2022 Porsche Cayman GT4 RS First Drive: The Ultimate 718

It’s a total trail rat.

Porsche

One of my favorite automotive conspiracy theories is that Porsche is intentionally withholding the Cayman to protect the sanctity of the 911. It’s so silly. And having hit the track in the new GT4 RS, I have to ask: how could a Cayman be better than this?

The RS is much more than just a hotter GT4, and we actually have the 911 to thank for a big part of this update. Porsche incorporated the front end of a 991-generation 911 Carrera 4S into the GT4 body structure, helping to make the RS stiffer, but also allowing it to be fitted with an electronic front axle lift , which no other Cayman offers. The RS’s hood and front fenders are made from carbon fiber, and the air vents in the wheel arches are excellent for aerodynamics and brake cooling, plus they look awesome. Ditto for the side air ducts that replace the Cayman’s rear quarter windows.

These side ducts feed a naturally aspirated 4.0-liter flat-6 engine, but it’s not the same one used in the Cayman GT4. The RS receives the engine from the 992 generation 911 GT3 — itself a version of the powertrain used in the Coupe 911 GT3 race car – which develops 493 horsepower and 331 lb-ft of torque. Of course, it’s not the digital specs that really matter here. The 9,000 RPM redline of linear power is what makes this engine such a catch. Combine that with side vents and the sound the thing makes at full groan is amazing.

You can only get the Cayman GT4 RS with Porsche’s seven-speed PDK dual-clutch gearbox, and it has the same tuning as the transmission used in the newer 911 GT3RS. The shifter is the same faux-manual stick from the new GT3, and there are little paddles on the steering wheel if you feel like making the decisions. But circling the tight, technical race track of Streets of Willow in California (in counter-clockwise configuration, no less!), I never had a burning desire to take in charge of changing tasks. PDK knows better.

The Porsche 718’s chassis is one of the best around, and it only gets better the higher up the Cayman pecking order you go. The RS has unique shocks and significantly stiffer spring rates, both a boon for flat handling, but likely to make this thing somewhat brutal on public roads. (It’s an RS, what did you expect?) The retuned suspension means the RS sits 1.2 inches lower than a base Cayman, crouched on 20-inch center-lock wheels wrapped in 245/35 front and 295/30 rear Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres. Like the 911 GT3, Super Sticky Cup 2 R rubbers are available, although Porsche will run you through the dealer, not the car. ‘plant.

The RS has bigger brakes than a regular GT4 (carbon ceramic is optional) and it also has a huge gooseneck wing. You can brake late in the corners and reduce speed quickly, knowing that the RS’s aero tricks won’t dive the front or rear end during hard stops. It’s great for descending the hill on what would normally be the front of Streets straight away, and braking hard as you enter the skidpad for a sharp left turn toward Turn 1.

Come on, live a little.

Porsche

The RS isn’t all that sharper than the standard GT4 as it’s more eager, aggressive and playful. It rewards quick reflexes and fearless corner entry speeds, and it doesn’t come with rear-axle steering to help tuck that rump. A mechanical limited-slip differential with Porsche’s Torque Vectoring technology manages the power between the rear wheels, and it does it brilliantly, never succumbing to oversteer or lack of precision if you grab the power a bit early on the way out. of a bend. The increased rear camber helps with stability, and obviously the Cup 2 R tires deserve some credit as well.

Porsche says the RS weighs 49 pounds less than an equivalent Cayman GT4 with PDK, for a final curb weight of 3,227 lbs. It’s very light by modern sports car standards, especially considering the large-displacement flat-six ballast. You can shave an extra 22 pounds of weight if you spec the forged magnesium wheels you see on this test car, which look absolutely killer painted in optional indigo blue. On their own, these wheels are a $15,640 upgrade, though you can only get them if you add the $13,250 Weissach package, which technically makes them a $28,890 option. This is the point where I would normally throw in a “yikes” for effect, but Porsche tells me that 95% of people who pre-ordered the GT4 RS opted for the Weissach, and 80% of them chose the wheels in magnesium. Good.

You can really feel a difference with the Weissach package, mainly because the magnesium wheels reduce unsprung weight at each corner. The turn is a bit sharper and the steering wheel feels more lively in your hands. If that’s worth $28,890 to you, then hey, sure. Other Weissach perks include exposed carbon fiber on some body panels and engine components, Porsche lettering on the rear window, and titanium tailpipes that turn an impressive blue-purple when swept away. they are hot.

It looks like a manual but it’s actually an automatic. The GT4 RS receives the same gear lever as the new 911 GT3.

Porsche

Opting for the Weissach also adds Race-Tex suede to the dash, one of the few differences between the RS and non-RS interiors. A matte carbon fiber trim lines the front of the dash and center console, and you get a yellow center marker on the steering wheel that matches the color of the gear pattern on the shifter. The one-piece carbon fiber seats are like those of other Porsches, they offer good support and are harder to get in and out of than ever. I will mention the 7-inch color touch screen and Apple Car Play (But no Android-Auto) because I kind of have to, but nobody who buys a GT4 RS is going to care about that stuff.

The first series of GT4 RS coupes will arrive in North America later this year, priced at $143,050 including $1,350 for destination. Optional with the Weissach package, magnesium wheels, a front axle lift, ceramic brakes, a Bose sound system and plenty of small styling tweaks, the Arctic Gray car pictured here costs $195,190, which is a bit wild. Then again, the RS punches well above its weight, and Porsche will sell every one of its products, so who cares?

The GT4 RS is the ultimate expression of what the Porsche 718 Cayman can be, and in no way does it feel like its wings have been clipped to allow something like the 911 GT3 to fly higher. He’s an extremely capable and hilarious little track rat that stands out as something truly special. 10 out of 10, 5 stars, no rating.

amoloans