Road testing the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4: a stunning stripped out sports car


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The Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 is an unapologetic, back to basics, no-nonsense sports car – and all the better for it.

First launched in 2015, the original Cayman GT4 quickly became a firm favourite among Porsche fans. In an era where automatic gearboxes and computer trickery increasingly remove the driver from the driving experience, here was a car that took everything back to basics.

There was no automatic option, just a six-speed manual, and it even had fabric strips in place of interior door handles.

The new version of the 718 Cayman GT4 doesn’t hide its light under a bushel. Big air intakes at the front and a huge rear spoiler announce its intentions. It’s a car that will turn heads wherever it goes.

The new model replaces the old 3.8 litre six cylinder engine with a new 4.0 litre unit. Power output is 420hp and goes through the rear wheels. This isn’t as much as some sports cars but the lightweight nature of the 718 Cayman GT4 means it is seriously rapid.

Fast and furious

Zero to 62mph is dispatched in 3.9 seconds and if you’re crazy enough you can keep on going until the speedo reads 188mph.

Being a mid-engined car, the powertrain is located behind the driver’s seat to help obtain that perfect 50-50 weight balance a true sports car should have.

I spent a day in Yorkshire catching up with the Porsche range and my drive in the 718 Cayman GT4 was one of the highlights of the day.

Snicking the gearbox into first and then second and easing out of our country hotel’s drive and down a rural lane gave me a real sense of anticipation.

That straight six engine makes a pent-up rumble at low speeds then erupts into a frenzied yowl when you open up the throttle.

The acceleration pinned me back in my seat as I roared forwards. There’s no turbo on the six cylinder engine which means there’s no lag, just instantaneous power delivery. What’s more, the engine will rev all the way to 8,000rpm before it reaches the red line.

You would need a race track to fully explore the car’s capabilities – and indeed most 718 Cayman GTS owners do buy their cars with track days in mind . I certainly wasn’t going to risk my licence looking for its limits, not even on deserted roads over the Yorkshire Moors.

On the road

Suffice to say it will offer all the thrills you could want and more. It roars ferociously off the starting line. Powerful brakes scrub off speed in an instant, and it remains perfectly flat and poised through the corners.

You can now buy a 718 with an automatic gearbox but I drove the manual version and working through the gears is a vital part of the driving experience.

Inside, there’s none of the touchscreen malarkey you’ll find in the latest Porsche Cayenne and 911. Instead there are old school buttons and dials which are easy to use and feel robust.

With 275 litres of boot space at the rear and an extra 130 litres under the bonnet the little Porsche is more practical than you might think.

As is often the case with Porsche, there’s no upper limit to how much you can spend on a 718 Cayman GT4. The base price of my test car was £80,500 but by the time options had been totted up that had risen to more than £97,000.

Unlike some rivals, however, Porsche’s engineering has a reputation for being bulletproof and the GT4 should offer reasonable running costs (by the standards of performance sports cars).

When it comes to old fashioned excitement and fun, the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 is hard to beat. A great engine and a perfectly poised chassis make a thrilling combination.

With the drive towards electrification this might be one of the last of a dying breed of sports cars.

Facts:

Price: £80,500

0-62mph: 3.9 seconds

Top speed: 188mph

Economy: 25.9mpg

CO2 emissions: 249g/km

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Lifestyle – The Courier Dundee