 generation that things got really exciting. You see in 2015 Porsche revealed the Cayman GT4 – the first non-911 product from the famous GT division. It took the 3.8-litre flat-six from the 911 Carrera S, detuned it slightly to 380hp and added a few choice parts from the GT3 to make a car that won group tests and fans all over the world. It wasn’t without its faults though, with overly long gearing from the standard 6-speed manual blunting the performance somewhat, which brings me onto a salient point – model positioning.

You see, the Cayman GT4 was good, very good, but there was no way that Porsche was going to let it steal sales from the more expensive GT3, so some say it was hobbled with overly long gearing to reduce the lap times and allow people to still be left wanting more and upgrade to the GT3 eventually. Then Cayman morphed into 718 Cayman and the normal models got turbocharged engines, much to enthusiasts’ chagrin (most 718 Cayman drivers didn’t care though, and sales boomed).

But Porsche still had the ace up their sleeve – the 718 Cayman GT4. This got a 4.0 litre flat-six, which had no relation to the 4.0 litre flat-six in the GT3, it was in fact a bored-out version of the 3.0 litre turbocharged engine in the 992. But it had 414hp, looked incredible and was a truly fantastic thing to drive – apart from that pesky long gearing again. This was remedied somewhat recently with the addition of the PDK dual clutch gearbox to the options list – this has seven gears, more tightly spaced and being PDK you can fire through the gears with lightning speed. So we have a mid engine road biased GT4, with the fastest gearbox and lots of power, basically the perfect car. And shock horror, you could actually buy one too – sure it was limited numbers being produced every year but pretty much anyone could get hold of one should they want to spend the £80,000 required. They wouldn’t even lose much money.

But then a few weeks ago Porsche released some footage of a lightly disguised car going around the Nürburgring in 7min 9.3sec – that’s barely any slower than the 991.2 GT3 RS. That car is the new Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS and oh boy is it special.

Firstly we need to get into the oily bits as they are what makes the 4RS really special (I’m going to call it that, because frankly the name is far too long). So there’s still a 4.0 litre naturally aspirated flat-six, but hold up, wait a minute – this isn’t the one from the GT4. Oh no, this is the 992 GT3 engine, detuned slightly – so we now have 500hp and 450Nm of torque – IN A CAYMAN! Sorry, getting a little excitable, but you can see why. That glorious flat-six not only has that power, it also still revs to 9000rpm so you can have a screaming, wailing motorsport-derived engine placed just behind your head. Yes that’s right, because this is mid-engined, it can now potentially unleash the last bits of handling magic that were held back from the GT3 models. Very VERY exciting stuff.

The engine sends the power to the rear wheels via the 7-speed PDK gearbox – there’s no manual option as is the way with RS models these days as they are designed to be the very fastest they can be on track. The 4RS has a standard-fit titanium exhaust which if the GT3 is anything to go by should still sound incredible, especially at 9000rpm, but there should also be an extra little bit of tuneful noise courtesy of the new bespoke engine air intakes in the rear quarter glass. The GT4 takes all its air from the side pods, but the 4RS has glorious intakes like you see on the Singer DLS – and I guarantee they’re going to improve the sound massively.

So as well as having (a lot) more power, the 4RS has also been on a bit of a diet, weighing in at 35kg less than a GT4 PDK (and 20kg less than a GT3). This, combined with the fact that the engine sits on the rear axle affording more grip, means 0-62mph is now taken care of in 3.4 seconds (same as the GT3) and it’ll top out at 195mph. Numbers are impressive, but I’ll wager that the way this 4RS goes around a track will be even more impressive, with the lower ride height, bespoke tune for the suspension and the increased aerodynamics. Speaking of which…

Let’s get into how the 4RS looks, because it looks GOOD. Obviously being an RS product it’s all functional, but it certainly helps that it makes middle aged men go weak at the knees at 20 paces. Starting at the front, there’s a new extended front splitter and wider side deflectors, along with extended sections around the large radiator intakes. The bonnet is now carbon and has NACA ducts (like the older 3RS) and there are new carbon front wings which are cut out aft of the front wheel and have rather lovely vents on the top. They help to reduce pressure in the wheel well, which enables the aerodynamics to be more precisely tuned – very clever stuff.

718 Cayman GT4RS Front Rear

Moving backwards we have wider side pods for more air, the aforementioned quarter light intakes and slightly wider side sills. At the rear we have a swan-neck spoiler like the one seen on the new 992 GT3 which looks amazing but is also more effective – the part of a spoiler that actually does all the aero work is the underside, so by mounting on top you get cleaner airflow and increased downforce.

718 Cayman GT4RS Aero

It’s worth pointing out here that the car in the pictures has the optional Weissach Package, which gives the bonnet, side pods, intakes, wing and other parts a gloss carbon finish, adds a titanium rollcage inside and gives the option of the magnesium wheels found on the GT3 RS (you can’t spec them without the Weissach Package). They can be had in a large range of finishes including a slightly odd blue tint as seen in these images – I think it would look great on a white car with blue ‘GT4 RS’ graphics down the side, to mimic the 996 GT3 RS. All that aero work means the 4RS has 10% more downforce in road mode, but 60% more in Performance mode which is apparently only selectable on track (okay Porsche, sure).

718 Cayman GT4RS Interior

There’s nothing too new about the interior of the 4RS, save the additional badging and the lovely optional titanium rollcage.

So this is all incredibly exciting, and should theoretically be the best handling, most exciting road car Porsche has ever built. All those bespoke features come at a price though – £108,370 to be precise, with another £11k for the Weissach package and a further £10,500 (!!!) for the magnesium wheels. So you could realistically spend upwards of £140,000 if you tick all the boxes and get a Paint-to Sample colour. Which is more than a 992 GT3, but this is a track focused car so a different ball park and the 992 GT3 RS is likely to be upwards of £180,000 and on yet another level.

But all of that is largely irrelevant, isn’t it? Because unless you’ve been taking your Porsche dealer principal out to dinner every Thursday, showering them with gifts and messages, and buying every badly specced Panamera on their forecourt, you won’t be able to order a 4RS, such is the way with Porsches limited run GT cars. A 991.2 GT3 is still selling for over the list price 3 years later with 10,000 miles on the clock. A 992 GT3 (which has a £130k list price) will currently set you back £100,000 MORE than that list price if you want one.

So in reality, if you’re Joe Normal, a 718 Cayman GT4 RS is likely to cost you £200k minimum from one of the high-end car dealerships around the country. Is it going to be worth it even at that price? Hell yeah it will.