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PORSCHE 718 CAYMAN GT4 RS

PRIMAL SCREAM |

The Porsche name is synonymous with iconic sports cars, and we’ve had many of them pass through our hands over the years. Few, if any, have proved as visceral as the firebreathing 718 Cayman GT4 RS.

Created by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch in 1893, The Scream is one of the most iconic images in art history. In the painting, an agonised face can be seen releasing a primordial shriek that one can almost hear yowling at you from the canvas. It’s a metaphor for the anxiety of the human condition, one that will undoubtedly leave you quite stirred.

You may wonder how a painting relates to a sports car. Yet, The Scream is not just any painting, and the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS is not just any sports car. Both are masterpieces in their own right, each masterfully crafted by skilled professionals, and the experience of either will remain with you for a lifetime.

CALL TO GLORY

For some time, there have been murmurs in the Porsche fraternity, with some calling for Stuttgart to up the performance ante on the Cayman. Understandably Porsche has resisted these voices, likely to guard against denting the image of the 911 as the brand’s performance hero. 

With the introduction of the GT4 RS, Porsche has put paid to that idea, and delivered what is possibly their most driver-focused car yet. After spending a glorious day piloting one in the Western Cape recently, I have to admit that I have never had as much fun driving a car as this.

The Cayman GT4 RS draws its power from the same 4.0-litre flat-six ordinarily aspirated engine that drives the 911 GT3. With 368 kW and 450Nm available to be unleashed, the GT4 RS is the most powerful in Cayman history. It boasts a power boost of 59 kW and 30 Nm over the regular GT4, and reaches 800 rpm higher to achieve this feat.

With power directed to the rear wheels through Porsche’s lighting-quick seven-speed dual-clutch PDK gearbox, the surge in power will see the Cayman reach the 100 km/h mark from standstill in 3.4 seconds, carrying it through to an ultimate 315 km/h top speed. 

INFINITE SCREAM PASSING THROUGH NATURE

As you might expect, the statistics don’t tell the whole story of the GT4 RS. 

Like Mr Munch, who, when asked what inspired him to create his iconic painting, described how he heard an “infinite scream passing through nature” while out on a walk at sunset, the GT4 stimulates every sense while coaxing you to abandon all sensibility. 

By replacing the rear windows behind the driver and passenger with air intakes, Porsche has taken the GT4 RS soundtrack to a new level. The new air intakes improve both the intake airflow and, at the same time, create a thrilling intake noise right behind the driver and passenger. Activate the sportier driving modes, and any notion of a serene driving experience goes out the window. It is possible to hold a conversation when cruising, but why would you want to when the GT4 provides all the aural pleasure you could desire.

AGILITY ON STEROIDS

In typical RS style, lightweight construction is a defining element of the 718 Cayman GT4 RS design. Weighing in at only 1,415 kilograms, it is 35 kg lighter than a PDK-equipped 718 GT4. The extra bulk is shaved off using carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) for various components, including the bonnet and front wings, while lightweight carpets and reducing the amount of insulation material also save weight. The rear window is made of lightweight glass, and textile opening loops and nets on the storage compartments complete the quest to eliminate every superfluous gram.

With the weight off, it is left up to the chassis and aerodynamics package to take the GT4 RS driving experience to the chequered flag.

A distinctive element of the car’s exterior design is its new fixed rear wing with its swan-neck attachment and aluminium wing supports. This highly efficient wing debuted on the 911 RSR GT racing car before also appearing on the 911 GT3 production car. 

The swan-neck angle can be manually adjusted in three stages, while the car’s front diffuser can be moved through four via mechanical sliders. Together with the 30-mm-lower ride height (compared to the 718 Cayman), a new front spoiler lip with flow-around side blades, and aerodynamically optimised underbody panelling, the GT4 RS will generate up to 25% more downforce than the GT4 when set up in Performance mode (reserved for the track).

Modifications to the chassis also add to the fun. By using ball joints to tightly bind the chassis to the body, the RS delivers even more precise and direct handling. An RS-specific shock absorber set-up and modified spring and anti-roll bar rates bring the car up to circuit-ready status.

Although not fitted to our test car, the optional Weissach package takes the dynamic design of the GT4 RS even further by finishing the front luggage compartment lid, process air intakes, cooling air intakes, airbox cover, exterior mirror upper trims, and rear wing with a carbon-weave. 

The Weissach package also sports titanium tailpipes, a titanium roll cage at the rear, a dashboard upholstered in Race-Tex material and a large Porsche logo that is integrated into the rear window. 

CABIN FEVER

True to form, the GT4 RS cabin execution is an exercise in restrained minimalism. With just the right mix of analogue and digital controls, you can concentrate on the driving experience without being distracted. The bucket seats, while firm, are as comfortable and supportive as you would expect from a car capable of the mind-bending acceleration and handling as the GT4 RS.

Dynamic adjustments to the engine, gearbox, and chassis modes, as well as for the exhaust flaps, are made via physical switches positioned around the gear lever. If you feel an uncontrollable urge to change gears manually, this can be done via the pair of aluminium flaps behind the steering wheel.

LAST WORD

The 718 Cayman GT4 RS is the compact super sports car the Cayman should always have been. With its uncompromising agility, superb road-holding, and absolutely spectacular performance, it stands out as one of Stuttgart’s most desirable road-going track cars. 

Report by BERNIE HELLBERG JR | Images © PORSCHE AG

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