This is the best sounding Porsche road car on sale today. Period. If you’re reading these pages, I’d assume that you’re at the very least, a mild-mannered petrolhead and if that’s even half true, then you will be entirely smitten with the soundtrack delivered by the 718 Cayman GT4 RS that we’ve now driven on local soil. My film school lecturers would argue that sound is more important than what you see – in this case, I’d lay the sound credits right up there. But that’s just one highlight here.
It's a HUGE highlight though. That aural experience in the GT4 RS is largely thanks to the air box that sits right behind you. It is from there that the incessant and addictive soundtrack gets its symphony. It is in itself, the finale if you will, of a truly well-played sportscar. It will enliven your senses in a way few cars in the world can. Notice that I haven’t even got to the mention of the seats, the infotainment system, the plethora of options available. I probably should …
The cabin is built with weight-saving and driver-focus in mind. The dashboard boasts fine Alcantara materials as does the steering wheel. My test car boasted Porsche infotainment with Apple CarPlay and the Weissach package which includes lightweight carbon bucket seats and a roll cage. There are no large door handles instead replaced with a pull strap. There are no multi-function controls on the wheel and no ambient lighting displays. This is all business…performance business so if you’re looking for oodles of luxury and comfort tech, you’re not in the right place.
Let’s dumb down the key elements of what makes a performance car special. First up is power. The GT4 RS is endowed with the bulletproof 4.0-litre flat-six lifted from the GT3. 368kW and 450Nm of naturally aspirated shove is generously doled out through a slick-shifting 7-speed PDK. There are no manuals here…this is a RS and that is the RS way. The power is perfectly matched to the rest of the package being usable all throughout the rev range and builds to its peak at 8,400rpm before maxing out at a triumphant 9,000. Throttle response is immediate, mid-range availability isn’t lacking and absolute straight line grunt won’t leave you short-changed. It is a mighty powertrain with a vehement, addictive launch control feature.
Next up? Handling. The GT4 RS is mid-engined so the balance of the car is immediately intuitive. The chassis is tuned with a genius ability to be usable on the open road and also flexible and readable when all-out stability and feel is required under hard runs. RS-modified spring rates and anti-roll bars make the RS much more agile than the GT4 before it. The steering is as sharp as ever with to-the-point accuracy. It’s the standard for sportscar steering if anyone wanted to benchmark.
In performance terms, traction is a big thing. It is determined by a few things, yes the chassis being one of them – the other factors that affect traction are those four rubber contact patches. Michelin Pilot Sport 2’s are fitted and when they’re up to temperature seem to add to the confidence in each corner.
And then? – Downforce.
The GT4 RS is the king of the air, asserting all sorts of tricks to bully the air into submission. Every panel of the car has an authority over the air in some form. That swan neck spoiler coupled with rear diffuser speak the language of downforce, working with the side air intakes, gaping front splitter and Naca ducts atop the carbon fibre bonnet to force the car into the ground and keep it stable. Over the GT4, the RS runs 40% more downforce and that’s telling. It means a 7:09:3 around the infamous Nürburgring 20.832-kilometre track and that is 24-seconds faster than the GT4.
As much as this car is a fully fledged production model, the plague of stock-shortages hasn’t abated and whilst you can order one, it may take quite a while for you to receive your car. But this isn’t a Porsche problem and you’ll find it much harder to find any other equivalent models should you become too impatient to wait for a GT4 RS.
That’s if you can find an ‘equivalent’. At this price, you won’t find a car so obsessed with performance and thrills. You will find a more luxurious car at the price, you will find a more practical car at the price but as a pure sports car, there isn’t anything we can think of to match this car. And that places into its own unique territory.
GT4 RS is the enigmatic 718 halo car that we only dreamed of. It’s as if Porsche built the hero car, the one we thought we’d never meet and yet here it is, in all 1,419kg of sportscar glory. It is intricately obsessive. It is obsessed with doing many things in the most extraordinary manner possible, one of which is prickling the hairs on your neck and riddling your body with goosebumps. It’s just so good that we give it a 10.
So here’s to the first 10/10 car we’ve driven at TopGear SA.