Find a car review

Make
Model

New 2019 Porsche Cayman GT4 review - it's a bit special

For a combination of pure driver appeal and value, the Cayman GT4 has no rivals. An instant modern classic, if ever there was one.

Evo rating
Price
from £75,348
  • Titanic engine, lovely steering, immense brakes, gearchange, looks, price
  • Second gear is a bit on the long side, otherwise not much.

Porsche admits the GT4 won’t make the company very much money. At £75,348 it’s not quite a loss-leader, but considering it contains most of a 911 GT3’s chassis and brakes, has a brand new and frankly brilliant atmospheric 4.0-litre engine at its heart and has 50 per cent more downforce than the previous Cayman GT4, it’s hardly surprising that, for Porsche, it is a heinously expensive car to produce. With a tiny profit margin to match.

Yet for the buying punter it appears to be an absolute bargain given the above. Crucially, it’s available for the time being only with a six-speed manual gearbox, although a PDK model will follow next year. Around the Nurburgring it is some 12 seconds quicker than the previous GT4 – and has set a lap time identical to that of the 997 GT3 RS 4.0-litre. On the road it is smoother riding and a touch more civilised than before, although it is still a rabid animal at heart. A “perfectly irrational” car in Porsche’s words. Enough said.

Subscribe to evo magazine

If you're passionate about the world's greatest performance cars, experience the thrill of driving with evo magazine. Try your first 5 issues for £5.

> Best performance cars to buy now

Engine, transmission and 0-60 time

The GT4 is powered by a 4.0-litre atmospheric flat six that produces 414bhp and has an ear-splitting red line of 8000rpm. Maximum torque of 420Nm is actually the same as before but is developed over a much broader rev range between 5000-6800rpm. The engine is a development of the new 992’s 3.0-litre flat-six turbo but has been bored out to be 1.0-litre bigger, and had the turbos removed. Despite the similarities in size and in both bore and stroke measurements, it has nothing to do with the engine from a GT3.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

The gearbox is a six-speed manual with unusually long ratios in first and second; the GT4 will do 85mph in second gear. The ‘box features a switchable auto blip function on downshifts that works a treat in practice. The gear lever itself is also shorter than before for more precise movements, while at the back there’s a mechanical limited slip diff. 

The new GT4 weighs a touch more than of old, Porsche admits through gritted teeth, the kerb-weight having risen by around 35kg to 1495kg due mainly to the fitment of new particulate filters in the huge new rear silencer. These will however allow it to be emissions friendly for many years to come. Even so, the latest GT4 can hit 62mph in 4.4sec (the same as the old car) but gets to 124mph (200kmh) one second faster than before. Top speed has risen from 180mph to 188mph.

Technical highlights

At the heart of the GT4 is its 4-litre flat-six engine, we know that. But it’s on the aerodynamic and chassis fronts that it has taken its biggest strides forward. Downforce is up by 50 per cent compared with the old car thanks to a combination of a huge rear wing, a proper underbody diffuser and a more aggressive front splitter. At its 188mph top speed the new GT4 generates 122kg of downforce, says Porsche, which is impressive given how relatively unadorned of winglets and slats it is, massive rear spoiler aside.

The chassis is essentially a mid-engined version of the latest GT3’s, so is arguably a less compromised version of the GT3. There is no hydraulic trickery present, and unlike the GT3 there is no rear wheel-steering system either. In this respect the GT4 is even more purist in its approach beside the GT3, although both cars share a near identical braking system, with vast steel rotors at each corner that Porsche admits are “probably a bit too big for the GT4.” Optional carbon ceramic discs are available for an extra £5597.

The really clever stuff occurs beneath the car, which features a serious-looking diffuser that adds an extra 30% of downforce all on its own. At the rear there is a conventional mechanical limited slip diff and the tyres are bespoke, and yet softer still, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s.

What’s it like to drive?

Bloody epic, quite frankly. The old GT4 wasn’t exactly lacking in purist appeal, but this new version goes to another level – both subjectively and objectively, ie against the stopwatch or around a track.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The new engine might be related in kind to a 992’s but in practice it feels every inch a proper Porsche GT engine. Throttle response is very strong at anything above 4500rpm, and you can feel the extra torque below this, even if second gear is a bit long, making it feel a tiny bit hesitant at, say, 45mph in cog two. The secret is to keep the crank rotating above 5000rpm at all times, although the true magnificence is reserved only for the last 2000rpm, at which point the GT4 feels – and sounds – rabid.

The gearbox is a highlight, too, especially the new auto-blip function on downshifts. Never before has not heeling and toing been so pleasurable, and yet you still have the joy and connection to a proper, short-shifting manual gearbox at the same time, plus you can switch the auto blip off if you are partial to a pair of genuine leather driving gloves.

As for the chassis, steering, brakes and body control in general, it’s hard to know where to start. Or, more to the point, when to stop with the tidal wave of praise. The GT4 is that rarest of cars that manages to combine true feel, true interaction and, therefore, huge emotional connection while at the same time providing immense objective capability. In other words, it feels massively exciting and massively fast, and it is. And the soundtrack it generates, and which accompanies your every move above 5000rpm, is enough to bring a very slight tear to your eye on occasions. In short, it’s really rather good.

Price and rivals

The GT4’s asking price of £75, 348 puts it in a league of one amongst mid-engined cars at this level, and that’s before you so much as mention the fact that it is 100 per cent epic to drive. A Jaguar F Type SVR costs more money and doesn’t get a look in overall beside the GT4. A McLaren 570S costs twice as much money yet, pound for pound, might well struggle to level with a GT4 overall. An amazing car at an amazing price, and one that is entirely without rivals at this moment in time.

Advertisement

Have You Considered

Visit/mclaren/201626/next-mclaren-ultimate-series-car-revealed-to-be-open-top-speedster-model
McLaren

Next McLaren Ultimate Series car revealed to be open-top speedster model

16 Aug 2019
Visit/mercedes/201625/2020-mercedes-amg-e53-coupe-spied-with-mid-cycle-updates
Mercedes

2020 Mercedes-AMG E53 Coupe spied with mid-cycle updates

16 Aug 2019
Visit/ford/fiesta/st
Ford Fiesta ST hatchback

Ford Fiesta ST review

15 Aug 2019
Visit/volkswagen/golf/r
Volkswagen Golf R hatchback

New Volkswagen Golf R 2019 review

15 Aug 2019

Most Popular

Visit/news/22986/abt-audi-rs5-r-sportback-revealed-alongside-788bhp-abt-powered-boat
News

Abt Audi RS5-R Sportback revealed

Not only has the German tuner fettled the Audi RS5 Sportback, it’s also turned its attention to watercraft
9 Aug 2019
Visit/features/22971/mercedes-amg-c63-s-vs-alfa-romeo-giulia-quadrifoglio-super-saloons-go-head-to-head
Reviews

Mercedes-AMG C63 S vs Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio - super saloons go head-to-head

We pit the Mercedes-AMG C63 S against Alfa Romeo's Giulia Quadrifoglio to find out which is best
9 Aug 2019
Visit/buying-advice/19675/used-car-deals-of-the-week
Features

Best used cars for sale this week

We’ve delved into the classifieds and chosen our favourite cars for sale this week
7 Aug 2019
Visit/features/22907/hyundai-i30-fastback-n-versus-the-col-de-turini
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Col de Turini

We take the Hyundai i30 Fastback N up the Col de Turini, a 31km stage of the Monte Carlo World Rally Championship
19 Jul 2019