By Clive Funizwe
When you look at the ingredients that real drivers look for in a car – you get the Porsche Cayman 718 GT4. This means a potent naturally aspirated engine with a wide torque band – a manual gearbox – rear wheel drive – engine in the middle and superb handling. It also doesn’t hurt if the car looks the part and the Porsche Cayman GT4 double ticks all these boxes. Its heart beats at 309kW and 420Nm from its 4.0l 6-Cylinder and revs up to an aurally intoxicating 8000rpm. The enthusiast will be glad to know that the GT4 tops out at 305km/h.
Design and engineering
It’s clear that Porsche did not mess around with the ingredients – but do all these add up to the ultimate driving machine the GT4 promises to be? Let’s get a little technical on the reasons.
Aerodynamics on this car were a big thing. So, what Porshe did was to re-engineer the ground effect – the airflow from front to rear and the rear diffuser from the Spyder to create more down force as the Spyder doesn’t have a rear wing application. This was so effective – Porshe reapplied it to the GT4. Other aerodynamic improvements were done to reduce drag around the front axle.
This is the first GT to get the stop start and first Porsche to get cylinder deactivation. At lower revs or small throttle openings it will shut down one bank of cylinders entirely and then alternate banks every 20 seconds. This is strangely audible and quite pleasant as you cruise along in 3 cylinders. As you can imagine – this drastically improves fuel economy. We did see drops to around 8.5l/100km on our way to The Rock Raceway. Very impressive.
When you drive it by the scruff of its neck and crack on – the GT4 is very impressive. You get a throttle response that is typical of a naturally aspirated engine. The steering is precise, both in its position and feedback and perfectly weighted. You sit low and placing the front wheels exactly where you need them is never a hit or miss situation. The 6-Speed manual gearbox is magnificent through its stubby leaver that feels brilliant. Overall, the control and precision of the GT4 is just breathe taking. The car just feels like an extension of you – the connection and driver engagement you get is second to none.
After that mouth full, you would be forgiven to assume that the GT4’s credentials have an inevitable “but” and “compromises” if you used it as a daily driver. Either than the semi-slick standard tires that offer superb grip post their short running-in period to warm up, there really isn’t something we can call a drawback or deal breaker. The interior is extremely sensible. The seats are very comfortable along with the suspension damping. This is a very comfortable ride when in the comfort setting. The infotainment is more than functional and quick to respond to inputs. The system is admittedly old – and for some odd reason you cannot play your music via your phone, but you can use it for voice calls and reading text messages. The steering isn’t exactly multifunctional – but there are controls behind it for setting and adjusting cruise control speeds and activating/viewing the chrono package gadgetry. Storage in general is good from the boot upfront and storage bins at the back. But there is no usable space from the door pockets or center console.
In closing, there is a purity in the driving experience that is extremely refreshing at this day and age. This is a fabulous car. The recipe is desirable – more so after you experience it. We can’t help but think that this is a taste of the Speedster at a fraction of the price!
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