Auto123 reviews the 2020 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4.
A few times during the year, it happens that at the end of our test week we find it almost painful to return a vehicle. In 2020, the GT4 was the hardest car for us to part with, simply because I had so much fun behind the wheel. This model is built for those who love to drive. Porsche didn't make many mistakes in putting together the right ingredients to make it a desirable sports car.
It starts with the engine
Many criticized, with reason, the arrival of the 4 cylinders that broke the soul of this car. Porsche itself has owned up to making a mistake in this respect. So this year we find in the GT4 a 4.0L H-shaped 6-cylinder that delivers 414 hp without the help of turbos or supercharging. The redline arrives at just 8,000 RPM and you get the musicality you loved so much, and a little more for good measure. You get a solid 6-speed manual transmission to accompany this engine with the autoblip feature that does a great heel-toe imitation when downshifting.
It's not the same 4.0L engine as the 911 GT3, but it has a lot of character. Add to that 309 lb-ft of torque and you have a machine capable of getting you from a stop to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds. But it's not in a straight line that you'll have the most fun in it. You have to find a small winding road to appreciate all the subtleties of driving the GT4.
A racing structure
Few cars have given me this feeling of being an extension of myself. The McLaren 675 LT is part of this short list, along with the Ferrari 450 Stradale I had the opportunity to drive on the Mont Tremblant circuit ... and this GT4. Compared to the regular 718 Cayman, which already offers an excellent chassis, this GT4 is fitted with the front and rear drivetrains of a 911 GT3, its chassis is even stiffer and the driving height is lowered by one inch.
You can change the body configuration settings and adjust the tension of the anti-roll bar. You have a large rear diffuser that keeps the car flat on the ground and our test model had carbon-ceramic brakes, an option that cost just over $9,000.
To say that this car is stable is an understatement. It feels like it's guessing the road ahead because it reacts so fast. Add to all this equipment Michelin Sport Cup 2 tires of 245/35ZR20 in front and 295/30ZR20 in back and it's impossible not to feel something – OK, a lot - behind the wheel.
The only constructive criticism has to do with the manual gearbox that offers gears that are long - too long - for many drivers’ taste. That's fine if you're on a German road, but in Canada with our low speed limits, you're already over 130 km/h at the end of the 2nd gear. It becomes dangerous for your driver's license to make the engine sing further than 3rd gear. But the fact is, this car was not designed for Canada. You have to live with it.
An unadorned interior
Comfort is not at the top of this Cayman GT4's list of priorities. Our tester came with carbon-fibre seats that cost just over $6,700. While these seats are ideal for a day at the track, we recommend the more comfortable leather seats for everyday driving. The interior is dressed in Alcantara.
The 7-inch centre screen runs the old version of Porsche's communication management software with Apple CarPlay included, and the navigation system costs just over $2,600. Driving enthusiasts will be happy to know that there aren't many drive assistance systems in place to ruin the fun. The only touch of colour in the cabin came from the contrasting yellow stitching, which adds $1,700 to the price of your GT4.
This 2020 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 is magic, nothing less. One of the most pleasant Porsches I've ever driven. The size, balance, power and handling have few equivalents in the automotive world. Porsche, faithful to its habits, didn’t do things halfway with this model.
Know, however, that the base price of the GT4, set at $113,000, quickly becomes a distant memory as you pile up the options from the available list. Our test model with carbon-ceramic brakes, carbon-fibre seats, LED lights and navigation system finished its climb at $148,000. It thus takes a strong dose of motivation to opt for this model, because on top of that the GT4 is less comfortable than the regular models.
Here’s the motivation, though: in terms of driving sensations, you'll be in paradise. If you want a little more comfort, look for a GTS version that offers the same engine without the more-radical drive.
Exceptional mechanical musicality
Very solid frame
We like less
No Android system
Uncomfortable carbon-fibre seats