The most powerful Cayman ever and just possibly a swansong for Porsche’s mid-engine model
New 2020 Cayman GT4 RS spotted testing
It’s a car many thought would never happen. But Porsche is very likely preparing to launch a 718 Cayman GT4 RS and thus release the most hardcore variant ever of its modern mid-engine sports car family. The case for the prosecution involves 718 GT4-based mules with obvious RS-style cues seen testing both on the open road and at the Nürburgring. Telltale signs that the car in question is an RS rather than a regular GT4 are numerous. First up, a pair of NACA ducts are fitted to the front bonnet, just like the 911 GT3 RS and GT2 RS models, and likely providing additional cooling for the RS model’s uprated front brakes.
Moving rearward, the Cayman’s small quarter-light windows have been replaced buy a pair of louvred covers which obscure air intakes for the engine compartment. Right at the back, meanwhile, an even larger and more aggressive rear wing is attached courtesy of so-called swan-neck supports similar to those on the 718 GT4 Clubsport racer, all in the name of improved aerodynamic performance.
Of course, the images shown here depict a development car rather than the final retail product. So some features may be missing and indeed many elements may be subject to change. Details such as a plastic rear screen and further aero features may appear when the car is finally revealed. For now, the two most pressing unknowns involve the car’s engine and gearbox. If Porsche’s recent form holds, the RS will be available exclusively with a PDK gearbox. In recent years, Porsche’s argument is that RS models are for track rats seeking ultimate circuit performance. For that remit, PDK is simply faster than manual.
As for the engine, some rather hopeful speculation points to the adoption of the GT3’s outrageous 9000rpm motor. However, we think that is unlikely. For starters, Porsche spent heavily to create a substantially new 4.0-litre engine for the latest GT4 and Spyder pairing. Porsche has since indicated its intention to make the most of that investment by virtue of fitting that new unit to further 718 models in future. Moreover, Porsche’s model hierarchy tends to militate against a 718 model with true GT3 power and the cost of the GT3 engine would make for a very expensive Cayman indeed.
With all that in mind, the most likely engine solution will be a slightly higher revving iteration of the 4.0-litre GT4 engine knocking out around 450hp. Assume a little weight saving, a dollop of additional downforce, perhaps larger and stickier tyres, not to mention an aggressively mapped PDK gearbox, just possibly wearing an ‘S’ suffix, and you have a recipe for significantly superior lap times to a standard GT4 and a model worthy of the RS moniker.
As for why the GT4 RS is happening now given Porsche’s reticence to create such a model previously, there are several plausible reasons. Experimentation over recent years starting with the Cayman R and progressing through two iterations of GT4 has convinced Porsche that it can offer upmarket Caymans without threatening the golden egg laying goose that is the 911.
What’s more, with the 718 lingering on in product cycle terms beyond the point at which it would normally have been replaced, Porsche is under some pressure to keep the model line looking fresh and exciting. A GT4 RS would certainly help with that. Finally, given the 718 is due to be replaced by an all-electric model in the early to mid 2020s, Porsche may view an RS model as a fitting swansong as it waves goodbye to its combustion powered entry-level sports car. Whatever Porsche’s precise thinking, what we can say with confidence is that that 718 GT4 RS will almost certainly be a corker.