2023 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS "Weissach Package" 982C

2023 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS "Weissach Package" 982C

What happens when you shoehorn Porsche’s 4,0-litre flat six from the 911 GT3 into a Cayman? A cardiologist on speed dial is a good idea.

Sixth heaven

The noise is bonkers. Ears singing, I’m yelling across the cockpit, signalling the rev counter as it swings towards 9 000 r/min. My deer-in-the-headlights companion points at his ears, can’t-hear-you, wide eyes glued to the rapidly approaching horizon. It is all deliciously ironic. Ironic because it’s thanks to quiet electric that this 4,0-litre, flat six bellowing noise fest behind my left ear is happening at all. Caymans will be Eskom-powered by decade’s end and therefore not a threat to the internal combustion 911, so Zuffenhausen has decided to do the unthinkable; squeeze the 911’s primo engine into the littlest of its sportscars as a sort of farewell treat. Hurrahs all round, letters of congratulation.

2023 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS "Weissach Package" 982C

Out on the Cape Swartland backroads, the German missile hunkered down and got on with the business of covering ground quickly. Porsche uses the same routing for every launch – good for comparisons – and the 718 GT4 RS 982C passed the bumpy Philadelphia road test with flying colours. A few months ago, the 911 GT3 battled over the ruts and undulations, damping and springs, but equally with the positioning of the engine; much of the mass is at the rear. At middling speeds, this mid-engined 718 is more comfortable and arguably more liveable. This is a surprise, and the first indication the road-legal track-car reputation might not be entirely true. The second is the interior, which – if you read the press reports – suggests it’s a pared-down carbon cockpit more along the lines of Porsche’s GT4 Clubsport racer.

2023 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS "Weissach Package" 982C

Not true either. Other than the ergonomically fussy material door pulls and full bucket seats, it’s standard Porsche fare and all the conveniences are accounted for: comprehensive infotainment, configurable digital dials ahead of the driver, jet-fighter centre console bristling with tech. It’s hewn from granite, as ever, and a delight to use, especially the emotive touchpoints: steering wheel, paddles, gear lever, brakes. The bumps gave way to smooth blacktop and the licence to open the taps. Change the suspension and gearbox from cultured to peccable, paddle down twice, carpet the throttle and behold the orchestration. The Porsche’s RennSport moniker traditionally signals a degree of cacophony; loud is expected. Except the 911 is rear-engined, while this 718 is closer, mid-engined. Add an interior airbox at your left ear and air intakes where the rear three-quarter windows used to be and it’s a bit like moving from the matinée theatre gallery to the front row of a Motörhead gig. Tinnitus will be your best friend. Deafening, but fun… enormous fun.


Beyond Franschhoek Pass, as is traditional, there was time to consider the package and to understand why the switchbacks had been dispatched with such dexterity. Porsche gifted the car with that 911 GT3 engine as well as a raft of engineering upgrades and an aerodynamic promotion. Larger brakes, new dampers and adjustable anti-roll bars, revised cooling, carbon in the body, a new seven-speed PDK gearbox, the flywheel from the GT4 Clubsport racer and the GT3’s limited-slip differential are key upgrades.

2023 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS "Weissach Package" 982C - interior

Aerodynamically, there’s the manually adjustable swan-neck rear wing for improved downforce, distinctive NACA ducts on the bonnet and intakes at the B-pillar, and new wheelarches, all aimed at channelling airflow to assist cooling and reduce lift at speed. Hermanus appeared, one long traffic jam masquerading as a beach holiday, and presented several issues. Predictably, the GT4 RS was not happiest in stop-start traffic, the new PDK box shunted up and down with some reluctance. The flat six adopted a rough quality, too, not the barrel of bolts of other boulevarding supercars, but rather ill-tempered.

Still, it was not all stress about town. There is a console-operated front lift system for the nose, so speed bumps are less worrying and it’s likely the only time you will turn the exceptional Bose audio system on. Urban driving serves only to whet the appetite for more canyon shenanigans. “Get the hell out there,” it seems to say, “Go play in the hinterland.”

Car and driver somewhat better acquainted, the race home underlined just why the internal combustion engine should not be allowed to die. The choreography of power, placement and noise is elemental, one informing the other. In a car such as the GT4 RS, it’s entirely addictive. The midengined, rear-wheel-drive layout means there’s excellent balance through corners at all but ballistic speeds. Only when you’ve entirely overcooked it and lift off mid-corner does the layout play to the undeniable physics. Insufficient weight fore or aft can uncover a curious lightness and a sense the whole car floats east or west, and is dealt with by a jab of throttle. The GT4 RS’s steering, braking and PDK are magnificent in hell mode, razor-sharp, lighting quick and plenty of feel and feedback. Fill up (15,0 L/100 km means you will have to feed the tank every 400 km), find another unheralded route and cue the orchestra.

Which is it to be, the conventional 718 GT4, the 911 GT3 or this beast? It’s all moot unless you have a spectacularly good relationship with Porsche. There is no way a limited-number GT4 RS is headed your way, not a new one anyway.

The 992 911 GT3 it is, then; same engine, same hooligan ability. But what of the everyday comfort of the “ordinary” 718 GT4?

Only one solution … once more into the breach.

TECHNICAL DATA 2023 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS «Weissach Package» 982C

  • Price: R2 606 000
  • Engine: mid-mounted, naturally aspirated, 3 996 cc flat-6
  • Transmission: 7-speed DCT
  • Max Power: 500bhp/368 kW @ 8 400 r/min
  • Max Torque: 450 N.m @ 6 750 r/min
  • 0-62mph 0–100 km/h: 3,4 seconds
  • Top speed: 187mph / 300 km/h
  • Fuel consumption: 12,3 L/100km (combined)
  • CO2 emissions: 281 g/km
  • Rivals: Porsche 911 GT3 992, Porsche 718 GT4 982, Audi R8 Coupe V10 Type 42

01 The Weissach package will likely be ticked by most owners; the carbon-weave finish on the bonnet is crucial to GT4 RS' feral look.

02 Mid-engine layout means car is better balanced, more comfortable round town and at medium speeds than rear-engined sister 911.

01 Roll cage is an optional extra. Bedlam from the 992 911 GT3-derived flat-six is standard.

02 Massive 408mm, six-piston callipers help keep stop distances to 28m from 100 km/h.

03 South Africans love their PDK auto ‘boxes; GT4 RS'manual setup is worthy of consideration.

04 Downforce created at 200 km/h equates to 99 kg, decent, but nothing on 911 GT3's 144 kg

  • + like the original Cayman GT4, now only more insane
  • - as above, you couldn’t get one even if you could afford one
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