There are no shortage of options if you’re looking for a fun Porsche to hit the track with; some much more serious than others. Well don’t look now, but we may have found our new favorite!
While finding common ground in our world today seems harder and harder to do; I think we can all agree right off the bat that this 2020 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 is a very special piece of performance engineering.
The centerpiece, literally in the case of the mid-engine 718, is indeed the engine. It’s unfortunate, as you can’t really see it, but take our word for it, the 4.0-liter naturally aspirated flat-6 makes all the right moves.
That includes revving to 8,000 RPM for 414-horsepower and 309 lb-ft. of torque.
It makes all the right sounds too, thanks to an all-new sport exhaust system. The whole setup is so gloriously responsive, it makes us want to start a campaign to ban all turbo engines.
It is accompanied by a 6-speed manual GT transmission; though if you insist on a PDK, hold off a few months, as it will come eventually.
This particular Cayman’s story begins with that original Porsche Boxster, or 986 that arrived for 1997. It delighted our drivers with its nimble maneuvers; offering better balance than any rear-engine Porsche ever did. And this was in a soft-top roadster.
It took Porsche 9-years to offer a true hardtop version, but the Cayman was well worth the wait; being an absolute ball to drive, with performance that closely shadowed the 911, but with the stripped down performance car attitude of the Boxster.
This GT4, is of course the highest performance version of the chassis yet.
And it’s such a clean and gorgeous design; looking more like a 911 than the actual 911, or exactly what you want a Porsche to look like. It sits more than an inch lower than a standard Cayman; and aero add-ons such as diffuser and fixed rear wing apply 50% more downforce, without upping drag.
Likewise inside the alcantara-clad interior, everything is simplified and purposeful.
There are no controls on the Sport steering wheel. There are carbon fiber bucket seats with minimal adjustments, and fabric pulls for opening the doors.
Underneath, the front axle’s suspension comes straight from the 911 GT3, while the rear gets a unique setup; all allowing for a lot more adjustments than in the standard Cayman.
It’s not exactly a handful on the street, but it can be a little uncomfortable at times. The stiff suspension, consistent with the rather hard seats. But, when you get to the track, it all makes sense.
Even without PDK launch control, launching is relatively easy with just a minor slip of the clutch and off you go, hitting 60 in a quick 4.0-seconds flat.
The firm clutch, and solid mechanical feel of the shortened shifter, make gear changes a highly satisfying part of the 1/4–mile experience; completed in 12.3-seconds at 115 miles-per-hour. And did we mention how awesome this thing sounds?
Of course road course work is where it’s designed to excel, being the platform on which the GT4 Clubsport racecar is built.
So that called for a trip to one of our favorite venues, Summit Point Motorsports Park in Charlestown, West Virginia.
You don’t get big hits of power out of corners, so in that way, it’s sort of a momentum car; but the way it delivers power, predictable and linear, is a visceral joy to experience.
Around the very challenging Shenandoah Circuit we found balance superb. It has enough grip and composure to be thrown into corners quite aggressively; and while the rear end will break loose, it’s in an easily controlled and predictable manner, helping you rotate through the corner, not slide around it.
Those firm seats keep you locked in place and prevent even the slightest bit of sliding around inside too.
Like everything else about the car, steering is spot-on perfect in both feel and response. And if you can find a straight long enough, you can reach the top speed of 188 miles-per-hour.
At more routine speeds Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 16-City, 23-Highway, and 19-Combined; we averaged 18.6 MPG on Premium.
One more number. $100,550 is the GT4’s base price.
The 2020 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 may not be the fastest Porsche out there, but for many drivers that can’t possibly approach the limits of say a 911 GT3, the performance-focused GT4 is a much better fit; and maybe even a little more fun for all of us!
Engine: 4.0L 6-cylinder
Torque: 309 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 4.0 seconds
1/4 Mile: 12.3s @ 115 mph
EPA: 16 City / 23 Highway / 19 Combined