The Porsche Cayman GT4 stormed the circuit like a crying hell dog.
PORSCHE CLUB 2019 Leenen Steve does the TEST.
What is this?
Cars that excel both on the road and on the track are rare, but there are exceptions to the rule
Describe the perfect sports car. You probably already know where we want to go, but do us a favour. There are not many cars that can meet all your requirements. A sports car is more about sensation than about speed. So then a half-baked, old gearbox that you have to operate with your whole body is enough. A little sports car also has a low seating position, but lacks the excessive width to really intimidate you. On the way you want something to do, so you want rear wheel drive and an engine without a turbo. After all, you don't want a car that throws soulless with an abundance of torque.
The Cayman GT4 has all these qualities. Not only that, but it also manages to make a harmonious whole out of it. This is a perfectly finished, modern sports car that resolutely condemns all the technology that would undoubtedly make it faster and more pleasant to drive. So you can't choose an automatic. Active spoilers can also be forgotten: this machine is made by car lovers, for car lovers. But where should you go if in February, when the weather gods don't really cooperate yet, you get the chance to get to know this miracle of technology? A no-nonsense car like this deserves a driving environment without pretensions and unnecessary frills. Then you'll soon end up in the countryside in northern Wales. Probably the elderly inhabitants of this region will suffer from tinnitus for the rest of the evening, but fortunately most of them are too busy enjoying the beautiful surroundings.
You may find this a bit strange, but our favourite aspect of the Cayman GT4, which stands out immediately when you sit down in the carbon-fibre finished bucket seat of the 918 Spyder (an option you should tick off), is its modest size. This Porsche feels like a small car. And small cars usually do very well on public roads. You can easily park them anywhere and you have no problems in places where it is just a little bit less wide.
Here in the mountains, with sharp rocks to our left and sleepy sheep to our right, the Cayman GT4 is completely in its element. You sit low, right in the middle of a chassis that feels like it has been cast around the other parts, using every inch of space. A formula that gives you the confidence that many so-called real sports cars can't match. These are fantastic roads, but sometimes you have to share the asphalt with persistent cyclists or sheep with suicidal tendencies. In those cases, you give the Cayman a little tap over the road markings and you'll pass it in a flash. This car gives you the space to let off steam.
Then there's the fact that the GT4, despite all its 'GT' gadgets like a big rear spoiler, huge air sappers and ceramic brakes, even the worst asphalt is eliminated. Here in the north of Wales, you'll have to deal with sand, crushed rock, holes in the road surface and rain. But there's nothing that upsets the Cayman. Just like the 911 GT3 RS, it feels very solid and the body and razor-sharp steering don't shrink in bleak conditions. But unlike the ultimate track day Porsche, you don't hear the Cayman impatiently tap the stopwatch with his finger to spur you on to a new land speed record that would shave a herd of sheep 50 metres away.
six cylinder boxer
385 hp @ 7,400 rpm
420 Nm @ 4,750 rpm
6v hand tray
0-100 km/h in 4.4 s
top 295 km/h
10.3 l/100 km
238 g/km CO2
4,438 x 1,817 x 1,266 mm (l x w x h)
2,484 mm (wheelbase)
54 l (petrol)
150 + 275 l (luggage)
B € 88.451
Declaration of love to the hand tray
The transmission is decisive for this ingenious whole. Is this the perfect handbox? To be honest: no. The gear ratios are endlessly long, which limits the car somewhat on roads where its road holding is particularly good. The pedal stroke of the clutch pedal is even longer. You need an extendable left leg to push the clutch. The shifting itself feels very mechanical, and the fact that you really need to get to know the gearbox makes it extra playful. This car doesn't reveal its secrets right from the first encounter.
By the way, don't be mistaken in the fact that the Cayman GT4 has been extremely important for Porsche. The new 911 R (including the rumours about three pedals in the future GT3) owes a lot to its little brother, who proved that we would rather have a nice, interactive sports car than ever faster teleportation machines with brightly coloured belts. The Cayman GT4 was already sold out just after it was announced, and is now about double the initial cost.
You can't blame the car for making it a little less desirable. This is simply a brilliant machine that encourages you to enjoy yourself on the most beautiful and best roads you can find. It is a declaration of love from Porsche to the handbox, a textbook example for cars where the importance of a subtle balance outweighs the largest number of horsepower or the most torque. On this rainy day it's perfect.
However, to explore those beautiful, higher engine speeds and to fully enjoy one of the last atmospheric sports cars in the world, you really need an environment without speed limits. A circuit, so.
Play with the Cayman GT4
Maybe you assume that the ideal racing car has at least 600 hp. That he drives his rear tyres to pieces in every corner. Maybe we even contributed to that. It's time to put an end to this myth and the Cayman GT4 is the right car for it.
A brief look at his equipment shows that Porsche has taken things seriously. The suspension shares a number of important parts with its big brother, the 911 GT3. The big rear spoiler is not there for the show, but to really generate extra downforce. Both the chassis and the spoiler can be adjusted with the right tools, if you would like to.
The Cayman is ready in the paddock, on his Michelin racing tyres, ready for battle. After a short second gear or a quick chicane you notice that he doesn't take it that seriously. The Cayman GT4 wants you to have fun, regardless of your driver talent. That's exactly what a track day should be all about.
You already notice it when you leave the pit lane. On the alcantara upholstery that is stretched around the wheel. On the truncated gear stick that shortens the gear shifts. At the large rev counter in the middle of the instruments. All things that make every enthusiast, regardless of the experience on the track, smile.
In other, more pure sports cars, you gradually increase your speed, while carefully exploring your own limits. However, the Cayman is so perfectly balanced that you'll automatically drive it to the limit once everything has warmed up. It doesn't even matter if you had that in mind.
A sublime total package
We continue to give compliments. The howling engine that comes to life when you can finally look up the red rev range at every gear change (in second gear you reach almost 130 km/h). The excellent steering system, with a steering feel that resembles magic. Shifting gears? Without exaggerating we can say that this is proof of the fact that hand boxes still have their place in a sports car. You may shift a bit slower than with pinball machines, but on a track day it's not about timing and real competition. With a handbox you have fun and I don't think there are many gearboxes that will give you more fun than with this one.
The Cayman is a feast for your senses and gives you a lot of confidence with its rich feedback. The GT4 may have 385 hp and can tap almost 300 km/h, but it never feels like it wants to take a walk with you. On the contrary, it supports you with all kinds of technologies. The electronics, for example, provide just the right amount of intermediate throttle to make you shift down more smoothly. This benefits the balance of the car. The electronic auxiliary systems never impose themselves. This car is so well tuned that the stability control rarely needs to be activated. If it does, the car will trust you enough to make its ass wag a little. Then the car is put in line.
The biggest advantage of the Cayman GT4 however is that as a greener you can drive away with it without any problems, but also that experienced drivers can fully enjoy it. You can grow and mature together with the car, with all the memorable highlights that go with it. You learn how important and fun it is to shift down at the perfect moment. Then you can turn off the throttle function and try it yourself. After driving around with all electronic safety nets for a while, you know exactly what the car can do. Then you can turn everything off and look for the limit again, without it feeling like a jump into the deep.
This is exactly what it's all about. The 911 GT3 RS hangs from superlatives together. He knows exactly what he can do and requires the rider to join in, whether he's ready or not. If you want to drive at the limit in that car, you do so with jaws clamped together. In the Cayman GT4 you have an enormous grin on your face.