What more can be said about the Porsche Cayman GT4 that hasn’t been said already about the Cayman S and GTS? Take the best sports car under $100k, give it more power, grip and aero, keep it under $100k still, and it keeps the title. And of course, one of the best overall sports cars period. Mid-engine, light weight, powerful and Porsche quality adds up to a near perfect package.
This 2016 GT4 is a gorgeous Sapphire Blue on 20” thin spoke wheels showing lots of big brakes and red calipers. The 20” wheels allow and dictate great body curves with an aggressive but not overly obtrusive wing. Porsche Carbon Ceramic Brakes, also known as PCCBs were not chosen due to the cost of the option and replacement cost if the car is tracked regularly.
This GT4 will likely be tracked at least once, and always driven with passion. The owner knows Porsches and previous cars he’s owned being a 996 GT3 and 997 GT3 RS 3.8 with lap times at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca of 1:37.7 and 1:36.369 respectively on Hoosier R6 DOTs. So rest assured this car will be driven as designed, and represented very well. Tidbit: The GT4’s front axle from the 911 GT3.
Typical Porsche quality and workmanship is featured throughout the cabin, even the pull straps in lieu of door handles are designed and installed with care and a smooth, bolt-action precision feel when opening the door from within; from a pull strap mechanism, no less! The deep, one-piece carbon fiber backed lightweight sport buckets from the 918 Spyder are very comfortable once you get used to the fixed, upright backrest angle. However, they have an extremely wide range of height adjustment and plenty of leg room. One interior complaint is the parking brake switch, never knowing which direction activates it versus release, and the sound is noticeable. Sometimes leaving an intrusive manual lever is best.
The GT4 3.8 liter boxer 6 cylinder engine is from the Porsche 911, supposedly filling up the available space so that the PDK dual-clutch won’t fit, leaving only a manual, albeit with very tall gearing, one of the few complaints about the car. Rated at 385hp, Car & Driver magazine tested it in the ¼ mile in 12.3 seconds at 117mph; roughly the same as the new Corvette manual. This is easily a high 11-second car if it had the PDK transmission, especially with more aggressive ratios. The EPA rating isn’t exceptional 18 city and 23 highway. Do you care about that in a high performance car? The curb weight is only 3,050 pounds!
The owner reports the brakes are extreme, the massive rotors along with the 245-front, 295-rear Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s mounted on 8.5” and 11” wheels had a 70mph-0 braking distance of 151 feet which is exceptional. Understeer has been reported by the magazines but keyboard warriors probably don’t know an aggressive, track-oriented alignment could change that. From a lapping perspective, Randy Pobst, clocked a 1:37.43 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. This is quicker than the new Corvette and any other sub-500hp car except of course, a 997 Porsche 911 GT3 RS 3.8 liter. Motor Trend used to have a summary of their excellent “Laguna Lap” reference, but now Fastestlaps.com is keeping track for therm.
The sport exhaust has a great tone, very sporty yet not overly obtrusive nor obnoxious. It fits its size, power and intent. Especially with the auto rev-match downshifting which makes anyone sound like a pro. The Cayman GT4 is easily a daily driver or a track star with a purity that is quickly going away: Normally aspirated, light weight, rear wheel drive, no hybrid assist, manual transmission yet still livable and practical enough despite the mid-engine layout with impressive performance. Does it really get any better?