Porsche fanatics have long said the Cayman can upset the flagship 911 sports car given the right set of tools. Whether Porsche intentionally kept the Cayman in the 911’s shadow is up for debate, but the German automaker is silencing critics with the 2022 718 Cayman GT4 RS. Yes, this Crocodilian has a new heart and a speedier set of legs to conquer the racetrack, and it’s everything we expect from what Porsche claims is “the most thrilling and focused 718 yet.”
Porsche couldn’t have chosen a better engine for the job. It went straight for the beating heart of the brand’s 911 GT3 Cup racing car. Incidentally, it’s the same naturally-aspirated engine from a production 911 GT3. Immediately, naysayers are biting their tongues. The mere fact Porsche shoehorned a 911 engine into the Cayman suggests the automaker doesn’t mind if the GT4 RS steals a bit of the 911 GT3’s thunder (and the 911 in general).
Oh, and that engine is a rose-tinted ode to naturally-aspirated goodness. We’re talking about a 4.0-liter flat-six devoid of forced induction, pumping out 79 more horsepower than a 718 Cayman GT4. Capable of spinning to a heady 9,000 rpm, you have 493 horsepower and 331 lb-ft. of torque at your disposal, aching to unleash a sonorous orchestra of mechanical wizardry behind your ears.
The motor sends power exclusively to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox with paddle shifters. You can’t have a manual, but Porsche was kind enough to make the shift lever resemble a stick, and it features shorter gearing to push you from zero to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds. Keep mashing the go pedal, and the Cayman GT4 RS will keep pushing to a 196 mph top speed.
Lightweight & Slippery
The 2022 Porsche Cayman 718 GT4 RS not only got the engine of a 911. It also inherited the fixed rear wing of a 911 RSR race car (which is also on a 2022 911 GT3). It features old-school swan neck mounts and aluminum supports for maximum lightness and aero efficiency, pushing the rear and egging the rear tires to squirm for dear life.
The weight loss program includes carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) for the front fenders and hood, lightweight door panels, fabric door pullers, and featherweight glass. Porsche claims a curb weight of 3,277 lbs. (1,464 kg), about 49 lbs. less than a Cayman GT4 equipped with a similar dual-clutch gearbox.
Apologies if we can’t stop with the crocodilian references. It’s just that the 718 Cayman GT4 RS is a different breed of reptile, and you only need a passing glance to discern it’s packing a bitter bite. It sits 1.18-inches lower (30 mm) to the ground, a passing hint at the suspension genius underneath. It has adaptive Bilstein dampers and stiffer springs that offer a more comprehensive range of camber and toe adjustments to fine-tune the vehicle for track day use. And for the first time, the Cayman 718 GT4 RS has 20-inch forged alloy wheels with center locks to offer the timeless style (and convenience) of a hardcore racing machine.
Furthermore, the Weissach Package adds carbon fiber bits and pieces like the rear wing, mirror caps, cooling air intakes, and front hood. You also get a Porsche logo in the back window, Race-Tex material on the upper dashboard, titanium exhaust tips, and optional magnesium wheels.
Need a telltale sign that you’re looking at a 718 Cayman GT4 RS? Take a closer look at the rear windows, which are now RS-specific air intakes to feed the engine. In case you missed it, those intakes are sitting at ear level to make the hairs at the back of your neck stand at every gear change.
Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport
Porsche also has the Cayman 718 GT4 RS Clubsport, a turnkey racing car straight from the factory. It has the same 4.0-liter naturally-aspirated flat-six engine as the non-Clubsport Cayman RS, albeit pumping out 500 horsepower and more twist – 75 more horses than the outgoing GT4 Clubsport.
It also gets a seven-speed dual-clutch PDK gearbox with shorter gear ratios replacing the previous six-speed slushbox. “This is what our customer teams expect of us and what we demand of ourselves at Porsche,” said Volker Holzmeyer, President and CEO of Porsche Motorsport North America. “Acting on their feedback, we’ve made the new 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport more capable than ever.”
We’re not kidding in saying the Clubsport is a “turnkey” racing car. It’s a homologated variant for the SRO racing series, meaning you can buy it and take it straight to competition racing without further modifications. Other goodies include two-way adjustable racing shocks, adjustable double-blade anti-roll bars, larger brakes, an updated Porsche Stability Management (PSM) system, and more aero bits. Also worth mentioning are sustainable flax-based natural fiber composites for the doors, fenders, rear wings, and steering wheel.
Of course, no racing car is complete without a welded-in roll cage, an adjustable Recaro seat, six-point racing harnesses, an FIA-approved 30.4-gallon FT3 fuel cell, a built-in air jack system (for quicker servicing and tire changes), and a fire extinguisher.
2022 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Availability
The 2022 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS is arriving at dealerships next summer with a $143,050 MSRP (including the $1,350 destination fee). Meanwhile, the Clubsport starts at around $229,000. Our free and easy search tools* will show you which Porsche dealers in your area are offering the best prices. That tool will also reveal dealer inventory and the invoice price, which is a good starting point for negotiations.
Alvin Reyes is an Automoblog feature columnist and an expert in sports and performance cars. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.
Photos & Source: Porsche Cars North America, Inc.
*Although always free for you, Automoblog and its partners may receive a commission when you use the services provided through that link. MSRP figures are subject to change.