Where for art thou, Porsche Cayman 718 GT4 981C?

Porsche has now released second-generation iterations of the Type-991 GT3 and GT3 RS. It has also cooked up a Type-991 GT2 RS with 700hp and most recently confirmed the 991 will also be given a swansong in the form of Speedster treatment. The Paris motor show has likewise just been and gone. And, still, there’s no sign of a follow up to the smash hit that was 2016’s Cayman GT4. Nor has the closely related Boxster Spyder received an update.


Meanwhile, the existing Cayman and Boxster twins, now branded 718, are coming to the end of their life cycles and cars that look very much like development mules for putative 718 GT4 and Spyder models have been spotted on public roads and test tracks for at least a year. Just days before we go to press, a GT4-style car has once again been seen lapping at Monza in Italy. So, what exactly is going on? Very likely a major part of the explanation involves the recent imposition of the new WLTP (Worldwide harmonised Light vehicles Test Procedure) emissions testing regime. For starters, that’s causing a major backlog in terms of getting cars certified for road legality. A low-volume-model like the GT4 won’t be high priority for the VW Group’s apparently scarce WLTP-testing resources.

2019 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 981C

2019 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 981C

The related imposition of a new particulate filter for petrol engine cars may also be a factor. Several reps from Porsche’s GT car department have indicated a preference to retain natural aspiration for GT models bar the 911 GT2. It may be the marriage of a particulate filter with a high-revving naturally aspirated motor is problematical.

Whatever, for some time expectations for the GT4 have centred on a 4.0-litre flat six either closely or loosely related to the same-capacity unit in the latest 911 GT3. More recently, reports of a rethink have emerged. Porsche has decided to revert to the old 3.8-litre unit from the first GT4, to which the 991.1 Powerkit will be applied for a total output around 420hp. So the story goes, at least. It’s just possible Porsche is saving the GT4 up for the LA Auto Show in late November. After that the next available slot is Geneva in March. If it hasn’t appeared by then, it may be that the whole WLTP saga has been enough to kill the GT4 off altogether. Watch this space.

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