We all know the future is electric and, through the Taycan and its super-cool Mission R concept, Porsche fans should feel reassured the brand knows how to make battery-powered cars exciting. In that context models like the 718 Cayman GT4 RS are a final encore for those who’ve loved Porsche’s ICE (internal combustion engine) sports cars across the decades. Raw, focused and intended for enthusiasts who spend as much time on track as they do the road, this is a car for a small and very specific pool of super fans, and those lucky enough to bag one of the limited production are in for a treat. If you don’t secure a build slot don’t worry, though, given the regular 718 Cayman shares much of the same spirit with a dose more usability and creature comforts at a more attainable price.
Running costs for a Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS coupe
“If you’re lucky enough to be on your Porsche dealer’s VIP list and get one new you’re also scoring a very sound financial investment”
A car like the 718 Cayman GT4 RS is pure indulgence, and best considered a piece of luxury sporting equipment like a fancy carbon fibre racing bicycle. Given it’s designed to be driven hard on track at every given opportunity that’s kind of the point, too. If you’re lucky enough to be on your Porsche dealer’s VIP list and get one new you’re also scoring a very sound financial investment, given demand for special models like this always exceeds supply and you could realise a significant return by immediately selling it on at a huge profit, or 'flipping' as it's known. That temptation will always be there but, respectfully, you’d be missing out on one of the drives of your life. As for running costs? It’s unlikely to be a concern for the target audience but, used as intended, the RS will make your wallet weep with its appetite for fuel, tyres and brakes. Having driven it we’ll say you’ll be having too much fun to care.
Expert rating: 2/5
Reliability of a Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS coupe
“The exotic engine and other parts will be expensive to fix if anything does go wrong”
The GT4 RS is built with a racing car mindset, so should be tough and able to take abuse. But the exotic engine and other parts will be expensive to fix if anything does go wrong and, if you’re looking to own it for the long-haul and drive it as hard as Porsche hopes, experience shows an extended warranty would be a very sound investment beyond the standard three-year cover.
Expert rating: 3/5
Safety for a Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS coupe
“Instead of lane-keeping assistance, automatic emergency braking and blind-spot warnings it’s more about racing car style safety features”
Safety for most cars is judged on the quantity and sophistication of the electronic driver aids but the Cayman GT4 RS rather goes the other way, given it’s designed for those with a real passion for driving and desire to take full control themselves. So instead of lane-keeping assistance, automatic emergency braking and blind-spot warnings it’s more about racing car style safety features like the six-point harness (there’s thankfully a regular belt for road use as well), built-in fire extinguisher and roll cage that come with the optional Clubsport Package. Given the car’s intended purpose – and because it will be a desirable feature for future buyers – it’s pretty much an essential upgrade.
Expert rating: 3/5
How comfortable is the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS coupe
“Forget the stereo – Porsche instead wants you to hear every last snarl, sniff and gargle of air and fuel going into the engine”
The score here reflects the fact comfort and refinement are literally the bottom of the GT4 RS’s priority list, but that’s entirely the point and actually not a criticism. If you want a Cayman you can drive every day without leaving your ears ringing or feeling every last bump on the road the regular 718 or perhaps the GTS 4.0 are probably a better bet. Because, from its fixed racing style seats (regular adjustable ones are available but miss the point of the car) to the fact the steering wheel wriggles around in your hands over every last bump and camber in the road, this car is all about sensory overload. Forget the stereo. Porsche instead wants you to hear every last snarl, sniff and gargle of air and fuel going into the engine and has deliberately put the air intakes behind your head to that end, while in its sportier setting the automatic gearbox shifts with a deliberate, decisive thump.
By conventional measures this all sounds like hell on earth. But for the enthusiasts it’s aimed at this is more like motoring heaven, your intimate relationship with everything the car is doing making it more like riding a sports motorbike than driving a car. If you promised yourself one last petrol-powered blowout before going electric this would be a hell of a way to do it.
Expert rating: 2/5
Features of the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS coupe
“The massive wing on the back can be manually adjusted to suit whichever race track you happen to be driving on”
You get voice control, phone connectivity and the rest but given how noisy it is in the RS they’re of the chocolate fireguard level of relevance. Navigation and race-car style telemetry downloads will, however, be more useful. Enthusiasts will also be more interested in the carbon fibre body panels, rigidly mounted suspension components from the 911 GT3 and fact, just like a racing car, the massive wing on the back can be manually adjusted to suit whichever race track you happen to be driving on. If that’s your bag you’ll also want the optional Clubsport Package with its roll cage and harnesses while the so-called Weissach Package (named after Porsche’s in-house test track) goes further with exposed carbon fibre body panels, a weight-saving titanium roll cage and other adornments. Both packages will be desirable for any future buyers so, with a view to protecting your investment, would be a sensible tick on the options list. The latter also ‘unlocks’ further options like super fancy magnesium wheels in a distinctive ‘white gold’ finish, which help for both weight saving and bragging rights. You'll be living in fear of kerbs every time you park up, though.
Expert rating: 4/5
Power for a Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS coupe
“Modifications to the PDK automatic transmission mean it shifts with such speed and precision it seems a natural fit for the car”
While 500 horsepower makes this the most powerful Cayman Porsche has ever built by some margin it’s less about the quantity of the performance and more the quality with which it is expressed. While the regular 718 is turbocharged and feels excitingly boosty the RS instead has a very linear delivery, building all the way to the frenzied 9,000rpm redline. This is important for track driving because it means you can be incredibly precise with your throttle inputs, the power building in such a way so as not to overload the tyres and keep you on the racing line. Some may be disappointed you can’t have the RS with a manual gearbox but modifications to the PDK automatic transmission mean it shifts with such speed and precision it seems a natural fit for the car. Like the suspension you can select an even more decisive mode for track driving, the noisy blips as you shift down for corners setting your neck hairs on end while keeping the car settled and in the sweet spot of the powerband. If this is peak internal combustion engine tech for Porsche it’s going out in spectacular style, every mile in this car an absolute thrill ride of noise and excitement.