The Porsche Cayman has been getting steadily better since its inception, and the new 380bhp Cayman GT4 should be the best yet
Matt Prior
13 February 2015

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.

The Cayman GT4, which will be officially unveiled at the Geneva motor show next month, will be the first Cayman to get more power than a new 911

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.

I imagine there will be no such concerns this time around. If you’re thinking about buying a 911 Carrera, the fact that there is a more powerful Cayman out there for less money is less likely to be factor when the Cayman in question sits 30mm lower than standard, on 911 GT3 suspension, and has bucket seats from the 918 Spyder hypercar. 

It should be, in other words, extremely raw, and not like an entry-level 911 at all. This 991-generation Carrera has been nudged a little more towards the grand touring spectrum than ever, and my suspicion is that the GT4 will therefore not affect 911 Carrera sales one iota.

The only question now is whether the GT4 is good enough to alter the course of the 911 GT3. Or, more pertinent, given that the GT3 can only be had with a dual-clutch automatic gearbox and the GT4 is manual only, whether it already has.

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Comments
3

13 February 2015
...there must be Ruf-like companies putting more power and better chassis setups into Caymans? If they exist, I've never read about them. Seems like a no-brainer.

19 February 2015
People who use the phrase No-Brainer usually do not think things through and therefor do not realise how foolish they sound.
Porsche are not like tuning companies they do things properly and power/chassis boosts are best left to the Max Power types.
Those of us who use our brains realise the parent companies the tuners modify cars from are always 1 step ahead.

20 February 2015
I live in Canada and have inquired of 3 dealers and the allocation is already sold out,you cannot even put a deposit on one! I agree it looks superb and is arguably the better handler than a 911.The $50000 less price than a GT3 is also attractive.
However there is another problem I discovered .I drove a Cayman S PDK at one dealer and was blown away as to how good it is,and I hope at some time they fit the PDK as then it will be very good indeed for the price.GT3's are all sold out in Canada and if one is available it is $10-20K over list!.Porsche really knows how to make people want their cars,by restricting the supply!
I have owned an AMG and an RS Audi and good as those are I think Porsche is a step ahead.

Madmac

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