Porsche 718 Cayman GT4
MT. Image supplied

Car review: Driving the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 MT

We spent a few days with Porsche’s purist 718 Cayman GT4. You have to wonder why they don’t make ’em like this anymore.


Porsche 718 Cayman GT4
MT. Image supplied

The 718 Cayman GT4 is Porsche’s first entrant into the GT-family — that level of Porsche ownership reserved for the most enthusiastic and loyal customers.

The GT-family speaks a language with more focus, more purity and more involvement with the very essence of racing. The language here in particular is a far cry from the four-cylinder 718s in the range. The engine is a 4.0-litre, naturally aspirated flat six-cylinder coupled to a six-speed manual transmission.

309kW of power and 420Nm of torque is delivered to the rear wheels only. It revs to 8,000rpm and will sprint to 100km/h from standstill in four seconds and then run on to a top end of over 300km/h.

Have your purist ears perked up yet? Those numbers don’t tell half the story here. The GT4 is built in the same factory, by the same people who build the Porsche 911 GT3; GT3RS; GT2RS; the Le Mans-winning RSR-19 and even the Porsche Formula E race cars. Make no mistake, this is a serious car.

The Porsche that is built to be driven

Driving is entirely the point of the GT4’s existence.

It’s been built to give the driver maximum reward but it’s not a simple relationship. The GT4 gets better with each experience. At first, I found it slightly daunting having to manage the peak power at over 5,000rpm, the rear wheels showing their intent to snake about. The next outing was better and so was the next.

On the face of it, it may look quite similar in nature and engineering to the first-generation car. It is in fact, quite a lot more complex.

Let’s start with how it deals with the air. Downforce on the new car has increased by 50% from the first-gen car. You’ll note a wider front splitter designed to channel air more efficiently under the car to reduce lift at the front into the side ducts to keep the engine compartment cooler.

At the rear, there’s a large diffuser where the separated oval tailpipes sit, itself responsible for 30% of the downforce on the rear axle. Add that rear wing for more downforce, some 120kgs worth when calculated at speeds of 200km/h and more.

Let’s talk about the chassis now: the front and rear axles sport quite a few components from the GT3 bigger brother. There’s torque vectoring Porsche’s Active Suspension Management making it all work together for a flexible and balanced experience.

The wheels on my test car were semi-click Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2. The nature of these tyres means that they need to be warmed up before really getting onto the loud pedal. Cold semi-slicks can be quite scary, but when the tyres are warm, the grip of these tyres is simply staggering.

Put all of these together and the car is a marvel. It’s fluid and balanced, and as a driver, you feel everything. Every input has a direct output or result. With the engine directly behind you, you feel every bit of weight transfer, every bit of the chassis flexing and yes, the sensations cannot be felt without that audible tune from that screaming 4.0-litre. It’s a signature sound really and I never got tired of building those revs through every gear.

There are no driving modes. In fact, the only changes to the driving characteristics of the car are the exhaust note control button, the traction control buttons, a sportier chassis button and a throttle blip button. It’s a cool feature this, where the car will blip the throttle on every downshift making you seem much more capable than you are. Sounds great too.

Less is more on the Interior

It’s a GT Porsche. It must be optioned as you like because the character of the car is more about what’s behind and underneath you than the interior fanciness. But that’s to say you can’t appoint the car with some niceties.

There is Alcantara trim dotted around the cabin on the steering wheel and gear stick as focus points, but this can be replaced by leather if that’s your preference.

The standard sports seats are actually just right but you can option in full bucket seats. There are no regular door handles, but you get pull ropes instead in a bid to keep weight down.

Apple CarPlay is part of the infotainment set up should you choose to have infotainment – an option to remove this altogether is available on request as well. Once again to keep weight down. And if you’re that serious, the Club Sport package bolts in a roll cage with a driver’s six-point seat belt and a fire extinguisher.

2021 Changes – PDK makes an entrance

It was reported last week that 2021 model-year cars are available to order with a PDK, dual clutch automatic transmission. These PDK GT4 will be faster to 100km/h and easier to live with in terms of daily run arounds and driving in traffic etc.

Also new on the 2021 cars is a striking python green colour and the option of more all-weather tyre choices if those semi-slicks are just too much for you. The Alcantara seats are also replaced Race-Tex upholstered seats in the 2021 cars, a microfibre material that is said to be 80% more sustainable.

The Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 is as visceral and analogue as they come. In a world of increasing focus on digital interference, quieter and more watered down machines, the GT4 is perhaps one of the last of its breed and you have admire it as such.

I still can’t think of a car that will give you this level of involvement and stimulation at this price.


  • 3995cc, Flat-Six Cylinder, RWD, 309kW, 420Nm, 6 MT
  • 10.9l/100km(Combined), 249g/km
  • 0-100km/h: 4.4 secs
  • Top Speed: 304km/h
  • 1420kg