If you are using a laptop/computer to view this review, you will see the slideshow to the right of this text ->
I clicked 'play' and got writer's block after watching the images scroll. Putting this machine into words is no easy task - I have to convey the 'feeling' and 'emotion' that a driver has when sitting inside these high performance Sports Cars. The Porsche Cayman looks like an absolute animal! Pleasantries aside, I snatched the keys and said 'NO YOU ARE NOT COMING WITH ME' because I really wanted to experience 385hp (420NM) to myself! I wanted to compare this against my Porsche 911 Carrera S and see if the rumours are true.. Have Porsche built a car that is better than the 911? There is only one way to find out :P
Start up gives a lovely burble and although there's a Sports/Exhaust (what I have named the 'Saxo' button), I kept everything standard for my initial tests. My first though was the front feels SOLID. As in, for a RWD car there is something extra in the front suspension that makes me feel like this car is really hugging the tarmac at all four corners. These cars benefit from the Porsche 911 GT3 from setup, and has electronic steering which many loathe. I personally don't mind the electronic steering, partly because it feels very similar to the Sega Rally at the arcades - secondly because it feels very secure, like a modern VW. There's an unusual feedback that does feel 'computerised' but I smiled as I have experienced this before in the arcades (don't laugh) so continued my journey.
After a good half hour or town driving I took myself on the A1 Southbound to open the throttle! Yes I used full throttle in this car! Yes I re-lived my childhood fantasies! One thing I must say is.. if you are wanting to drive these types of car, I wouldn't suggest exercising its power in the wet/damp/rain as I did, because Sports/Super Cars are being crashed in the UK - and it is becoming a worry. Underneath my picture 'slideshow' is a picture of a crashed Porsche Cayman GT4 ->
The car is a write off, and a perfect example of why people shouldn't jump from a Ford Focus, and assume that jumping in a RWD Sports Car will be a doddle. Sadly, it doesn't work that way, and the evidence displayed should be enough to make us all think a little safer when driving ANY car on the road. I'm not sure what caused the accident, but it takes two hands to clap - or maybe in this case, plain bad luck or an incompetent driver. Regardless - my sharing of this image is to remind everybody that we aren't Super Heroes, and that accidents can happen. A good reason for caution, and finding a clear Dual Carriageway before exercising Wide Open Throttle (W.O.T.)
Back to my story. This car feels agile - pointy - responsive - everything I look for in a Sports Car. The interior is much more refined than the original Porsche Cayman and my aging model example of Porsche Heritage. This is a lovely car to be in, and it definitely needs this 3.8 Litre engine to hold it down on the road. I previously tested a Porsche Cayman 2.7 Litre and it felt flimsy. I wasn't impressed by the power delivery, because most of the 'drive' was spent clenching my rear buttocks on every bend, roundabout and dip in the tarmac. The Porsche Cayman 2.7 Litre wasn't the most pleasant experience, but wouldn't be bad as a 'town' runaround or something - I doubt I would drive one (for pleasure) again.
Probably one of the best chassis I've driven in a long while. The critics are absolutely right on that. Its tight. Its really tight! But not uncomfortable being driver or passenger. It feels like I can do anything in this car - but my fear of Mid Engine Cars refrains me from acting like a complete moron. I do now believe the Porsche Cayman needed a 3.8 Litre engine to feel safer on the road. It 'squats' perfectly, on and off load. I would very happily drive this car as a daily, even with its Manual Transmission - yes, they got that right too!
Nice shape. I'm not 100% keen on the Cayman myself, but it does look nice. Put it next to a Porsche 911 (991) GT3 and you can see who the daddy is. That doesn't put me off the car though - if I won a Porsche Cayman GT4 in a competition (or something) I would more than likely sell my 911 and keep the GT4 indefinitely. That is of course until I lost control and died somewhere remote on a Sunday morning. I'm still not 100% sold on Mid Engine Cars that don't have 4WD. Ferrari's scare the hell out of me too.
Hmm.. Should I be completely honest? Well this is a car review so yes.
I wasn't impressed. I pressed full throttle, and said I'd have to do it again (filmed on camera). After the second full throttle pull I wasn't impressed. I was disappointed in the car. I was expecting more power than it gave me, I was expecting more torque. Why is this car being a computer? Aaarrrgghhhh.
I decided not to scream and act like a woman (I know..) so instead I continued driving and took the next exit off the A1 South to explore some twisties. This is where the car really started to impress me! We had previously driven the car for around 30-40 minutes, and you would think that was enough for Engine/Exhaust Temperatures to raise enough for the car to produce decent power. What I found was, the more I requested power, the more it gave me. This was a surprise - a pleasant one! I've got power, and now its feeling like a 911. Oh yes. This is good.. The only downside was it took a thousand years before giving me power, and I would rather it be constantly on 'tap', as opposed to being hidden by an old man with a moustache in Germany said 'Nein! Nein! Sie kann es NICHT haben!!' Remapping the GT4 would soon resolve that, and it was the only thing I didn't like during my time in this car.
This thing is loud enough for a party of two. Or twelve! After all the driving and giggling and my complaining about the power which later turned into love - we reversed the car into the garage and made a short 'start and blip' video. It is ear deafeningly loud. Like, seriously loud. It crackles and spits with the aggression of a wild hunter, readying to chase its prey. On the road it isn't overly intrusive, my car makes a bit more racket with the Sports Chrono Exhaust. Again, software adjustment to his exhaust valves would get it shouting a bit more at opponents. For a factory Porsche its very nice! The 997 and 991 GT3 have a teensy bit more 'bite' from the exhaust but that doesn't put me off one bit.
This car is insane. By the end of my test I didn't want to give it back. It is an amazing machine - built by people who want us to feel completely involved in the driving experience. Taking this to the garage for petrol would be an enjoyable drive - so would a trip out for food shopping. It is one of the most perfect machines I've gotten my hands on. The brakes are good, the steering is good, the chassis is really good. Is it worth £65,000? Yes. 100% Yes. Like Yes, Yes! If I had £65,000 to spend on a car, would I buy a brand new Porsche Cayman GT4? Yes!
Nicholas Lawrence //ON CARS