This is the new Porsche Cayman 718 GT4. Of course, it’s now got 718 in its name, because when Porsche facelifted its mid-engined two-seater and dropped in a controversial four-cylinder turbo engine, it added the ‘718’ bit to pay homage to a classic four-pot Porsche of ye olden days. But fear not. The turbo engine has been banished from the 718 GT4. This thing’s packing a 4.0-litre, 8,000rpm, 308kW flat-six. That ought to make a jolly nice noise.
Power is up 26kW from the last GT4, which never really wanted for poke. We loved it. Won our 2016 Sports Car of the Year Award, in fact. But we’ll take the extra horses. Torque matches the old 3.8-litre version’s 420Nm. And it’s actually no quicker: the 718 GT4 does 0-100kph in 4.4sec. Just like before. Top speed is up a smidge from 293kph to beyond 300kph.
The engine is cleverer, though. Kinder to the environment. Not only does it produce more power while breathing out through a heftier exhaust filter (which adds about 12kg in weight), it can also shut down a bank of cylinders when you’re cruising. And the bigger engine now has a wider torque band. Porsche GT boss Andreas Preuninger is confident this erases one of the only problems with the old 718 GT4 – that the gearing was too long. The gearing is the same this time around, but the car might punch through each ratio a bit harder.
Besides plumbing in a bigger engine, Porsche has also been hard at work in the wind tunnel. Yes, yes, we know it looks the same. Of course it does. It’s a new Porsche. What were you expecting?
Anyway, the headline is a 50 per cent jump in overall downforce. How? Well, the split exhaust opens up space for a more useful – if perhaps uglier – rear diffuser, sucking the car’s backside onto the road. The rear wing’s been redrawn to conjure more downforce without adding drag (so, with the extra power the top speed goes up).
Now, we’re not talking about an Aston Valkyrie AMR nutter here, so the 718 GT4 isn’t a drive-it-on-the-ceiling kinda car. Apparently, even with the tweaked front splitter and so on, the extra downforce amounts to 12kg at 125mph. Still, next time you’re pinned over Flugplatz at the Nürburgring, you’d be very glad about every extra kilo pushing you back down to Earth…
Speaking of which, the 718 GT4 is reportedly ten seconds a lap faster around said German racetrack. But Preuninger says the GT4 isn’t a humourless grip machine. “The tyres are not ultra-rated super track day tyres – more like an ultra-high performance all-rounder – so it can live with the horrid conditions as well,” he tells TG. “This is a car for the back roads. You would rather dance with the car than drive it, that is how I would describe it.”
We drive the 718 GT4 next month and sales in South Africa will follow soon after.
One for your wish list?
Original source: TopGear