Late last month, we brought you coverage of Porsche’s confirmation that there would be a GT4 RS model after all. Not a whole lot was known at that time, though what was presented to us was more than sufficient in painting the picture of just how great of a car it was shaping up to be. The most noteworthy fact was that it set a blistering lap time of 7:04.511 at the Nürburgring Nordschleife. This is some 23.6 seconds quicker than the 718 Cayman GT4, suggesting that virtually no part of the car was spared the ‘RS’ treatment.
Now we know a lot more about the ‘how’ and the ‘why’, and Porsche has decided to provide those details to us as part of their participation in the 2021 LA Auto Show, alongside their unveiling of the new Taycan GTS models and the Panamera Platinum Edition. After the dust settled and the fanfare subsided, the automaker also snuck in the announcement for their new Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport customer racing car. Being a niche within a niche, the Clubsport might not be able to match the broad appeal of the road car, but those eagerly anticipating this news were also left delighted. You can read more about the Clubsport on our sister-website, Sports Car Digest, here.
At the forefront of this is the GT4 RS’ engine. It was public knowledge that the powerplant would be a 4.0L naturally-aspirated flat-6 unit, likely a derivative (read: detuned version) of those used in current 992 GT3 and GT3 Touring. Porsche have certainly fulfilled these parameters. You can view a recording of the livestream event, below:
What was much less expected or known, was how the confirmed power figures would tally up. There were some suggestions that based on the Nürburgring lap time, as much as 500 hp would be on tap for the 718 Cayman GT4 RS. At the time, that still felt a bit farfetched for a number of reasons, the most notable of that being it would mean the new range-topping 718 would be infringing too deep into 911 GT-level territory. However, that prediction has essentially come good, with the GT4 RS producing 493 hp (500 PS)—the same as a 991.1 GT3 RS.
It revs to 9,000 rpm and makes a bit less torque—331 lb-ft vs 346 lb-ft in the 992 GT3—which Porsche says is the result of a more complicated exhaust design, but that’s not likely to matter in the grand scheme of things. After all, the platform known best for its extraordinary balance and superb handling dynamics, is still good for a blistering 0-60 mph time of 3.2 seconds in its new RS-guise. That’s plenty quick. As we correctly predicted, the GT4 RS comes exclusively with a 7-speed PDK transmission, which further highlights the car’s race-bred intentions and stays true to the (modern) ‘GT(x) RS’ mantra.
According to Dr. Frank Walliser—Vice President of 911 and 718 Product Lines—the GT4 RS will tip the scales at 3,120 lbs, making it around 49 lbs lighter than a similarly-equipped 718 GT4 with PDK. Much of the weight savings are the result of a healthy carbon fiber diet, with the front fenders, bonnet, door panels and other fixings now made from the good stuff. It will also sit 30 millimeters lower than a regular Cayman and now comes standard with a ball joint suspension system, replacing the rubber bushings used in previous models. The dampers, springs and sway bars have also been revised for more hardcore applications. All of these will afford the RS superior handling precision and a heightened connection with the tarmac.
At a glance, the biggest differences between the GT4 RS and the other models are ones that are visually telling, with the swan-neck rear wing being the most eye catching of its features. The rest of the body gets the typical RS workout, with streamlined underbody panels, a more aggressive (and adjustable) front splitter, a larger rear diffuser, side blades and huge air intakes, all forming part of this new equation. These of course, are all completely functional changes as well, with the GT4 RS able to produce up to 25% more downforce than the GT4, while also improving engine and brake cooling.
The new Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS is also responsible for a few important ‘firsts’ in the history of the Cayman. Besides being the platform’s inaugural RS representative, it’ll also be the first time the Weissach Package is offered for the model, following the trend made popular by the most recent GT3 RS and GT2 RS. The Weissach Package for the GT4 RS will use the same formula which incorporates exposed carbon fiber exterior panels, titanium exhaust tips, magnesium wheels and a roll cage (in jurisdictions where it’s legal to have one from the factory). Center-lock wheels are also a debutant feature on the Cayman, via the RS.
Compared to other trims, there isn’t a significant list of other notable options to pick from—notwithstanding front-axle lift, and a unique Porsche Design watch—because the RS already comes comprehensively equipped, as anyone buying a car with the badge should expect. I was also pretty bang on with my prediction in terms of pricing, with the base MSRP of the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS sitting at $141,700 USD.
Waiting lists are already looking long, relative to the number of allocations being given, so you should get your name in the hat now, if you’re interested in picking up Porsche’s latest—and arguably, their most impressive—RS model. Remember, the entire 718 range could be going fully-electric by as early as 2025, so the new GT4 RS (and by proxy, the Clubsport race car) should be treated as the swan-song for ICE-powered Caymans and Boxsters. It’s clear that Porsche was intending to send off the petrol-engined era of their famous sports car range with an absolute banger, and that this is it right here.