2023 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS 982C

2023 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS 982C

Outside: raw carbon panels, track-oriented gooseneck’ wing, front splitter, massive gold- painted wheels. Inside: roll-cage, five-point harness, Race-Tex dash covering — plus a rev-counter redlined at 9000rpm. And our playground involves not a track but the sinuous B-roads that snake across the North Pennines in County Durham. Gulp.

Buy one if you can

But then I’m assured that the ground clearance is as per the standard’ GT4 (a car our sister title evo referred to as an ‘all-time great’) and that the front splitter is added to a regular bumper. I’m also reminded that Andreas Preuninger, basically Mr 911 GT3, the guy at Porsche who’s in charge of all its most focused cars, developed this one as much for fun on the road as on the track.

2023 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS 982C

We have a few years to go before mandatory electrification so to call this a last hurrah is possibly premature. Though only a bit. And there are no limits to production numbers here, merely the time for which it will be available. So don’t delay if you’re in a mood to heed the above headline. As you well might.

‘The dizzying, tearing, deranged howl of that final 1000rpm on the clock is life-alteringly addictive’

In terms of new cars, I can certainly think of few sweeter ways to go out with a bang. All strapped in (I go for the seatbelt, rather than the harness), I note the focused atmosphere brought about by the lack of sounddeadening. Weight has been reduced by fitting carbonfibre-reinforced bonnet and front wings, pull-straps for internal doorhandles, a lighter rear windscreen, even lightweight carpets. My eye is drawn once more to that lofty redline as I stab the starter and the 4.0-litre nat-asp flat-six raucously announces itself.

It has presence, grabbing you by the ears and causing the structure to tingle even at idle. You hear it and feel it. Lots. Even the normally hushed hydro- mechanical machinations of the PDK transmission are hissingly audible here.

Trundling across gravel, which pings into the wheel-wells, you fear the head-bobbing gait of a racer as the wheels jink over ruts. But then the tarmac arrives. You do what you suspect Preuninger would order. You lamp it.

Oh my God, this thing is such a rush! It properly romps around the tacho, feeling as quick as 493bhp would have you reckon, hitting 62mph from rest in 3.4sec. It’s geared lower than other 718s, for a max of 72mph at 9000rpm in second, so you’re basically in and out of second and third on these roads, allowing the flat-six to scream its best.

Actually, scream is too two-dimensional. Few engines sound this charismatic, or so varied in their voice, ticking and growling from the off, then blaring, rasping and snarling. It’s intimate, too: you fear for disturbing the wildlife and country dwellers, but what you hear isn’t boom-box exhaust, it’s all induction, piped straight into the cabin via scoops where the rear quarter-windows normally live. And the dizzying, tearing, deranged howl of that final 1000rpm on the clock is life- alteringly addictive.

Bang-bang-bang on the PDK paddleshifters; steer almost by thought more than wrist action. It’s all adding up, but it’s the chassis’s composure that really nails it. It’s just so supple, sucking along the curves and over the ruts and hollows of B-road tarmac, staying faithful but never, ever jarring, or bucking and bouncing you into submission.

Bespoke damping costs. So does an engine that offers 79bhp over the GT4, as well as the interior and body tweaks that save, er, 35kg (it’s all in the details). So you’ll pay £108,370: a premium of £31,840. If you can, do so — and quick. Because one of these will probably cost you more after they’ve all been snapped up.

This page and opposite Limited by time rather than numbers, the RS will tease collectors with the promise of its 9000rpm red line and wonderfully biddable chassis.

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