Teenage Kicks

Growing up as a teenager I avidly recall having posters of cars on my bedroom walls. If I remember rightly the walls were adorned by three manufacturers and their poster cars at the time were Lamborghini Countach, Ferrari F40 and the Porsche 959. All three cars were amazing for their own reasons. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to buy either the Ferrari or the Lamborghini yet, but I have had a few Porsches.

I remember buying my first Boxster; it was a used car that looked absolutely mint. Starting the engine literally sent a shiver down my spine; with the engine being pretty much behind your head it just sounded amazing. You would find yourself driving through tunnels just so you could hear the symphony of rasps and pops from the exhaust. I have been lucky enough to drive the vast majority of the range and the 911 GT3 is the most amazing piece of kit around. The car is so track focused it really gives you an insight of what it must be like for a Formula 1 driver going around the world’s best race tracks.

This brings me neatly onto the car I have driven this month. The Cayman has been on the scene for quite a few years now. Porsche recently launched the Cayman GTS which was fantastic, but the car I have recently driven feels like it’s on a banned substance. The Cayman GT4 was pretty much sold out with letters of intent alone. So, when it was officially launched on the Porsche website, the poor dealers literally couldn’t keep up with demand. Despite costing £64,451 the car is totally sold out. The only way to get one will be to pay a decent premium over  the list price.

The engine from the 911 Carrera S has been spun through 180 degrees and it sits in the middle of the car. Porsche have also fitted a 6-speed manual gearbox and it has a lighter flywheel which saves over 1.4kg alone. The gear-lever has been chopped down by 20mm and this helps make the gear changes feel really punchy and you can’t help but jab the gear lever around the gate. If you put the GT4 against a normal Cayman you will notice the GT4 is 34mm longer because the engine needs more cooling. Re-profiling the front end has allowed the GT4 to be the first Cayman to generate genuine downforce to the front and rear. The front suspension comes from the 911 GT3 – it sits 30mm lower than a standard Cayman and it has a 13mm wide track. Adorned to this GT4 is the most stunning alloy wheels ever – the car can only be described as being the best looking Cayman! Weight has been reduced by using Alcantara throughout the car and it tips the scales at lightweight 1340kg. When you think of the power from the engine and the lightweight body this car really is a flying machine.

Purchasers can opt for the club sport pack at £2,670 which adds roll hoops, six-point harnesses and a fire extinguisher. But beware – choose this and you also have to pay £1,907 for the seats that first appeared in the 918 Spyder. The car’s top speed is 180mph and the car gets to 62mph in 4.4 seconds. For anyone interested the car should average 27mpg, although while I had the car it managed to return just over 20mpg.

Even on the softer of the two adaptive damper settings the bodywork is impeccably controlled. The steering, gearbox, brake and throttle response are so precise and predictable. The boffins at Porsche say the GT4 is a total track focused car indeed. Drive it around a circuit and within a few minutes you realise this car was made to be driven around race tracks. After driving it on the track it really is one of the best driver’s cars in the world. If you were expecting the GT4 to drive like a mid-engine GT3 then you will be disappointed; the GT3 feels much sharper in its engine avid chassis response. The GT4 could have been made to feel like a GT3 but I am sure it would have cost much more than the asking price. And, of course, if that had been the case, how many people would have opted not to buy the much more expensive GT3?  My verdict? It’s a traditional feeling sports car and it has to be the best Cayman ever…

Car supplied by Porsche Newcastle | porschenewcastle.co.uk