2020 porsche 718 cayman gt4 rs

Should break cover by the end of 2018
by Ciprian Florea, on August 20, 2018, 10:00

When it unveiled the 2016 Porsche Cayman GT4 in February 2015, Porsche finally did what gearheads had been asking for a very long time: it allowed the mid-engined Cayman to live up to its true potential, which had been kept leashed to prevent it from being faster than the base 911. Now that the first Cayman GT4 has come and gone and the mid-engined sports car it was based on received a mid-cycle update, it’s time for a new track-ready coupe.

Ever since the first GT4 was announced, enthusiasts have been asking themselves whether Porsche will take things up a notch and develop a GT4 RS. But, despite favorable rumors and the fact that an RS version would make sense, a more powerful GT4 has yet to happen. This could change with the upcoming model. And even though there’s no confirmation whether it will be called the GT4 or GT4 RS, the new coupe will definitely pack a significantly beefed-up engine. So I’m tempted to go with an "RS" badge.

Updated 08/20/2018: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Cayman GT4 out for one final testing before its official debut set for the 2018 Paris Auto Show.

Continue reading to learn more about the Porsche Cayman GT4 RS.

Prosche 718 Cayman GT4 on Monza

Spy Shots

August 20, 2018: Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 caught testing one last time

May 15, 2018 - Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 caught testing at Nurburgring

February 13, 2018 - Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 caught playing in the snow

November 15, 2017 - Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 caught testing once again

Why Porsche Needs an Updated Cayman GT4?

Before we jump into the details, let’s discuss why Porsche would even need a more capable Cayman GT4. As a full-fledged GT in the Porsche lineup, it would be weird for the GT4 not to evolve into a traditional nameplate like the 911 GT3. It could also use an "RS" badge, either in addition to the GT4 or as a replacement model. Even the turbocharged 911 GT2 got upgraded into an RS at some point, so why skip the Cayman GT4? I’m not looking for reasons against it, but I’m sure some might argue that the RS badge is restricted to the 911.

Fortunately, this isn’t true, as Porsche already used it (to some extent) on the 718 race car of the late 1950s. So using it for the Cayman wouldn’t hurt Porsche’s heritage, especially now that the Cayman also sports a "718" emblem. Also, the GT4 could be both lighter and more powerful. Porsche could use even more carbon fiber to shed more pounds and squeeze more power from the flat-six engine. Just imagine all the fun you could have with a lighter and more powerful Porsche that benefits from all the advantages of a mid-ship layout.

Exterior

  • Design from facelifted Cayman
  • Sportier bumpers
  • New headlamps
  • Rear wing
  • Taillight strip

While the test car we spotted last year had plenty of camouflage front and rear, this new prototype is clean save for a bit of snow on the rear fascia. It looks ready to go into production, and just as we suspected, it’s a mix between the previous Cayman GT4 and the facelifted 718 Cayman.

Specifically, Porsche took all the aero features of the old GT4, with certain updates of course, and mixed them with the 718 Cayman’s new styling cues. Up front, highlight include a slightly wider front end with a new bumper with larger vents. The bumper has a more aggressive design, while the splitter suggests that you’re looking at the Cayman’s 911 GT3 equivalent. The GT4 RS will also have the new bi-xenon headlamps or the optional units with four-point DRLs.

Onto the sides, the wider wheel arches and beefed-up side skirts are complemented by the new character lines above and below the side intakes and the revised door handles. I can also see new mirror caps and redesigned, 20-inch wheels.

Much like the standard 718 Cayman, the GT4 changed dramatically around back. It sports new taillights with 3D LEDs and four-point brake lights, as well as the vintage-looking black strip with integrated "Porsche" lettering. This feature was first used on 1990s 911 Carreras and looks absolutely gorgeous on the Cayman. The wing and aggressive diffuser that make the GT4 stand out in the lineup gained minor changes for improved performance. Down below, the exhaust pipes sit further apart and it seems that the center diffuser is a bit more aggressive.

Interior

  • Sports seats
  • Leather and Alcantara
  • Standard Chrono package
  • Track Precision app

Note: Previous Porsche Cayman GT4 interior pictured here.

Inside, the new 718 Cayman GT4 will come with a number of extras compared to the standard model. Much like its predecessor, it will have sports seats upholstered in leather and Alcantara for improved lateral support and a smaller sports steering wheel.

The Sport Chrono Package will be standard, as will be the "Sport Plus" button that stiffens the suspension, sharpens throttle response, and quickens the steering. The Track Precision App, likely in upgraded form, will enable drivers to gather data while on the track. Options should include carbon-fiber racing bucket seats, among other motorsport-inspired goodies.

On top of the GT4-specific features, look for all the updates that came with the Cayman’s facelift. The list includes a revised dash with new A/C vents and an updated instrument cluster. You’ll also be able to add USB ports, Apple CarPlay, Porsche Car Connect, and even a premium sounds system should you be willing to sacrifice the car’s tremendous lightweight nature.

Drivetrain

  • Upgraded 3.8-liter flat-six
  • In excess of 400 horsepower
  • Optional PDK transmission
  • 0 to 60 mph in four seconds
  • Up to 190 mph

There’s no doubt that the new GT4 RS will be the quickest and most powerful Cayman ever made, but the drivetrain is still a mystery as of this writing. As you might remember, the 718 Cayman went turbo all the way, with both the 2.0- and 2.5-liter engines using forced induction. There have been reports that the GT4 might continue as a naturally aspirated car, but again, the specific engine is unknown.

Logic dictates that Porsche would go with an uprated version of the 3.8-liter flat-six that the previous GT4 borrowed from the 911 Carrera S, but the Germans could also use a detuned version of the 4.0-liter in the 911 GT3 RS. Either way, the flat-six will crank out well in excess of 400 horsepower. My bet is on around 430 horses, which will be a nearly 50-horsepower increase compared to the outgoing, 385-horsepower coupe. This output will also keep the GT4 RS well below the 911 GT3 RS.

The manual transmission is a certainty, but I expect Porsche to offer a PDK option too. Yes, the old GT4 didn’t get a PDK, but Porsche will probably want to fully exploit the car’s potential before it goes turbocharged for the next generation.

The more powerful engine and revised chassis components will also return improved performance. With the previous GT4 able to hit 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, the revised track car could hit the same benchmark in around four seconds. The PDK model will probably need less than four clicks. Top speed should also increase from 183 to around 187 mph.

Prices

It’s way too early to talk about prices here, but it’s safe to assume the GT4 RS will become the most expensive Cayman ever. With the previous GT4 priced from $84,600, the revised coupe will likely cost $90,000 before options. An official unveiling could occur at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show.

Competition

2016 Lotus Evora 400

Since 2009, Lotus has been giving the Cayman a good run for its money with the Evora. For 2016, the Brits have updated the sports car with a new body shell and a more powerful engine, making it a suitable competitor for the Cayman GT4 and the upcoming RS. The updated supercharged, 3.5-liter V-6 is now capable of 400 horsepower and 302 pound-feet of torque, which should be enough to pose a threat to the GT4 RS. The extra grunt also enables the Evora 400 to hit 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds and top out at 186 mph. This race car for the road will arrive in the U.S. with a sticker set at $89,900, which puts it on par with the GT4. Those not keen on rowing their own gears, the Lotus comes with an optional automatic transmission.

Find out more about the Evora 400 in our detailed review here.

2014 Alfa Romeo 4C

Alfa Romeo’s first mass-produced vehicle to arrive in the U.S. since 1995, the 4C is a milder proposition to the Cayman GT4 RS. Unlike the Porsche, it carries a much smaller, turbocharged, 1.75-liter four-banger rated at "only" 240 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Though it’s less powerful than the base Cayman, the 4C is quite quick in a straight line, needing only 4.5 seconds to reach 60 mph from a standstill. It might not be as track-focused as the Cayman GT4 RS, but it’s significantly more affordable at $54,000. There’s no word as to whether Alfa Romeo plans to build a more hardcore version of the 4C, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see one hit the streets in a couple of years.

Read more about the Alfa Romeo 4C here.

Conclusion

Though the Cayman GT4 is arguably the hottest compact sports car around, it’s hard not to dream about a more powerful version, especially since the first GT4 is long sold out. The GT4 RS would combine everything Porsche has learned while developing the new 911 GT3 with the advantages of a mid-ship configuration, which would result in a tremendous race car for the road. Moreover, a GT4 RS would also enable Porsche to develop a racing program for the Cayman and offer privateers a more affordable alternative to the 911. In the meantime, all we can do is keep our fingers cross for the Cayman GT4 RS to happen as soon as possible.

  • Leave it
    • Not confirmed for production yet
    • Would be pretty expensive

Update History

Updated 05/15/2018: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Porsche Cayman GT4 out for a new testing session around Nurburgring. Porsche is rumored to unveil the new Cayman GT4 in autumn at the 2018 Paris Motor Show.

Updated 02/13/2018: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Porsche Cayman GT4 out for a new testing session during cold winter conditions. New details suggest that the GT4 will be unveiled on March 6, at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show.

Updated 11/15/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 out for a new testing session - and as you can notice the exhaust pipes have moved out a few inches on each side.

Updated 05/09/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 out for a first testing session.

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