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Porsche Cayman GT4 RS First Drive: Straight from the Heart

GT3-derived flat-six in a mid-engine layout – could this be the most enjoyable RS Porsche yet?
Joel Foo
Joel Foo
08 Jun 2023
In the words of Andreas Preuninger, the boss of all things "RS" at Porsche, the Cayman GT4 RS is a “live concert on 4 wheels – it is such an entertainer… and something that came from our hearts, something that we wanted to do for a long time”.

The Porsche Cayman GT4 RS has left an indelible mark on me. Well quite literally – as the lens of the camera that was held by our photographer (who was riding shotgun at the point in time), Darren, bashed into the case of my watch as we sharply negotiated one of the back-to-back hairpin bends of Porsche’s planned handling course in Changi Exhibition Centre.

Any horologist would be quite aghast at the gash left on the side of a case of this particular stainless steel timepiece, but to me, it is more than just “patina” and serves as a good reminder of the emotions and excitement that the GT4 RS managed to conjure during that our session with it.

And this was exactly what Porsche’s GT department intended when the development of the GT4 RS commenced. In the words of Andreas Preuninger, the boss of all things "RS" at Porsche, the Cayman GT4 RS is a “live concert on 4 wheels – it is such an entertainer… and something that came from our hearts, something that we wanted to do for a long time”.

Given that it has taken 3 iterations for an ‘RS’ badge to be stamped on the Cayman, it seems like much persuasion must have been thrown at Porsche’s board to give the green light for the development of the GT4 RS.

From a logical perspective, this theory is plausible. Going purely by the laws of physics, by shoehorning the GT3’s 4.0 flat-six into the Cayman’s more balanced, mid engine chassis, the eventual product could have turned out to be a 911 beater. But it is rated at 493 bhp, which is 79 bhp more than the Cayman GT4 but also 10 bhp less than the GT3.

If this was meant to be a swan song for the Cayman before the rumoured advent of the 718 EV in 2025, one would have expected Porsche to go all out. But if you were to think of this car as a hybrid between being an ultimate track weapon and one that could be savoured on a twisty B-road (i.e. raw power not being the be all and end all), it all starts to make sense.

Stepping into the GT4 RS after our 2 laps in a (rear-engined) 911 Carrera GTS, there was really not much else to prepare ourselves for the sheer speed at which the Cayman could approach corners with.

Hearing that glorious flat-six engine as you brake and let its 7-speed PDK gearbox automatically blip its throttle on the downshift in preparation for entering a bend sends shivers down your spine, especially when you know that block is sitting almost immediately behind you.

And as you negotiate the corner itself, what is bewildering is not just the amount of grip the GT4 RS is able to extract from those Michelin Cup 2 tyres, but also how far the limits of physics seem to apply to this Cayman. Coming from a whole range of 911s and even a Taycan, it seemed as though understeer was almost absent, and was as if the Cayman cornered on rails.

This is probably where the Cayman’s mid-engined “balance” really comes to the fore – being able to carry significantly more speed (or at least the sensation of it) into and out of bends is really what makes a lot of us (look and) feel like Aryton Senna dancing his Formula 1 car around Silverstone on a wet day.

Being a GT product, it has its spring rates and dampers set up firmly, which some say is similar if not exactly the same as a 991 911 GT2 RS. This works extremely well for the track, but I can’t imagine this being too kind on the road for the daily drive – we’ll hold that till a more comprehensive road test is conducted.

On the outside, the Cayman GT4 RS screams ‘aggression’ – just in case you hadn’t noticed. It sits low to the ground, and with that large manually-adjustable swan neck spoiler and low riding front splitter – which is also adjustable if you ever needed your Cayman to be ‘just so’ – it couldn’t be more obvious that this Cayman means business.

And if this wasn’t enough, the GT4 RS could be had with the optional Weissach package, which our left-handed drive test car incidentally came with. With this, you get extra carbon fibre bits, an interior doused with Porsche’s Race-Tex upholstery, a titanium roll cage and exhaust system – just to name a few juicier items.

Out of all these, the stand-out for me was not its wing or carbon weave, but its engine’s rear air-intake, which is a neatly placed scoop that replaces its rear window. It feeds air into its huge, customised air box that peeks out from its rear parcel shelf, and is beautifully bathed in carbon fibre.

I guess there are a variety of reasons why one would choose to get a Cayman GT4 RS, and for those looking for that raw, visceral experience, coupled with an oh-so-satisfying sensation that comes with being able to slice through corners precisely, all whilst being on the edge, I can genuinely understand why.

Some say that every scar has a story – and that scratch on my timepiece was one that was more than worth getting, and one that I can unabashedly share that harks back to memories of the sensations experienced whilst in the cockpit of the GT4 RS.

Put simply, if pure driving pleasure and outright fun is your priority, this is the Porsche to get.

Photos by New Gen Marketing, Porsche


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