MARK WAUGH, Ralf Schumacher, Malcolm Young. In most families they’d be the success story, rightly held aloft as an example of the child that ‘did well’. Unfortunately for them, while immensely talented in their own right, they happen to have siblings named Steve, Michael and Angus who capture the lion’s share of the plaudits and adulation.
Porsche’s Cayman must know how they feel. One of the world’s finest they feel. One of the world’s finest sports cars by any measure since its 2005 introduction, it’s never quite managed to extract itself from the shadow of its rear-engined older brother, until now. The Cayman GT4 is the first mid-engined product from Porsche’s motorsport department and can finally put to rest the eternal question: what would the Cayman be like with a 911 engine in it?
The engine in question is a 3.8- litre unit lifted from the Carrera S producing 283kW/420Nm, which sends power to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox.
The result is 0-100km/h in 4.4sec, a 295km/h top speed and a howl to raise the hairs on the back of your neck. Massively long gearing – 130km/h in second! – blunts its edge somewhat and also limits the number of excuses to use the superb manual ’box, but the engine itself is fantastic, though without quite the top-end ferocity of the GT3.
But it’s not the highlight of the Cayman GT4. No, as ever, it’s the chassis that shines brightest, but the GT4 operates on such a higher plane compared to the rest of the Cayman range it almost deserves its own range it almost deserves its own model line. With the front-end lifted from the 911 GT3 combined with a bespoke rear-end setup, grip levels are staggering and yet it never feels glued to the road or inert.
The car is alive with feedback and the brakes worthy of particular mention. Another straight lift from the heavier GT3, they are tireless and combined with the manual’s auto-blip function allow you to dive deeper into corners than you ever thought possible.
Our first taste of the Cayman GT4 was limited to a handful of laps of Phillip Island, yet the ease with which it can be driven fast enough to challenge and reward means we have no hesitation in awarding it the perfect score as a track day machine.
Whether this talent will transfer to the road, we’ll find out in a future issue. M
Searing engine; unbelievable dynamics; brilliant brakes; price
Heavy clutch; long wait list; no road drive yet