Farewell to the best Cay­man ever made

South Waikato News - - Motoring - DAVID LIN­KLATER don’t like: We like: Vi­tal sta­tis­tics:

$196,800.

3.8-litre petrol hor­i­zon­tally op­posed six, 283kw/ 420Nm, 6-speed man­ual, RWD, Com­bined econ­omy 10.3 litres per 100km, 0-100kmh 4.4 sec­onds, 0-160kmh 9.3 sec­onds.

4438mm long, 1266mm high, lug­gage ca­pac­ity 150/184 litres (front/rear), 20-inch al­loy wheels on 245/35 front and 295/30 rear tyres. It’s the best Cay­man ever made, maybe the best sports car ever made

You can’t buy one any more.

This car is of­fi­cially ob­so­lete. Pro­duc­tion of the Porsche Cay­man GT4 ended this month.

Rather fit­tingly, that last blast has co­in­cided with the ar­rival of the first ex­am­ples of the new­gen­er­a­tion 718 Cay­man, which joins the 718 Boxster in sport­ing a new range of four-cylin­der tur­bocharged en­gines, into New Zealand

The next-gen­er­a­tion GT4 is yet to ap­pear, but Porsche peo­ple have con­firmed that there will in­deed be an­other and that it will still have a six-cylin­der en­gine.

Whether that’s an up­rated ver­sion of the turbo-six found in the 911 Car­rera or an­other in­car­na­tion of the 3.8-litre pow­er­house in this model re­mains to be seen.

What­ever hap­pens, the next GT4 has a hell of a lot to live up.

This GT4 was the car that truly un­leashed the po­ten­tial in the Cay­man we all knew was there. By which I mean the po­ten­tial to be even more ex­cit­ing than Porsche’s 50-year pet project, the 911.

Hey, it only took a decade. Right from the launch of the first­gen­er­a­tion Cay­man in 2006, Porsche re­sisted de­vel­op­ing it too far into track-ready ter­ri­tory, lest it trod on the 911’s toes.

Hey, it only took a decade, but the com­pany’s mo­tor­sport divi­sion was fi­nally al­lowed to go to town on the mid-en­gine coupe with this GT4 model.

The nat­u­rally as­pi­rated 3.8-litre en­gine is bor­rowed from the pre­vi­ous-gen­er­a­tion Car­rera S.

It’s only avail­able with a proper six-speed man­ual gear­box (so three ped­als), a joy­ous thing when even the 911 GT3 has a pseudo-au­to­matic PDK these days.

Speak­ing of which: the GT4’S front sus­pen­sion bor­rows ex­ten­sively from the GT3. Same goes for the brakes.

The track is wider than the cook­ing Cay­man and the GT4 rides 30mm lower.

The body ad­denda looks a lit­tle lurid but it’s all func­tional, from the large cool­ing ducts at the front to the ad­justable rear wing.

If it all sounds cir­cuit-ready, you’re right. But so of­ten, Porsche’s ge­nius lies in mak­ing cars that can both dec­i­mate track days and pro­vide en­gag­ing daily trans­port.

The GT4 is cer­tainly one of those. The sheer grip of the thing of the thing is stag­ger­ing and there’s se­ri­ous hard­ware at work, in­clud­ing track-bi­ased sta­bil­ity con­trol, a me­chan­i­cal dif­fer­en­tial lock and Porsche Torque Vec­tor­ing, which can ap­ply more power to the out­side-rear rear to in­crease cor­ner­ing speed and com­po­sure.

But it’s also a joy to drive at per­fectly le­gal on-road speeds. The steer­ing re­sponse is im­me­di­ate, the noise sen­sa­tional and the chas­sis dy­nam­ics enor­mously en­gag­ing. Even the ride is quite good at ur­ban speeds, de­spite the hard-core un­der­pin­nings and mon­ster tyres.

This GT4 is ob­so­lete, but it’s also of­fi­cially the most awe­some Cay­man ever made.

The Cay­man we all waited for. It only took Porsche 10 years to cre­ate the GT4.

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