As far as automotive bargains are concerned, it’s hard to top the Porsche Cayman. At $52,000 or so, it slots neatly between the Boxster and the 911; it offers the stature and poise of the former, with the driving dynamics of the latter. As you work your way up the Cayman line, each model fits perfectly — as only the Germans can manage — between comparable versions of the 911 and Boxster. However, the Cayman offers its own personality to Porsche’s lineup, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the Cayman GT4.
Designed to be driven from the showroom to the track before heading home, the GT4 shows just how good Porsche’s middle child can be. At about $85,000, it’s not a cheap proposition; however, it does pack 385 horsepower into a frame that it’s not terribly far off from being competition-ready.
“Not terribly far off” was apparently too far for Porsche engineers, however, because Porsche is following up the Cayman GT4 with the Cayman GT4 Clubsport — a go-extra-fast model built for homologation purposes. And it won’t be road-legal.
This is obviously a bad thing for Porschephiles — you won’t be able to simply drive to the track for a day of fun, it has to be brought there. But the silver lining is this: Porsche can do whatever it wants in order to make this car the most bonkers track toy that it can. It’s not held back by the mortal rules that we hold dear to keep us safe and out of harm. And Porsche knows how to party.
Porsche starts by pulling the 3.8-liter flat-six from the Carrera S, where it produces 420 horsepower. According to Automobile, Porsche also played with the chassis, using the front strut axle system from the GT3 Cup car and installing heavy-duty 15-inch diameter racing brakes all around. But get this — the race car weighs just 2,866 pounds, versus the 2,955-pound bulk of the road-legal GT4.
The Clubsport loses the manual transmission found in the GT4 and, instead, replaces it with Porsche’s dual-clutch transmission. Though drivers lose the ability to row their own gears, shifting time is improved dramatically.
Because of its dedicated track-only nature, Porsche sees it fit to weld in the roll cage at the factory. There will also be racing bucket seats and a six-point racing harness, which Automobile remarks is familiar to those who have opted for the Clubsport package offered for the street-going GT4.
You see? This is why we need to appreciate the Macan and Cayenne. Without Porsche’s robust SUV sales, projects like this wouldn’t be financially feasible. So thank you, mall cruisers and well-heeled suburbanites, for making this possible.
We’ll keep you posted as the GT4 Clubsport debuts at the Los Angeles Auto Show next month.