Cars

The Porsche Cayman GT4 Is a Terrible Daily Driver, and That’s a Good Thing

Part of Porsche’s vehicles’ appeal is how well they combine utility with performance, and the Cayman is no different. Although it only has 2 seats, the mid-engine sports car is daily-drivable and (relatively) affordable. Plus, it has more luggage space than the new C8 Corvette. The new 2020 Porsche Cayman GT4, though, loses some of the standard car’s everyday usability and comfort. But what it gets back in return makes it into something rivaling the 911 itself.

2020 Porsche Cayman GT4 specs

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When the Cayman and Boxster (which has the same platform) were updated into their current 718 forms, something was lost along the way. Specifically, the previous versions’ naturally-aspirated six-cylinder engines. Although the current turbocharged four-cylinders are powerful, they’ve also been criticized for their grating sound.

2020 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4
2020 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 | Porsche

The 2020 Porsche Cayman GT4 brings the six-cylinder back. It’s a 4.0-liter six-cylinder that’s actually an enlarged, heavily-upgraded, turbo-less version of the current 911’s engine. In the Cayman GT4, it develops 414 hp and 309 lb-ft and comes exclusively with a 6-speed manual. If you need to work on heel-toeing, the GT4 also comes with an auto-blip function. Plus, with a 3.7-second 0-60 time, Car and Driver reports the GT4 accelerates faster than the Shelby GT350 Mustang.

2020 Porsche Cayman GT4 side
2020 Porsche Cayman GT4 side | Porsche

However, the engine isn’t the only new thing about the 2020 Porsche Cayman GT4. It’s 1.8” lower than a stock 718 Cayman, Motor Trend reports. And it shares front and rear suspension components with the 911 GT3, Car and Driver reports. It has a new grille, as well as a manually-adjustable rear wing and functional rear diffuser. The Cayman GT4 also gets a limited-slip rear differential, adjustable suspension, and reconfigured traction and stability control systems.

2020 Porsche Cayman GT4 interior
2020 Porsche Cayman GT4 interior | Porsche

In terms of options, buyers can equip their Porsche Cayman GT4 with carbon-ceramic brakes that weigh half that of the standard steel ones. There are also well-bolstered sport seats available. And if you genuinely want to take the GT4 racing, the Club Sport Package adds a steel half-cage, fire extinguisher, and HANS-compatible 6-point racing harness.

The Porsche Cayman GT4: what the specs don’t tell you

Some of the Porsche Cayman GT4’s features do impact daily-drivability. The sport seats are non-adjustable, Car and Driver reports, and the bolstering makes it difficult to get in and out. And the suspension, plus the lower ride height, means the GT4 loses some of the standard car’s ride compliance. Also, navigation, Apple CarPlay, and WiFi are still optional, Roadshow reports.

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But you can skip the sport seats. And when it comes to enjoyable driving, the ride penalty is more than worth it. MT calls the GT4 “probably the best balanced [sic] Porsche in history.” The steering, though slightly less quick than the Supra’s, is precise and communicative, Road & Track reports. The new continuously-adjusting suspension, along with the standard brake-based torque-vectoring, means the car corners incredibly well. To quote Car and Driver, “the lowering and stiffening results in a car with reflexes so quick, it might as well be part of your central nervous system.”

Then there’s the engine. Yes, it only makes 54 hp more than the 718 Cayman S. But being naturally-aspirated, the engine’s response is more linear and controllable. And it redlines at 8100 RPM. The transmission, too, is a delight, Autoblog reports, changing gears with “compelling snick-snick action.”

Pricing and competition comparison

2019 Porsche 911 Carrera
2019 Porsche 911 Carrera | Porsche

Unfortunately, the 2020 Porsche Cayman GT4 isn’t cheap. Before options, it starts at $99,200. That’s roughly $30,000 more than the 718 Cayman S. It’s also $1800 more expensive than a base 911 Carrera. And the 911 is only down 25 hp but is much more livable with on a day-to-day basis.

2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray | Chevrolet

Also, while the Cayman GT4 is fast, the C8 Corvette and the Camaro ZL1 1LE both have smaller 0-60 times. Both are also noticeably cheaper.

Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE
Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE | Chevrolet

However, there’s a reason why the Camaro ZL1 1LE is still considered one of the best muscle cars on the market. The Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye makes more power. And the Shelby GT500 Mustang is arguably faster. But the ZL1 1LE’s focus and hard-core nature are what help sell it. The same is true of the Porsche Cayman GT4.

There are faster, more comfortable cars. But few are as enjoyable to drive.

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