The Porsche Cayman GT4 is the best interpretation of the perfect driver’s car
The 2020 Porsche Cayman GT4 is the closest thing to automotive driving perfection you can buy right now. So if you can, please do.
If you are reading this review, you are either:
- A lover of all things automotive
- An interested Cayman GT4 buyer
- An interested Cayman buyer wondering if the GT4 is the right version
- A colleague checking to see if I’ve made any spelling mistakes
- A competitor
- Someone who works at Porsche.
For my colleague, I’ll try and keep it clean. If you’re a competitor, thanks for the page view. If you work at Porsche, thank you for lending the Cayman GT4. Now let’s focus on the first three potential readers.
For the enthusiast, the 2020 Porsche Cayman GT4 should be your new poster car. It’s not the fastest or the loudest thing on the road. But when it comes to pure driving feel, and connecting a car with its driver, there’s nothing like it. It’s not the flashiest sports car, but it attracts the right kind of attention. Meaning the people who will come and speak with you will know exactly what it is and how special it is which cuts down on the chit chat.
Now, if you are a potential buyer, the following is for you.
Priced at $114,900 in Canada and $100,200 in the US, the 2020 Porsche Cayman GT4 is the ultimate Cayman. At roughly $50,000 more than a base Cayman and with a dramatically different personality, it’s really its own car as a opposed to just a different trim. And it delivers a ton of value despite the base price, not only because it provides a remarkable driving experience that cannot be found in another vehicle, but also because GT4s are not prone to depreciation.
Powering the Cayman GT4 is a naturally-aspirated 4.0-litre flat-six, some would say a good old naturally-aspirated 4.0-litre flat-six. I’m one of those people that didn’t really see a problem with the 718 Cayman and Boxster getting a turbocharged four-cylinder in its base and S trims, but the GT4 needed to get back to the Cayman’s roots and this is the perfect engine for the car.
Developing a hearty 414 horsepower, it powers the Cayman GT4 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.4 seconds. That said, straight-line accelerations aren’t this car’s main event. This is a sports car made to shine at higher revs and this engine is one of the best at it. It is so smooth and linear, and there aren’t any blind spots in the power delivery. The more you go, the more power seems to come on.
And the sound is true Porsche. From the grunting cold starts to the raspy, mechanical music that plays as you near the red line, the sound couldn’t be more authentic sports car.
A six-speed manual is standard, a PDK dual-clutch automatic is optional. Both provide their own experience. My tester had a manual and that would be my choice. Once you get used to a fairly high friction point, there’s nothing like rowing through the short gear throws and having full control over this special powertrain.
The 2020 Cayman GT4’s powertrain is sublime, the sound is mesmerizing, and the six-speed manual performs flawlessly, but the steering feel is what brings the car to near engineering perfection. The Alcantara steering wheel is directly connected to your brain it would seem, making the car go exactly where you want it to go at the precise instant you want it go.
On the occasions I’ve been staring at a Porsche crest while driving on a track, I’ve always preferred a Cayman to a 911. The former is just a smidge easier to position and plainly more fun to pilot around corners at speed. The Porsche Cayman GT4 on a track would take that feeling to a whole other level. Just going around tight country road corners or swooping highway off-ramps, you can feel how planted, stable, connected, and poised the car is. That said, you can throw it around as well, knowing that a slight flicker of the right pedal and a small movement of the steering wheel will gracefully bring you back.
If you buy a Cayman GT4, you have to plan to use it on a track. This isn’t a car that you will use to take your wife to a fancy restaurant on Friday night, or use regularly to go to work. Not in Canada at least. Our roads are not GT4-friendly and the car’s stiff suspension paired with a very noisy interior will get old quickly.
Granted, I took the Cayman GT4 everywhere and I loved every minute of every drive, so maybe one’s passion can compensate for the harsh dynamics. But the point is, this is more of a race car than anything else, and you can’t switch to a more comfortable drive mode.
Which is why I would recommend the optional bucket seats (shown in image above). They are a pain to get in and out of, but they keep you in perfect position as you are racing around corners.
If you are worried about the bucket seats’ comfort, then I would recommend against the GT4. I would instead point you towards the Cayman GTS 4.0 which offers the same flat-six engine and impressive dynamics on its own, but with more comfort and usability.
To me, the Porsche Cayman GT4 is the car you leave in the garage on most days, take out on a drive to nowhere on weekends, put away in winter, and bring to a track once or twice a month. It’s a car you stop and stare at for a few minutes as you pass by it at the end of a Tuesday when you just got home, and a car you bring out the second spring shows up.
It’s a car that will give you something no other car in this price range can give you, but it won’t give you comfort, it’s not a car you really want to cruise around in and it’s too sporty to not fully exploit in the right setting.
If you know what you are getting, it is as special as you expect it to be. Even a little more. So, again, if you can, please do.