The Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport
A true driver’s car
The Porsche Cayman GT4 is the first road-going mid-engined car from Porsche to wear a GT motorsport badge, developed by the same wizards of Weissach responsible for the magical 911 GT3. As magical as it is, the GT3 is equipped only with an automatic transmission. The Cayman GT4 is manual only. No corporate board sat down and approved this Porsche, and certainly no one took it to customer clinics. We like that. A lot.
In a world of flappy-paddle transmissions and horsepower figures running into four figures, Porsche’s GT division have taken a step back and tried to think of what a true driver wants. And they couldn’t have got it more right with the Cayman GT4.
The GT4 is the quickest Cayman. It got its engine from the 911 Carrera S – a 3.8-litre Powerkit unit with 385 horses. The gearbox is a six-speed manual which is super sweet to use.
Ride and handling are sublime. As sweetly-balanced as a standard Cayman, but response and grip are increased by a rather large notch over even a Cayman GTS. The driving position is fantastic, hugged by those optional 918 hypercar carbon bucket-seats.
The geeky stuff
The GT4 uses the 3.8-liter straight six engine from the Carrera S, producing 385 bhp – 45 bhp more than a GTS. It is rotated, machined, and shoe-horned in to the middle of the Cayman.
The GT4 refreshingly gives us three pedals and a stick to stir. The 6-speed box is a joy to use; the stick is 20mm lower than the GTS and has a slick operation and sturdy feel, begging you to work through the ratios.
Other technical highlights include a switchable volume exhaust, rev-matching, mechanical locking differential (22% on acceleration), and trick aerodynamic features such as using the trunk-lip to speed up airflow under the rear wing.
The entire front end (suspension and steering) is lifted from its bigger brother – the 911 GT3 – giving the GT4 a remarkably tight turn in. The 911’s multilink rear suspension wouldn’t fit (nor is it necessary, says Porsche), so the Cayman’s strut-type rear was completely reworked with new uprights, forged split wishbones, and ball joints at each end of the trailing arms. Shocks are upside-down adaptive Bilsteins at each corner.
Stopping power is also borrowed from the GT3 with Hannah sporting the optional upgrade to 410mm PCCBs. Because the brakes are so large, bespoke 20-inch rims wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 shoes are used.
Both the front and rear anti-roll bars (ARBs) are three-way adjustable, giving you the option of changing the driving dynamics to suit your style. Adjustability also comes in the form of ride height, geometry, and even front diffuser vents and rear wing angle. Yes, this is pretty much a road going race car.
From the first moment that you slide yourself into the fixed-back seats – taken right out of the million-dollar 918 Spyder – you know the GT4 is special. The driving position is spot on, the ergonomics of the cabin as close to faultless as I can imagine. You sit lower than in the Cayman GTS and the alcantara wheel can be adjusted into your chest. Even the pedals are exactly where you want them. Exactly. It’s a car that makes you want to drive it properly.
The engine is a masterpiece with a haunting, deafening, flat-six wail. Porsche claims 4.2 seconds to sixty, and that certainly feels about right—in other words, it’s very quick.
It’s balanced. It devours corners. The ride isn’t anywhere near as harsh as you would expect. There’s no body roll. The steering is quick and precise. And it’s so quick to rev and oh-so-fun to rev-match.
What. A. Ride. Every part of this car feels like it was engineered for racetrack duty, probably because it was. The seats are perfect, the electrically assisted steering is millimeter-precise and communicative. There is absolutely no flex or slop in the shift linkage, so mid-corner upshifts are a breeze even at what feels like 1.3 g of cornering loads.
The GT4 is pure petrol-head dream: stuff a big engine in a little car with a stick. Plus the GT4’s pedigree is impeccable. And tantalisingly so, containing as it does elements of high-end Porsches – from GT3 to 918 – along the way. It is nothing less than the greatest expression of what a Cayman can be. A car that deliberately puts driver enjoyment above the pursuit of raw performance.