This is probably the one major dynamic improvement over the old car, which simply wasn’t this stable, and when the grip ran out, you needed to act very quickly indeed. The new car’s roadholding is exceptional, but when you exceed those limits it’s the relative lack of steering correction required that takes your breath away. Confidence? Doled out by the bucketload, and more so when the two-way adjustable dampers are left in their more relaxed – and expressive – setting. We're not sure any other mid-engined series-production car communicates grips level this well. Again, maybe a McLaren, but none of the others.
The GT4's steering is another highlight, not least because the ratio isn’t hair-trigger quick, as seems the modern way, and the assistance has actually been dialled back a touch. The car turns in to corners with predictable accuracy and a delightful stability matched by the rear axle. The weighting is also linear, and alongside it the entire structure of the car seems to speak to you. The added benefit of a more considered ratio for the steering is that you can more easily coax the GT4 in corners with some attitude; you have time to think and feel your way in.
And the new engine? Objectively speaking, it’s good. Powerful and finger-clicking crisp in its response at the top end but smooth with its torque delivery at lower engine speeds and muscular enough to help diminish the effects of unusually long gearing (Andreas Preuninger apparently likes second as a proper driving gear; we think 85mph at the red line is a bit much), which remains unchanged from the previous model. Those ratios are still an issue, in truth, but engineering a new gearbox costs rather a lot, and Porsche wants to keep the cost of the car well below €100,000. While we’re at it, the clutch itself has been strengthened, but the pedal action feels a little lighter and less involving. Meanwhile, the short throw is a delight, and the fact the crucial movement across from second to third requires concentration to nail is, for us, only a good thing. There's a new auto-blip function, too. It's excellent.
How does the Cayman GT4 stand up against its rivals?
The Cayman GT4 costs around £75,000. You can then add the carbon-ceramic brakes for £5597, carbonfibre bucket seats for £3788 and the Clubsport Pack – which includes a roll cage, a 2.5kg fire extinguisher and a six-point harness – for £2778.
We'd go without the awkward harnesses, but even at more than £85,000 the GT4 seems fine value for money. The chassis is phenomenally good, and the braking, gearshift and steering are also all out of the highest drawer. For a similarly engaging mid-engined experience on track, you need to look to the likes of the McLaren 600LT and Ferrari 488 Pista. Best of all is that the production run will go on until 2022, with Porsche aiming to satisfy all orders and put an end to rampant speculation.
But here are the caveats. Firstly, we’re yet to drive this car on the road, where its gearing may well prove too long and the chassis too good even for this potent new engine. In the world of track day Porsches, if the GT2 RS is the one whose chassis (and, frankly, everything else) is dominated by its engine and the GT3 is the one where the entire show is in perfect harmony, the GT4 feels as though it needs a fraction more power to unlock its ultimate potential as a thrilling road and track car. That might happen in the form of a GT4 RS, but most likely it won't. The Alpine A110 could yet be the more engaging car on the road, and at little over half the price of the GT4.
The engine also lacks some of the soul of the old 3.8-litre six, which was really only a power-kitted Carrera S engine. There's less induction roar and, with new particulate filters and noise regulations to meet, less of the gnashing exhaust blare, so the GT4 has lost its renegade attitude. In fact, it feels less raw across the board but is undoubtedly a more competent, quicker and clinical machine. What appeals more is going to come down to personal preference.