The Porsche Cayman GT4 is everything you dreamed of
When I first read that Porsche was dropping a 3.8-litre 911 engine into the Cayman and creating a new model called the GT4, all my thoughts centred around speed. With 385 horsepower, GT3 suspension components, and the Cayman’s brilliant mid-engined chassis, it was always going to be a rocket on the road and racetrack. But the more time I spent with the GT4, the more I came to realize that its speed is actually the least impressive of its attributes. To say that about a car as fast as this is pretty remarkable – and an indication of just how amazing a car it really is.
It is, indeed, the feel that defines this car far more than the power delivery of the 3.8, which is immense in such a light car. While the 911 GT3 has moved towards the digital in search of pure speed, adopting paddle shifters, rear-wheel steering, and an electronic torque-vectoring differential, the GT4 is willfully analog, with just you, the wheel, and the pedals controlling what it does on the road.
What makes the GT4 so special is the magic that has been infused into all of those controls by Porsche’s GT-car department. It’s not just the fact that the steering is perfectly weighted, or that it delivers so much detail that you feel like your hands are caressing the surface of the road itself. Or the fact that the brakes, with massive six-piston front calipers and four-piston rears, deliver such immense stopping power with such an amazingly linear feel. Or that the the six-speed shifter slides through its tight gates with more precision and accuracy than I’ve experienced in any manual gearbox, ever. Or that the clutch is so perfectly weighted.
This is a brilliantly telepathic car to drive. Get it going on a good road, and you find your feet dancing on the pedals, your arms and wrists moving more fluidly and precisely than they’ve ever moved. For such an extreme car, with its big wing, big tires, aggressive front air dam, and low ride height, it rides remarkably well, shrugging off bumps in the road; for track use, you can stiffen up the suspension like you can in the GT3, but it feels so good in its regular mode that that function is almost superfluous. Turn-in is razor sharp, the throttle responds so sharply and precisely that you can adjust your cornering attitude by curling a little toe, and the braking is just awesome, full stop.