Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS review: The most hardcore Cayman yet

    With a total power output of 500hp, the GT4 is a pure-bred race car that deserves track time.

    Published on Mar 02, 2023 08:00:00 AM

    22,310 Views

    Make : Porsche
    Model : 718
    We Like
    • Explosive performance
    • Razor-sharp handling
    We Don't Like
    • Too firm for everyday use
    • Pricey optional extras

    Driving the 718 Cayman GT4 RS out on the road is a bit like carrying a licenced gun around. It is legal, but there is a hint of nervousness clouding over you at all times. It is a road car adapted for track use that puts out 500hp via the rear wheels, gets all the aero help a car can get and, with a redline of 9,000rpm for the naturally aspirated engine, a soundtrack to die for. The perfect recipe then? Or is it too good to be true?

    Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS: exterior design

    In terms of design, the RS is a no-nonsense track car with the primary intention of going fast. Hence, the aero plays a huge role. It has the bulbous fenders true to a Porsche, but they are carbon fibre and have ducts that help relieve pressure from the wheel well. The bonnet, too, is carbon fibre, which on the Weissach pack is in an exposed guise, and gets two NACA ducts for airflow that help cool the brakes.

    Aerodynamics play a big role in the 718 Cayman GT4 RS, making it a no-nonsense track car.

    The front splitter can be manually adjusted for two settings and has winglets that channel air around the car. And in true RS fashion, the Porsche crest on the bonnet is a sticker and not an actual badge. Over to the side, as standard, the GT4 RS gets 20-inch forged aluminium wheels with Michelin PilotSport Cup 2 tyres, but on the Weissach pack, you get the option of magnesium wheels (Rs 30 lakh) that help shed 10kg overall.

    The Weissach pack grants you the optional magnesium wheels that help shed 10kg overall.

    There is more aero in the form of air ducts behind the doors, which incidentally, are prone to collect debris from the road. Up top, the Weissach pack also gets you carbon scoops for the air intakes that are directly connected to the airbox of the mid-mounted engine. At the rear, the highlight is the carbon-fibre swan-neck spoiler, which is also adjustable, and responsible for 25 percent more downforce.

    The swan-neck carbon-fibre rear spoiler offers 25 percent of additional downforce.

    Low down, there is a diffuser for more aero, and another Weissach exclusive are titanium tips for the exhaust. The options list on the GT4 RS, like every Porsche, is extensive and, to many of us, extremely expensive as well. The Shark Blue paint on the car seen here is a Rs 6.8 lakh option, and you can go pretty berserk speccing the car up on the Porsche configurator on the official website.

    Porsche 718 cayman GT4 RS: interior, features

    The Weissach pack also contributes on the inside with lots of Race-Tex or Alcantara on the top of the dashboard. Shaving weight is critical, hence there is extensive use of carbon fibre. The bucket seats are one-piece carbon fibre with manual adjust for legroom and electric adjust for height. There is also a six-point harness as an option on the Weissach pack, along with a standard three-point seatbelt for track use and fire extinguishers (Rs 70,000 option) under the passenger seat, although it is a bit intrusive and eats into leg space of the passenger.

    One-piece carbon fibre bucket seats functional but not comfortable.

    In terms of layout, it is a simple one with the centre console consisting of all the switchgear and a touchscreen that gets Apple CarPlay. It isn’t the most modern unit, something that shows as soon as you engage the low-resolution reversing camera. Still, the availability of physical switches instead of a smudgy glass panel is a plus. The driver’s cockpit is rather simple too with a chunky Race Tex-wrapped steering wheel that features only a yellow centre band and no media controls in the interest of minimising distractions.

    You can add more drama by opening the exhaust valves.

    A big tachometer in the centre with a speedo on the left and a colour MID on the right completes the instrument binnacle. As part of the Weissach pack, there is also a lighter titanium roll cage sandwiched between the driver and the engine. Of course, should you want to, you can spec up the interiors too with options like a Rs 2.4 lakh BOSE audio system, although it will be sinister to listen to anything else given how the GT4 RS sounds. In terms of practicality, there is a frunk and a trunk, both of which are good enough for soft bags and can pack in only the absolute essentials.

    Porsche 718 cayman GT4 RS: engine, performance

    The star on the GT4 RS, undoubtedly, is the engine. A 500hp, 4.0-litre flat-six naturally aspirated petrol engine shared with the 911 GT3. Yes, on the GT3 it makes 510hp, but for the GT4 RS, Porsche has flipped the engine 180 degrees and adjusted the space around the gearbox housing and exhaust manifold, thus increasing some exhaust back pressure leading to the 10hp loss. However, it is lighter than a GT3 at 1,415 kg and has a better power to weight ratio, which makes up for the power loss.

    The 4.0-litre, NA, flat-six engine with 500hp is shared with the 911 GT3.

    Mated to a 7-speed PDK gearbox, the GT4 RS is, of course, equipped with ‘launch control’ that catapults it from 0-100kph in 3.4 secs, and tops out at a supercar-rivalling 315kph. However, more than the numbers, it is the sensation from behind the wheel that is most impressive, along with the primal screams of the engine that redlines at 9,000rpm. As you would expect of a naturally aspirated engine, power delivery is immediate and it has a strong pull throughout the rev range with no lag or flat spots whatsoever. What also compliments the performance is the superfast PDK. Sure, it might not have the charm of the 6-speed manual from the 718 Spyder, but for a race car, it is just perfect.

    With launch control, the 718 Cayman GT4 RS can go from 0-100kph in 3.4 seconds.

    Compared to the Spyder Hormazd drove, the gearing on the RS is shorter and that means you can eke out a bit more from the engine, and hear a lot more of that high-pitched symphony. There is also a Sport mode for the PDK in case you want even quicker and vicious shifts, although it’s best reserved for hardcore laps around the track. That said, to up the driver engagement, you can choose to use the paddle shifters that are superbly responsive, or the drive selector that is inspired by the 911 GT3. Slot it in manual mode and it will turn into a sequential gearbox that is incredibly quick.

    Feel and feedback from the electromechanical steering closely matches to that of a hyrdraulic unit.

    There are no drive modes on offer, but you can trust Porsche to set up the car for you with the most ideal settings. Show the GT4 RS some corners and you will immediately find out what the hype is about. The hugely communicative electromechanical steering is well calibrated and is the closest in terms of feel and feedback to a hydraulic unit. In corners, the nose darts in with every movement of the steering, but it also has just the right amount of wiggle room to make it a bit more natural, and is not hyper-accurate like on some supercars.

    The chassis is retuned, and it has superb balance and weight distribution from the mid-engined, RWD layout, all of which allows it to carve corners with surgical precision. Not surprising then that the RS is a full 23 seconds faster than the standard GT4 around the Nurburgring. Helping it further is a wider track for better stability, stiffened coil springs with RS-specific spring rates and retuned dampers. In its standard setting, the suspension is firm enough, but you can, at the press of a button, make it stiffer and shave off a couple of tenths out on the track.

    Nose lift function is a Rs 5.3 lakh optional extra.

    In the city though, it translates into a back-breaking ride and agony. The set-up is too firm for everyday use and unless you are on smooth asphalt, you will feel every bump and crack in the road. Pair that with the one-piece race seats that are unforgiving in terms of comfort and you would have to think long and hard before taking it out on a Sunday cruise around the city. The one button that helps its case in everyday driving is the nose lift. It is a Rs 5.3 lakh optional extra, but its necessity makes it mandatory for India. The front-axle lift system raises the car by 30mm, which might not sound like a lot, but is the difference between scraping and not scraping. However, there is no substitute for crab crawling over speed bumps as the rear end is quite low too.

    Get it past all that and onto a winding ribbon of tarmac, and there is little that can match the GT4’s prowess. The Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s grip the road like a firm handshake, the stiff suspension plants the car as firmly as possible and the engine makes sure it’s not there too long. The test car also had the Rs 16 lakh optional carbon ceramic brakes that anchor down the car with a strong bite. Sure they might seem like a pricey option, but they are a lot more effective and offer better longevity compared to steel discs.

    Porsche 718 cayman GT4 RS: price and verdict

    For all its merits, the GT4 RS comes at a cost – Rs 2.54 crore (ex-showroom, India). Add on the Weissach pack, nose-lift, carbon ceramic brakes and other options, and it won’t be long before you enter 911 territory. For that price, you need to be extremely serious and committed to what it is. A pure-bred race car that deserves track time. Sadly, the only race tracks that can bring out the true nature of the GT4 RS are the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) in the north and Madras Motor Race Track (MMRT) and Kari Motor Speedway in the south.

    If you live close to any of these or are willing to bear the cost of transport, then there are very few cars in the world that can offer you the level of performance the GT4 RS can. Porsche isn’t limiting production, but there is a waiting list that requires some serious pull to get on. However, if you can afford it, try and bag one, because the Caymans after this will have electrification meddling in. And while they might be quick, it’s safe to assume, they won’t feel anywhere near as electrifying as the RS.

    Also see:

    2023 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS video review

    Tech Specs

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