So the German firm has gone back to its roots with the new range-topping GT4 model of the Cayman. There’s a 4.0l six-cylinder stuffed into the engine bay behind the seats, with no turbocharger to strangle the sound. And it’s only available as a manual, unlike its four-cylinder brethren which offer two- and three-pedalled versions.
Purist enough for you?
It was for me. I wasn’t averse to the four-cylinder Caymans when I drove them at their international launch at the Yas Marina Formula One circuit in Abu Dhabi a couple of years back. I revelled in their responsive mid-engined handling and punchy performance, and thought they sounded pretty okay.
But there’s nothing quite like hearing a flat-six revving at 8,000rpm, which is where the GT4 hits its red line. As soon as I let the tacho needle soar to that lofty level for the first time, the goosebumps on my arms made me understand what this car’s all about. It is to the Cayman range what the GT3 is to the 911.
Bellowing like Axl Rose hitting the high notes in Sweet Child 'o Mine, the car makes you want to explore that red zone even though it isn’t really necessary, as there’s plenty of midrange grunt at lower revs. You do it just for the aural charm of it, and fuel consumption be damned. This is a sportscar after all, and some hedonistic pleasure is not unwarranted.
This high-revving vocality underlies a car imbued with a raw playfulness, made more so by the GT4’s chassis being 30mm lower than the four-cylinder 718 Cayman models. The Porsche Active Suspension Management damping system allows damping stiffness to be varied at the touch of a button.
In its softer mode the ride is firm but not uncomfortably choppy, but this was a car that really needed to be explored outside of the commuting grind, so we took it to Gerotek for acceleration tests and a few laps around the handling circuit.
And ah, what a joy it is to drive. The car playfully zips through corners as only a mid-engined, rear-wheel drive car can.