2022 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS First Look: The Ultimate Street Cayman
You asked for it. You demanded it. You speculated wildly about why Porsche hadn’t and wouldn’t do it. Well, now it’s here: The 2022 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS is the 911 GT3-powered track weapon you’ve always wanted.
Better than all the stats, which we’ll get to in just a second, is the fact the 2022 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS is not some limited-production model you’ll never get your mortal hands on. Porsche will build and sell this ultimate Cayman until the entire Cayman model lineup is replaced with the next-generation car, and you’ll be able to pick one up in the U.S. next summer.
The bad news is you’ll need to come up with $143,050 to get an ultimate Cayman yourself. But hey, it’s $19,000 less than a 911 GT3 for the same engine. So hey, value!
911 GT3 Engine?!
You’d better believe it. Plenty of us speculated Porsche would never put the 911 GT3’s stupendous flat-six in the Cayman to protect the 911 from being upstaged by its cheaper sibling. Never would Porsche admit the Cayman’s mid-engine layout is better than the classic rear-engine layout. Wrong!
Ask Andreas Preuninger, boss of Porsche’s GT cars division, and he’ll gladly tell you it was just an engineering problem that kept the GT3 boxer away from Caymans past. The 991-generation 911 GT3’s engine had a cast-aluminum dry sump oil tank that would not fit in a Cayman without major reengineering. But the new 992-generation 911 GT3’s engine was designed with a composite dry-sump tank specifically designed to fit the Cayman.
That means you get the full boat 4.0-liter flat-six from the 992 911 GT3, with 493 hp and 331 lb-ft of torque, an extra 79 hp and 14 lb-ft compared to the 718 Cayman GT4’s mechanically unrelated 4.0-liter flat-six.
Aha! We’ve found the Porsche conspiracy! That’s 9 horsepower less than the GT3! Proof positive Porsche still handicaps the Cayman … or not. The difference is entirely down to the completely different exhaust and cooling systems on the two cars. The exhaust system, incidentally, is stainless steel with optional titanium tips if you spring for the Weissach Package.
You’ll also visually appreciate the new engine because Porsche removed the traditional engine cover and put a wall and window between the cockpit and the engine compartment. Doing so was necessary to add engine air intakes where the quarter windows used to be. Yes, there’s still a cargo area behind the engine, but expect your stuff to get warm quickly. The side intakes are now fully dedicated to cooling the new engine.
PDK Only, Because Lap Times
The 9,000-rpm engine is backed by Porsche’s incredible PDK seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. All of Porsche’s RS models are now PDK-only, as dual-clutch transmissions make for quicker lap times, period. (Non-RS GT cars still get manuals because they’re more about the driving experience than the absolute quickest lap.) In the case of the GT4 RS, though, the really limiting factor is the fact the 911 and Cayman use different manual transmissions and Porsche doesn’t have a Cayman manual strong enough to stand up to the GT3 engine’s horsepower and torque.
The good news is you won’t complain about gear ratios anymore. We’ve long said the manual GT4’s gears are too long, and Porsche heard the message. As such, the GT4 RS’ PDK gearbox features shorter ratios.
“Always with the GT4 we have some complaints,” Preuninger says, “especially the manual: ‘The gearing is too long.’ I can’t hear it anymore, guys.”
As with the “regular” 718 GT4, the 2022 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS is fitted with a mechanically locking limited-slip differential; Porsche says there simply isn’t room to fit the cooler and computer needed for an electronically controlled differential.
Porsche also says the 718 Cayman GT4 RS will hit 60 mph in 3.2 seconds, 0.2-second quicker than the standard Cayman GT4 we tested and likely even quicker than Porsche’s notoriously conservative estimates. Top speed is a claimed 196 mph.
Getting all the extra horsepower to the ground are standard Dunlop SportMaxx or Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tires optional. All are mounted on the same size 20-inch wheels as the standard GT4, but now on forged aluminum center-lock wheels. Why not go bigger? Preuninger says there just isn’t room. At least magnesium wheels are still an option to reduce unsprung weight.
The wheels are controlled by next-generation Bilstein electronically adjustable adaptive dampers. Around them are stiffer springs and new control arms with more camber adjustment. All the suspension joints, meanwhile, are replaced with spherical metal ball joints. Up front, the track is widened by 0.24-inch (6 millimeters).
Stopping power comes courtesy of standard steel brakes borrowed from the 911 GT3, or optional carbon-ceramic brakes.
All those bits have less mass to contend with thanks to an extensive lightening regimen. Compared to a standard 718 Cayman GT4 with PDK gearbox, the GT4 RS sheds 49 pounds. The weight loss is thanks to fiberglass-reinforced plastic fenders and hood, a Gorilla Glass rear window, lightweight carpet, lightweight inner door panels with the trademark nylon straps functioning as release handles, and of course, the jettisoning of sound deadening. Preuninger says this is the loudest car Porsche has built when it comes to interior noise, making it the factory-built Porsche that is most like a race car in that regard. Porsche says the car’s curb weight is 3,227 pounds.
Of course, if that’s not enough, there’s always the Weissach Package we mentioned earlier. It upgrades the hood, side blades, mirrors, window scoops, and rear wing to carbon fiber. It also replaces the standard steel half roll cage with a titanium version. All told, the package should save roughly another 40 pounds, getting you to less than 3,200 pounds total. Porsche expects a 70 percent take rate from customers.
Abusing the Air
Giving the tires and suspension more to work with is a new aerodynamic package for the 2022 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS. Up front, an adjustable front splitter with barge boards holds the nose down while fender-top vents evacuate air from the front wheel wheels. In back, the swan neck-suspended wing offers four positions for adjusting downforce levels on any given track. All told, Porsche estimates the Cayman GT4 RS generates up to 25 percent more downforce than the GT4, and without any drag increase.
Overall, Porsche says, the GT4 RS generates slightly less downforce than the 911 GT3.
Let’s Talk About That Nürburgring Lap Time
Porschephiles will no doubt note the GT4 RS’ impressive 7-minute, 4-second Nürburgring lap time is roughly 9 seconds slower than the 911 GT3. Preuninger attributes the gap to several factors: First, the smaller tire contact patch limits maximum grip. Second, as noted above, the 911 GT3 produces more downforce. The rear-engine car also benefits from an electronically controlled rear differential, rear-wheel steering, and its control arm front suspension (the GT4 RS continues with MacPherson struts). And, of course, the 911 GT3 also makes a little more power and has different gearing.
This has not been enough to convince some internet personalities, however, who speculated the 718 Cayman GT4 RS had a braking issue during its Nürburgring lap, allegations Preuninger calls “downright ridiculous.”
“I get very aggravated with these kinds of claims,” he says. “They have no idea. Everyone thinks they are an expert because they analyze a video. The maker of that video [alleging brake issues] is welcome to come over and show what kind of lap time they can do.”
Preuninger says Porsche’s internal target time was 7:15, and the company was surprised and delighted with the 7:04 result; no one on the GT team expected to break 7 minutes. To be sure, he asked longtime Porsche racer Jörg Bergmeister, who drove the record-setting lap, if the car could go any quicker. Bergmeister said no.
“If anyone thinks they can go faster than Jörg Bergmeister,” Preuninger says, “they should think again. He’s very fast.”
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