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Is the 981 GTS Peak Modern Porsche?

Turbocharging did not gain the Boxster and Cayman any fans. The models kindly picked up 911 fans’ spare derision when the transaxle cars left production in the mid-1990s, and have carried the torch of poor public perception from their predecessors. Real enthusiasts should only be buying 911s after all, or so the line goes. Despite having something of an optics problem right from the outset the cars have always been built upon an excellent foundation, with enviable driving dynamics and a sonorous, if not always powerful, flat-six.

JayEmm likes to couple clickbait with calm reasoning, which gives him a leg up on most Youtubers. To be clear he is saying the 981 GTS is the only modern Porsche he would buy, not the only one you should buy, and that mostly comes down to Jay not being the biggest 911 fan. The man daily drove an Exige for quite some time, which makes me think he’s made an honest assessment of himself as someone who does not need a back seat.

He rather rightly points out the existence of the 718 Boxster and Cayman’s flat-four gave their six-cylinder immediate predecessors something of a boost on the secondhand market. Buyers who were in for the noise and the character of a Boxster were not easily wowed by the new car, despite it improving on paper in virtually every metric. The sound of the flat-four was too Subaru-like, and the whole package lacked the effortless smoothness of the old mill. The GT3-mimicking GT4 and Spyder seek to change that.

But does that make the 981 the pick of Porsche’s recent past? At present 981 Boxster and Cayman GTS models on classifieds sites are sitting in the high $50k range and even into the low $70k range with modest miles. That sort of pricetag knocks on the door of cars like the 997 Turbo or any number of 991.1 911s. Indeed, that sort of pricetag will by very nice 996 GT3 with some money left over.

That said, where do you stand on JayEmm’s assessment? Is the 981 Boxster GTS the modern Porsche to own?

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porsche 991 Cup car driven: gentleman racer

Silence. Awful silence. There’s only the sound of my breathing as I sit looking out the windscreen at the track, a track which until a few seconds ago I’d been driving on. There are four black lines, criss-crossing each other, a rubber inscription on the tarmac that highlights my lack of talent.

What had Tom Woollen, technical team manager, Motorsport, said? Floor the clutch, re-start the engine and pull the paddle down for neutral. I do that, the flat-six fires but the spitting sound of the pneumatic shifter isn’t accompanied by any change in the digital display in front of me.

Third is still being shown, and every, ever more desperate tug at the left shifter is signalled not by that number getting lower, but a warning sound that suggests to me ‘expensive’. A Cayman GT4 Clubsport nips by, while I’m sat motionless on the tarmac, mercifully free of the gravel trap at the big left off Vale.

The mid-engined GT4 is the very car that only a few minutes ago I’d been lapping in, approaching the same big stop with impunity, leaning on the brakes until the ABS was cutting in. It was hilariously good fun, it flattering thanks to its fine balance and, if I’m being honest here, the electronic assistance of that ABS and Traction Control. 

The 911 GT3 Cup car I’m sat in now has no such driver assistance, all of which explains my current predicament. Nothing for it but to switch it all off, hope, and start again.

A quick flick of the ignition, a prayer, and re-start the engine with the clutch floored. The digital display in front of me is still showing I’m in third, but my tentative pull of the paddle has it drop to two, then first, then I’m good to go. 

Talent: you need a lot of it to drive in the Carrera Cup. I’ve been lucky enough to have driven a lot of racing cars, but none have intimidated as much as the 911 GT3 Cup car I’m in today.

I’d been warned, not just before I got into it, but for weeks in advance. The 911 GT3 Cup isn’t like most modern racers, it’s a car that demands the very best from its drivers – if you make a mistake you’ll know about it. And I know about it.  

If you’ve not seen the Carrera Cup, then where have you been? The UK’s fastest single-make championship, the 911 GT3 Cup cars are quicker than the British Touring Cars that they follow all around the UK.

Almost as quick as a 911 GT3 R depending on the circuit, Woollen saying at Spa, the Cup’s lack of aero, and hence drag, allied to its 485hp mean it’s only a couple of seconds slower than its more hardcore relation. In the right hands, of course. 

There are Carrera Cup championships all over the world, providing support races to Touring Cars, GT Championships and F1 as the Supercup. If you’re in Asia, America, Australia, Germany, France, Italy, Japan and Scandinavia you’ll find a championship. Indeed, if you’ve…

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Ride Onboard With The Legendary Walter Rohrl As He Puts A 718 Cayman GT4 Through Its Paces

Though he’s now a septuagenarian, Walter Rohrl hasn’t slowed down much. He’s as wiry as he was in his prime, and he still takes every outing on track—even one with a passenger sitting shotgun—very seriously. Yes, a smile occasionally breaks across his stern visage, but his focus never fades.

His famously precise driving is the result of five decades behind the wheel of a racing car. Unlike most of the driving we see automotive journalists indulging in, Rohrl’s driving is smooth and devoid of big slides. Accurate and understated, there isn’t much in the way of opposite lock. This is the style of driving we can expect from a man who spent much of his career avoiding cliffs, trees, and oblivious rally fans.

Cool and detached, he uses every inch of Knockhill’s surface, and enters some of the blind corners with the sort of confidence most can’t muster. Some of that composure has to be attributed to how nicely the Cayman sits over curbs and elevation changes. Though Rohrl is renowned for hating rally stages with lots of jumping, he’s virtually sedated as he climbs over Knockhill’s crests and clouts the curbs. A car that inspires this sort of confidence is something quite special.

Being the a seasoned veteran and straightforward German he is, something would be amiss if he didn’t make one critique. As we’ve established before, the gear ratios in every iteration of the GT4 are frustratingly long, and we can hear how the motor falls out of its sweet spot in the second-gear hairpins (3:09), but it’s on-song most everywhere else. It’s a stellar car with a legend behind the wheel—so sit back and enjoy this masterclass, which despite the speeds, is strangely soothing.

The most emotion you see from the steely Rohrl is a sly smirk after Catchpole cracks up sitting shotgun.

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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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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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