DRIVEN: Porsche Cayman GT4 RS is a wild, uncompromising sports coupé

Published Sep 2, 2022


Cape Town – The hairs on the back of my neck are standing on edge, and something otherworldly is going on here, but not of the kind you see in horror films.

Faced with a practically deserted stretch of tarmac between Villiersdorp and Hermanus in the Western Cape, the flattened right pedal of the new Porsche Cayman GT4 RS suddenly thinks it’s a machine gun trigger.

The beastly shriek that permeates the cabin as the rev needle approaches the 9 000rpm mark is a sensory experience that’s hard to describe in mere words, but one that will remain etched on your soul.

Porsche has often been accused of being too conservative with the engine choices provided to 718 Cayman customers, possibly to avoid cannibalising the 911, which is understandable.

But with the new GT4 RS, someone in Stuttgart has gone on a rebellious rampage and the result is one of the most driver-focused vehicles the company has ever built.

Priced at R2 556 000, if you opt for the three-year Drive Plan, the first customer deliveries are expected to commence in early October.

Porsche describes the new Cayman GT4 RS as an uncompromising driver’s car with an extremely agile chassis set-up and unique soundtrack.

After spending a day with one in the Western Cape I’m not in a position to argue.

The Cayman GT4 RS is powered by the same 3995cc flat-six normally aspirated petrol engine that does service in the latest 911 GT3.

Producing 368kW at 8 400rpm and 450Nm at 6 750rpm, it not only revs almost a good 800rpm higher than the regular GT4, but it’s also more powerful to the tune of 59kW and 30Nm.

These ponies, as you’d expect, are unleashed to the rear wheels only through a close-ratio seven-speed dual-clutch PDK gearbox, which swaps cogs with great speed and precision.

Porsche says the GT4 RS will sprint from 0-100km/h in 3.4 seconds, at the coast of course, while the top speed is listed at 315km/h.

As I mentioned earlier, acceleration is a brutal and sonorous affair, particularly with the sportier modes activated, and the air intakes that replace the side windows behind the driver and passenger take this sound track to a whole new level.

But there’s a lot more to this road-going track toy.

Not only is the chassis significantly modified, which we’ll get to in a bit, but engineers went to great lengths to keep the kerb weight down to an impressive 1 415kg, which is a 35kg saving over the GT4.

The bonnet and front wings, for instance, are made from carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP), and Porsche has even cut back on interior insulation and installed lightweight carpets as well as strap door handles.

Sinking into the bucket seats with their tall bolsters is not the easiest process in the world, but once perched in place you feel supported and secure.

The cabin has all the basic comfort features that you’d expect, and it’s wonderfully old-school and analogue in its approach.

Think traditional buttons and instruments, with no big and fancy screens stretched across the dashboard. Just the way you want it in a car like this. Entertainment is provided by a small touchscreen that I honestly didn’t bother to play with given the other distractions that this car avails.

Best of all, you don’t need to dig through screen menus to change the Cayman’s driving characteristics.

Spread around below the gear lever on the console are physical buttons for activating the sportier engine, gearbox and chassis modes as well as the exhaust flaps, and the steering wheel has a chunky-feeling pair of aluminium flaps for changing gears manually when you’re in the mood.

So let’s start her up.

We’ve already established that the Cayman GT4 RS is unashamedly vocal – there’s an airbox in the cabin for crying out loud!

A serene driving experience is not something you’re going to find here, although it’s still possible to hold a conversation at normal highway speeds if the exhaust flaps are not activated.

The ride is firm but not bone-jarring by any means, and the racy suspension delivers a ride that’s tolerable on everyday surfaces.

Yet for other reasons, driving this car through city traffic for extended periods can get a bit tiresome.

For instance, the throttle can be a little jerky at low speeds, because when forced to deal with the urban grind the GT4 RS feels like a caged wild animal that’s anxious to break free.

The GT4 RS is purpose-built for track driving, although a relatively empty stretch of twisty asphalt, of which the Western Cape has in abundance, will do just fine for this Porsche.

Almost every inch of this car is dedicated to agility in one way or another.

For starters the car rides 30mm lower to the ground than the regular 718 Cayman, and the shock absorbers, springs and anti-roll bars have an RS-specific tuning. Porsche has also installed ball joints to bind the chassis more tightly to the body.

You could probably pen a whole novel about this car’s aerodynamics package. A particularly cool feature is the large CFRP rear wing with a swan neck attachment derived from the Porsche 911 RSR GT race car.

Its angle can be manually adjusted in three stages and, while we’re on that subject, the front diffuser can be moved through four stages via mechanical sliding elements.

All in all, the GT4 RS generates around 25% more downforce than the regular GT4, Porsche says.

The GT4 RS is fitted as standard with Michelin Pilot Cup 2 tyres, which will require a degree of caution in wet or slippery conditions, but thankfully the unpredictable Cape Town weather cleared up just in time for my drive.

Road holding is sublime to say the least. This is quite possibly one of the best-handling cars Porsche has ever built and as a result it is heaps of fun to steer through twisty sections.

With its extremely low centre of gravity, you feel at one with the road at all times and the steering seems to have a telepathic connection with the tarmac beneath the tyres.

Didn’t I tell you this car was otherworldly?

Of course, there are some enticing options available for those seeking an even more track-focused package.

The Clubsport Pack adds a half-cage behind the seats as well as a six-point harness for the driver and a fire extinguisher.

Tick the box for the Weissach Pack and you get forged magnesium wheels as well as a titanium exhaust system and various carbon fibre garnishes inside and out.


They say dynamite comes in small packages and that’s particularly true now that Porsche has finally given its smallest sports car the engine and dynamic package that it always deserved.

The 718 Cayman GT4 RS is easily one of the most engaging and uncompromising road-going driving machines that Porsche has ever built.

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