Words by Raj Hunjan
So what was the best Porsche release during 2015? Whilst many have been fixated by the new 911 GT3 RS, it is actually the Cayman GT4 that has impressed even more. The GT4 represents the ultimate drivers Porsche, for a number of reasons. The engine is mounted in the middle of the chassis, just behind the cabin. Unlike the GT3 RS, the GT4 is equipped with a six speed manual gearbox, leaving the driver in ultimate control of the car at all times. The GT4 also has a limited slip differential, an item that was deliberately left off some other Cayman models to hold it back when compared to 911 models since launch. The crowning glory though is the bolting of the GT3 front end to the chassis, this one change makes the GT4 a formidable track car. With all of these enhancements and the aggressive bodykit, the GT4 is instantly recognisable as a model in it’s own right. I think what has really surprised Porsche bosses is that there are just as many people desperately trying to seek out a GT4 build slot as there are GT3 RS prospects trying to do the same. Both are limited production run vehicles that were only offered to ‘qualified buyers’. However what has added fuel to the fire and increased the premiums paid, is the inconsistency in the selection process. Some long term Porsche buyers (some with over six new Porsche cars to their name in the last three years, have been denied GT3 RS build slots, while others with little brand history have simply walked into their local dealer with a letter of intent before production started and successfully had their name placed against a car due for production in 2016. This has been the case for both the GT4 and GT3 RS. This uncertainty and selling of cars to those seeking to simply cash in on the frenzy has led to early production cars being sold with just delivery miles for a significant premium. Currently the premium for a GT4 is around £35,000 – 40,000, over the £64,451 list price – which is huge! Likewise the GT3 RS is also experiencing huge premiums,over £100,000 on top of list price. For those that wish to keep their cars, this has led to the feeling of being lucky to have secured a car directly from Porsche at list price. This however may also have influenced how they plan on using the car.
The GT4 is the first focused GT model based on the mid-engined, two-seat Cayman coupe. Sharing components and genetic spirit with the iconic 911 GT3, a lap time of 7 min 40 sec around the Nürburgring Nordschleife places the Cayman GT4 emphatically as the new benchmark at the top of its market segment. The engine, chassis, brakes and aerodynamic design of the Cayman GT4 are configured for maximum driving dynamics.
The Cayman GT4 is powered by a mid-mounted, 3.8-litre flat-six engine with 385bhp produced at 7,400 rpm, which is derived from the 911 Carrera S engine. Its power is transmitted by a standard six-speed manual gearbox with dynamic gearbox mounts – there is no PDK transmission option. This translates in to acceleration from zero to 62 mph in 4.4 seconds; top speed is 183 mph. The body is lowered by 30 mm versus the standard Cayman, and features a purposefully-proportioned brake system. Furthermore, the chassis has been comprehensively fine-tuned with many components shared with the 911 GT3.
Three distinctive inlet openings in the nose and a large fixed rear wing are part of an aerodynamic package which is systematically designed to not only reduce lift but also generate downforce. Options include PCCB ceramic brakes, shell-backed seats made of carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP), a custom Sport Chrono Package with the unique Track Precision app, and a Club Sport Package.
The interior of the Cayman GT4 is designed so that the driver and passenger can become immersed in unfiltered driving enjoyment. Due to its compact dimensions, the new GT4 sports steering wheel guarantees ideal control and direct steering feedback. As a mid-engined sports car and a prime example of driving dynamics in its class, it follows the conceptual tradition of such cars as the 904 GTS, 911 GT1, Carrera GT and 918 Spyder.
Standard equipment includes bi-Xenon headlights, sports exhaust, Sport Chrono Pack with dynamic engine mounts leather/Alcantara interior trim, sports seats, 20-inch alloy wheels, Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) with mechanical rear limited slip differential, a universal audio interface offering MP3 connectivity, air conditioning, Porsche Stability Management (PSM), a Porsche Vehicle Tracking anti-theft system and a three-year warranty. Customers will also be able to explore the potential of their new car by participating in a complimentary course at the Porsche Experience Centre, Silverstone.
A GT4 is designed to be driven regularly on track, now with the prices going through the roof, many will never see a track in their entire lives. For some this is a shame. The ones that missed out are likely to be feeling disillusioned by the whole debacle, having been rejected by Porsche, even though they have the finances to pay for their dream car. One thing is clear, Porsche needs to look at the events of 2015, the release of these two limited run cars and adjust how they launch cars and offer them up.