The lighter, meaner, 9,000rpm-redline, GT3-plundering Cayman GT4 RS is here. Set your eyeballs to stunned
By Matt Bird / Wednesday, November 17, 2021 / Loading comments
We’re so glad you’re finally here. We’ve been waiting for you. Despite often being privvy to show reveals ahead of time, it’s not actually all that often that PH gathers around a laptop screen to openly salivate over a new car. But the new Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS has had your otherwise steely-eyed correspondents in a tizzy all week. Texts have been exchanged. Fingers crossed. Daydreams indulged. It is quite possible that all objectivity has fallen out of the nearest window.
And can you blame us? Sure, there are those who will never be fully convinced by Porsche’s middle child – especially with the manufacturer’s habit for sticking it under the 911 stairs. But with the end of the decade beckoning, and an RS badge to justify, Porsche has finally whipped its gloves off. The proper, pant-wetting, GT3-grade naturally aspirated 4.0-litre flat-six (the same one described as ‘practically unchanged’ from the Cup car when the 992 launched) has, at last, migrated in all its glory from the 911 in 500hp format. Even by Porsche’s lofty standards, the stats look extreme: where an RS car typically has 20 or 30 horsepower more than standard, this is 80hp stronger than the 718 GT4. Porsche says it will rev to 9,000rpm.
Moreover, with weight saving measures implemented such as the CFRP bonnet and front wings, lighter glass and reduced sound deadening, the GT4 RS is lighter by 20kg than a GT3, at 1,415kg DIN. Which means a 718 Cayman that’s just as fast as the all-conquering 911: the obligatory seven-speed PDK means 0-62mph in just 3.4 seconds (identical to the GT3) and a top speed of 196mph, or just 2mph down. This is a 500hp, 196mph Porsche Cayman, which not so long ago seemed the preserve of crazy tuner specials – now’s it’s coming from the factory.
Plus, of course, the GT4 RS is about an awful lot more than straight line speed – its incredible 7:04 Nurburgring lap time is not solely the result of a GT3 engine. Porsche has thoroughly overhauled the Cayman suspension and aero to take advantage of the extra muscle, with new ball joints, an ‘RS-specific’ tune for the dampers plus revisions to the springs and anti-roll bars. The GT4 RS rides 30mm lower than a standard 718, with the standard Michelin Cup 2 tyres upgradeable to the stickier Cup 2R. Play with the adjustable body parts and up to 60 per cent more downforce than a GT4 is promised, though technically that ‘Performance’ setting is intended only for circuits.
In the road configuration another 10 per cent is promised, thanks to that swan-neck rear wing, dramatic front wheel arch vents and rear diffuser. Don’t forget the air intakes behind the windows, too, a first for the Cayman. Porsche says they are there to improve airflow (those in front of the rear wheels are still for the engine) and to “create a thrilling intake noise right next to the occupants’ ears.” Given that 4.0-litre flat-six is already one of the best sounding engines on sale, that’s quite the prospect.
Once you’re done gawping at the outside, there’s plenty inside the GT4 RS to be excited by as well, as much for what isn’t there as for what is. This is the Cayman cabin we’ve known for basically a decade now, so it means buttons, switches, somewhere to put the key, analogue dials and all that lovely stuff; but it’s also one with a rev counter that goes to 10,000rpm, a speedo that goes beyond 200mph and that fabulous new PDK selector from the GT3. Great steering wheel, too. Additional RS-specific features include lightweight door panels (which look borrowed from the GT4) and lighter carpets – Porsche claims this car weighs 35kg less than a non-RS GT4 with the seven-speed dual-clutch.
As with its GT2 and GT3 equivalents, GT4 RS customers will be offered an optional Weissach package to indicate to everyone how much they care about track days and resale values. It adds a carbon weave finish to the bonnet, intakes, rear wing and mirror trims, titanium exhaust pipes, 20-inch forged aluminium wheels, Alcantara everywhere and a titanium roll cage. The most dedicated can add forged magnesium wheels – the blue paint isn’t mandatory…
Having made its debut at the LA auto show, deliveries of the 718 Cayman GT4 RS are due as soon as next month. So yes, you are already almost certainly too late; the UK price has been confirmed at £108,370 for those lucky enough to get a build slot. Expect some first drives (and cars for sale at a little more than that) come early 2022…
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