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Cayman GT4

Porsches Stand Proud Among A Fleet of Distinguished Sports Cars

You have to hand it to CAR magazine. Few gather such motley groups such as these and find a common thread through them all. Not many put a Lamborghini Huracan on the same stage as a Renault Megane. Because the cars featured here are both the spiffiest versions of the mentioned models, they find similarities which help them stand out as formidable members of their annual Sports Car Giant Test.

When you stage a Lamborghini Huracan Evo, a Toyota Supra GR, a Renault Megane R.S. Trophy-R, and a McLaren 600LT Spyder against one another, any remaining entrant must be well-bred. Interestingly, CAR decided to take two different Porsches along for their annual trip to Northern Wales for this heralded trip. Many eagerly await this yearly comparison of focused machines from different backgrounds, so seeing as Porsche is the only marque to have two models fielded here, you might suspect they and their readers have some preference for Stuttgart products.

Proving Power Unimportant

With its dimensions, its rev-happy motor, and its chassis refinement, the GT4 is unrivaled on confidence-testing backroads.

While the supercars provide the most power, they’re not necessarily the most focused of the bunch. It’s the hot hatch from Renault and the mid-engined masterpiece from Porsche which are arguably the best barroom brawlers. Their agility, purity, lightweight composition, and stellar weight distribution make these two the cars which put the driver at the forefront of the driving experience. Additionally, the Cayman GT4 sports a 4.0-liter with 414 horsepower, which means it’s far from a momentum machine. It still retains the disappointing ratios, but the added displacement makes it usable and involving at any speed.

With tactile surfaces and detailed messages through its inputs, the Cayman GT4 punches above the position its power would suggest it occupies. We know how these cars are confidence-inspiring, and how their short wheelbase and compact size helps you wring its neck along an uneven backroad. With all these assets, this welterweight brawler proves that outright power doesn’t determine the ideal driving experience.

A Sophisticated Cruiser

The focus and involving nature of the Cayman GT4 isn’t for everyone. Those who don’t lust for a wild weekend cruising canyons and drinking strong coffee might opt for a slighter softer option from the Porsche lineup. The 992 Carrera S is heavier, plusher, and much more practical. Because this is the softest machine in this company, this doesn’t make ears bleed, joints creak, and sphincters tighten. It provides a reassuring, smooth, and sophisticated ride which still staggers the initiate and stuns the experienced driver.

It’s by no means a lightweight car, but it still defies its 3,400 pounds thanks to incredible traction and a benign balance. It changes direction as you’d like, but the slightly vague steering is an unfortunate byproduct of its compromised nature. If you can get used to the chilled and mildly restrained feel—which is overcome by the 443 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque across the near-entirety of the rev range—there’s plenty to enjoy. While the 992 Carrera S might not get up on its toes quite like its svelter little brother, it does a stellar job of excelling on both the sedate drive to the supermarket and the scenic route blitz on the way home.

How do these two fare against the McLaren, Lamborghini, Renault, and Toyota? Watch and find out. You might be surprised.

Arguably the better option when the ability to grab groceries is a requirement.

 
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The 914-6 and the Cayman GT4: Siblings Separated by Fifty Years

Small, light, uncorrupted by gadgets, and honest. Both the 914-6 and the Cayman GT4 might not be the most powerful of the most focused Porsches, but my do they deliver the goods. Enough power in a perfectly balanced chassis is a recipe which will always go far. Fifty years ago, Porsche began developing a six-cylinder mid-engined road car, and the latest Cayman GT4 carries that flag forward with five decades of innovation behind it.

The 3,338 units of the 914/6 top model came directly from Zuffenhausen from 1969 to 1972 took the two-liter flat-six from a 911T and placed it further ahead in a shorter, wider body. The result: a car that provided superior driving dynamics which is available again in the Cayman GT4 and its open-top sibling, the Boxster Spyder. These cars might not have the wildest statistics, but the driving experience they deliver is second to none.

Massive turbochargers and four wheel-drive aren’t necessary when the car’s balance is perfect and the power is just enough to generate a little wheelspin at the ragged edge. By keeping the overhangs short and placing the bulk of mass in the middle of the car, the polar moment is reduced and the willingness to change direction is increased.

No need to turn off the aids in this involving car.

Without the delay or lumpy delivery of a turbocharged motor, these two gems provide the scream, response, and linearity one needs to find the edge and dance on it. The driver and the passenger sit « closer to the machine, » as Andreas Preuninger puts it poetically. For anyone who’s grown accustomed to the thrills and urgency a naturally-aspirated, high-revving, perfectly balanced sports car can provide, nothing compares. “We build both cars for true fans, for racers and purists who have waited for these models and whom we don’t need to persuade of the benefits of the mid-engine concept,” emphasizes Andreas Preuninger.

Not that the newest Cayman GT4 and Boxster Spyder are lacking in horsepower. With 420 horsepower and 309 lb-ft of torque from the naturally-aspirated four-liter, there’s more than enough. Yet, grunt is never the highlight of these cars; the sublime balance, outrageous grip from a lightweight chassis derived from a GT3, and newly developed tires from Michelin and Dunlop make this car accessible and confidence-inspiring. “Thanks to the modern suspension kinematics and the high grip of the tires, mid-engine sports cars like the GT4 or Spyder drive like they’re from another planet, even without vehicle stability control systems activated,” says Markus Atz, project manager for motorsport GT street vehicles. Not even the most powerful, grippiest, stat-heavy supercar, can provide the same sense of immersion and excitement. These gems provide a timeless experience—one best appreciated by the hardcore, the skilled, and the thrill-seeking.

Two siblings separated by fifty years.

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718 Cayman GT4 Put Through Its Paces at Knockhill

More power, more aerodynamic grip, more performance, and more usability—we’ve heard all of the new Cayman GT4’s strengths already. However, few automotive journalists can test those claims like Steve Sutcliffe. Though he might not look like a superlative athlete, the man is arguably the best driver among his peers. Ten years ago, he was given the chance to test a Honda F1 car, and was only several tenths off James Rossiter, the Honda test driver roughly half his age.

Here, Sutcliffe uses all his strengths to illuminate the incremental changes that make this car 12 seconds a lap faster around the Nurburging than the 981 GT4. Despite the car weighing 80 pounds more and retaining the same frustratingly long gear ratios, the 718 is still quicker in a straight line.

Watch how urgently the car fires off the corner at 4:38. There’s an easily accessible engine at work here.

Based upon the motor found in the rear of the latest Carrera S, the 718’s new 4.0-liter motor makes 414 horsepower and 309 lb-ft of torque. Though that latter figure is the same as with the outgoing 3.8-liter engine, the added displacement provides a broader powerband, which helps camouflage the car’s long gearing. With the driver more often in the optimal rev range, the new chassis is more easily exploited. 

The steering, brakes, and suspension are closely related to those found in the GT3, and Sutcliffe immediately recognizes the changes. That sharpened steering is a real asset through Knockhill’s blind entries, which Sutcliffe attacks with the commitment you’d expect from him. 

A big rear wing, an underbody diffuser, and a bigger splitter creates 269 pounds of downforce at 188 miles per hour—nothing to sniff at. Not only is this car more incisive, but added stability—a little extra composure is always nice over the crests—is another feature which goads a driver to push that much harder. 

The improved powertrain, better composed chassis, and better exhaust note make it even more thrilling to drive than its predecessor, which was a firecracker itself. Incremental changes in every department make the new 718 Cayman GT4 a dependable, confidence-inspiring car which can soak up bumps, stay on the pipe, and encourage the driver to attack. That combination of qualities—not just the bump in power—is what is responsible for its incredible 7:28 lap around the ‘Ring.

Incidentally, that’s the same as the lap set by the 997 GT3 RS 4.0. Though tire technology has come a long way in ten years, having the least expensive member of the GT family set the same lap as the former heavyweight is a testament to Porsche’s unyielding search for incremental improvements in every department.

Composure, mid-engine balance, and great engine response—what’s not to like?

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A Straightforward Take on the New 718 Cayman GT4 and Boxster Spyder

Smaller than a GT3, the GT4 is more easily placed on the road and track.

A motoring journalist worth their salt ought to verge on being salty. Fair judgement and an understanding of what a sports car should offer is what Dan Prosser brings to the table, and through his sharpened lens we learn how the quickest variants of the 718 lineup differ from their predecessors.

Since most YouTubers attention spans are limited and the cars are so similar, Prosser chose to drive the cars in the domains they’re better suited to, which revealed some interesting differences between the two. While Cayman GT4 showed more civility than its predecessor on the track, the Boxster Spyder was a harder, more focused machine for the country road. It seems the two are nearing a happy medium to keep the track rat pacified and the sunday driver excited.

Better for the Boulevards

The newest Cayman GT4 seems less of a skunkworks product this time around. Despite the rack losing some of its three-dimensional feel, it compensates with more composure and reassurance across cambers, pockmarks, and crests. At the end of the day, it’s still an incredibly accurate and intuitive car, but it pays for its poise with a loss in feel.

That is only one of the traits which helped this generation of the Cayman GT4 cover the Nurburgring twelve seconds faster than its forebear. Factor in less drag, more aerodynamic downforce, and a bit more power, it’s easy to see how a driver would feel confident pushing it hard on a varied and unforgiving track. It’s much friendlier at the edge of adhesion, thanks in part to a Porsche Torque Vectoring limited-slip differential which allows the driver to lean on the car. In short, it’s a more amenable car with better stats. For everyone but a hardened racing driver, that means its faster in most places.

Closer to the Right Compromise

Compromise might be the operative word with these two, since both still show a few shortcomings made in the name of everyday civility. Those frustratingly long gear ratios, a muted exhaust note, diminished steering feel, and a stowable top in the case of the Spyder mean that they’re not quite the hardcore motorsports product that they’re sometimes billed as.

Few cars allow its driver to soak in the scenery while driving quickly as this one.

This might seem harsh considering the beauty and craftsmanship of these two gems, but a discerning judge helps make the the avid driver more informed and less frustrated. Let’s just be thankful these two didn’t hold on to the four-cylinder turbo.

Despite their shortcomings, it’s hard to argue with the obvious purpose on display here. For those who want a little more from their mid-range Porsche without spending GT3 money, these are alluring alternatives. Plus, with their mid-engine balance and comparatively lower power, they’re much more approachable for the hobbyist than the hotter-blooded GT3 is.

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Porsche 718 Spyder et 718 Cayman GT4 : le retour du 6 cylindres

Porsche dévoile une nouvelle itération de sa paire de sportives « d’entrée de gamme », les 718 Cayman GT4 et 718 Spyder. Esthétiquement, les 718 gagnent en caractère avec cette finition Spyder/GT4. Il y a évidemment l’aileron arrière qui se voit (sur le Cayman GT4), mais on peut noter le bouclier avant, le diffuseur arrière, les écopes […]

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