They’ve finally done it, then. After years of holding back the full potential of the Cayman, and tacitly admitting as much, Porsche’s management team have finally given the company’s engineers the nod to let the mid-engined sports car be all it can be.
At 380bhp, the GT4 is 35bhp more powerful than a ‘base’ 911 Carrera, hitherto territory that a Cayman has been disallowed to chart, in case it sailed across the path of Porsche’s larger, rear-engined car.
For more than half a century, Porsche has so carefully managed the physics of a car with an engine behind its rear axle that it has remained the finest sports car in production.For the past decade, meanwhile, it has carefully managed the output of the inherently better balanced Cayman, so that it doesn’t pinch sales from its larger, more profitable brother.
But this moment has, slowly, been coming. The 2011 Cayman R was the first Cayman to get a better power-to-weight ratio and torque-to-weight ratio than a 911. It was brilliant – so brilliant that we named it Britain’s Best Driver’s Car that year.
Even so, the R was more Cayman ‘Plus’ than Cayman ‘GT3’ in character – enhanced Cayman road car rather than cut-price, stripped-out racer. The only way you’d have been disappointed with that was if you expected it to be like one of Porsche’s motorsport-derived cars instead.
I wonder, though, whether ultimately that made the R more likely to trouble the minds of those who were wondering whether they’d like to buy a Porsche with the engine in the back or the middle. Yes, they were different, but both made fine everyday sports/GT cars.