2020 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4: Review

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceWhat Is It?
Porsche introduced the current-generation 718 Cayman back in 2016, but for 2020 the German car company introduces the most powerful and capable version yet — the Cayman GT4. From the purposeful interior to an adjustable rear spoiler, powerful engine and sport exhaust system, the GT4 is designed to deliver the ultimate performance both on the street as well as on the track. Although we didn’t get a chance to put the GT4 through its paces on a circuit, after a few days with the 2020 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 on back roads north of Seattle, we say it is one of the purest sports cars on the market.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceTest Vehicle
Porsche Cars North America kindly provided us with a 2020 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 painted in eye-catching Guards Red. Even though most equipment is standard on this top-level Cayman, Porsche still offers a long list of options. Goodies added to our test vehicle included dual-zone climate control, Apple CarPlay, full bucket seats and GPS navigation for a total MSRP of $110,600. The Cayman GT4 is in some ways a unique offering; the closest competitors include the Aston Martin Vantage, Audi TT RS and BMW M2 Competition.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceStandout Styling
One glance at the 2020 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 reveals it’s clearly not a typical Cayman (and there’s nothing “typical” about a Porsche Cayman). Up front sit larger air intakes, a new front splitter and an opening in front of the hood that helps with cooling and downforce. The GT4 is over an inch lower than a standard Cayman, giving it a more aggressive stance. A word of warning — the Cayman GT4’s lower ride height means less ground clearance — steep driveways or significant speed bumps need to be taken with caution.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceIncreased Downforce
The most visually obvious differentiator of the GT4 is its large rear wing. Manually adjustable, the unit provides considerably more downforce than the previous generation; at top speed it generates 268 pounds of downforce. Also unique to the 2020 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 are two large exhaust outlets integrated into the rear diffuser, which further increase downforce for better handling.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperiencePowertrain
The 2020 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 looks the part of a significant sports car, and it has the power to back up those looks. Positioned behind the cockpit resides a new 4.0-liter naturally aspirated flat-six engine producing 414 horsepower and 309 lb-ft of torque — and a redline of 8000 rpm. Although many high-performance sports cars have forgone a manual transmission, the GT4 comes with a 6-speed manual gearbox as standard equipment. The shift lever is shorter than the standard Cayman for quicker shifts and a more comfortable driving position. A button on the center console activates an “auto blip” function that automatically matches revs during downshifts.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceQuick Stats
Performance numbers for the 2020 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 are impressive: zero to 60 mph takes 4.2 seconds and top speed lists at 188 mph. The GT4’s capabilities become even more evident when some curves get thrown into the mix. According to Porsche, the Cayman GT4 accelerates to 60 mph as quickly as its predecessor; however, it completed a lap of the famed Nordschleife circuit at the Nurburgring racetrack in Germany in 7:28 — a full 12 seconds faster than its predecessor and slightly faster than the legendary Carrera GT. Bring on the corners.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceNormally Aspirated
It seems like the number of high-performance sports cars with normally aspirated engines has dwindled — many units are now turbocharged, supercharged, a hybrid or some combination thereof. Not that there’s anything wrong with that (apologies, Seinfeld fans), but the smooth, linear response from the GT4’s powerplant is a welcome change.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceInterior
Porsche designed the Cayman GT4 interior around the driver, so all controls are within easy reach. On the ops side, there’s no need for the driver to dig through menus in an attempt to locate features — buttons for louder exhaust, stiffer suspension, auto blip and stability control are all in the center console. Actual buttons make navigating display screens thankfully more simple, and climate control settings are separate for easy access. The steering wheel gets trimmed in Alcantara, and enthusiast drivers will appreciate the lack of buttons and controls on the wheel (aside from the Porsche logo in the center) — no controls of any kind. The doors have loop strap rather than typical door handles to save weight.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBucket Seats
Our 2020 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 tester came equipped with optional bucket seats. With a base of carbon fiber covered in Alcantara and leather, the seats are a bit stiff but offer great support with a snug fit. The buckets are manually adjustable forward and back, but they can be raised or lowered via powered buttons.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceStorage
It may be a small 2-seat sports car, but the Cayman GT4’s layout has the engine positioned behind the cabin, so there’s a decent amount of space in the front trunk. It easily accommodates an overnight bag and a couple other small items; additional storage space can be found under the glass rear hatch.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceOn the Road
It doesn’t take long to appreciate how amazingly well engineers set up the chassis of the 2020 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 for performance driving. Although we’ve driven faster cars, full throttle in the GT4 is a deeply satisfying experience with a unique engine growl and short-throw shifter allowing lightning-fast shifts. With a redline at 8000 rpm, this little Porsche can be moving quickly by the time the driver shifts into third gear.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceFun in Corners
The 718 is plenty quick in a straight line, but it reveals its trues agility when the road starts to curve. Steering is precise with excellent feedback, and with the Cayman GT4’s sticky tires and Porsche Active Suspension Management, we discovered that every corner felt as if it could have been taken even faster. We really appreciate the auto blip option that makes every downshift smooth, accompanied by a nice bump in the exhaust note.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceReading the Road
The 2020 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 telegraphs changes in road surface back to the driver almost telepathically, while at the same time the ride is not overly stiff or jarring. Power delivery is completely linear and predictable, adding to the enjoyment. We haven’t had the opportunity to take the new GT4 on the track, but we expect the experience would be phenomenal.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceThe Sound
Adding to the overall experience of the 2020 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 is an all-new sport exhaust system designed specifically to showcase the sound of the flat-six engine. This incredibly satisfying aural symphony has a tune that changes with every rpm. At 4000 rpm resonance valves open and the GT4 suddenly sounds as if a choir has joined in. It’s definitely a hallelujah moment.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRating: 9.0
The Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 is designed as a pure sports car for driving pleasure — all other vehicular concerns become secondary — which means this car is not for everyone. However, for a driving enthusiast the marriage of incredible sound, iconic sports-car styling and outstanding performance make this a very desirable Porsche. A performance car that lives up to its name, the 2020 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 is as much at home on the street as it would be on the track, and one car we would love to own and drive on a permanent basis.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperiencePorsche 718 Cayman GT4
Larger air intakes

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperiencePorsche 718 Cayman GT4
Dual exhaust integrated into rear diffuser.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperiencePorsche 718 Cayman GT4
Sexy silhouette.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperiencePorsche 718 Cayman GT4
Adjustable rear wing.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperiencePorsche 718 Cayman GT4
20-inch alloy wheels with Satin Platinum finish.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperiencePorsche 718 Cayman GT4
Large rear wing.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperiencePorsche 718 Cayman GT4
Tinted taillights unique to the GT4.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperiencePorsche 718 Cayman GT4
Rear hatch.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperiencePorsche 718 Cayman GT4
Cupholders fold out of the dashboard.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperiencePorsche 718 Cayman GT4
No distractions on the steering wheel.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperiencePorsche 718 Cayman GT4
Display screen.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperiencePorsche 718 Cayman GT4
Controls in center console.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperiencePorsche 718 Cayman GT4
Clear gauges.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperiencePorsche 718 Cayman GT4
Strap loop for door handle.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperiencePorsche 718 Cayman GT4
Very low ground clearance.

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