The naturally aspirated flat-six makes a comeback!

The 2021 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS 4.0 is a naturally aspirated version of the existing 718 Cayman. An update of the current 718 Cayman GTS, the GTS 4.0 ditches the turbocharged, 2.5-liter flat-four engine in favor of a 4.0-liter flat-six mill. The engine is shared with the range-topping 2020 718 Cayman GT4, but detuned in order to slot the GTS 4.0 a bit lower in the lineup.

The 2021 718 Cayman GTS 4.0 was unveiled alongside an identical version of the 718 Boxster. The 2021 718 Cayman GTS 4.0 is expected to hit dealerships for the 2021 model year. Let’s find out more about it in the review below.

  • 2021 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS 4.0
  • Year:
    2021
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    flat-6
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    394
  • Torque @ RPM:
    309
  • Displacement:
    4.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    4.3 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    182 mph
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:

Exterior

  • Very similar to old GTS
  • New features here and there
  • Not as aggressive as the GT4
  • Unique details
  • Revised exhaust layout
  • No rear wing
left right
The GTS 4.0 doesn't look very different than the standard 718 Cayman, but that’s simply because the GTS doesn’t have too many unique features on the outside.

At first glance, we can only see a larger separation between the exhaust pipes, ’GTS 4.0’ decals on the side skirts, and ’GTS 4.0’ lettering on the rear fascia. It also features the usual dark details seen on previous GTS models. Features that set it apart include the black spoiler lip, black front air intake, and darkened foglamp and taillights lenses. Finally, the GTS 4.0 rides on exclusive, 20-inch alloys wheels finished in satin-gloss black.

2021 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS 4.0 Wallpaper quality Exterior
- image 880814
Other than that, the GTS 4.0 looks like a regular 718 Cayman, mostly because it doesn't feature the GT4's big rear wing.

Depending on where you stand, this is either good or bad. While some customers prefer a clear separation from the entry-level model, others are fine with the sleeper look. But needless to say, connoisseurs will know the difference when you floor the gas pedal because the naturally-aspirated flat-six sounds more menacing than the turbocharged, 2.5-liter flat-four.

Interior

  • Largely similar to old GTS
  • Infotainment display is a bit small
  • Revised instrument cluster
  • Sport Chrono clock on dash
  • Sportier seats
  • ’GTS’ logos
  • Loads of Alcantara
  • Looks like a race car inside
2021 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS 4.0 Wallpaper quality Interior
- image 880812
Just like the exterior, the interior of the GTS 4.0 is a standard 718 Cayman cabin with minor changes.

The upgrades are of the mild visual variety, mostly about materials that give it a more race-inspired look. Specifically, many surfaces are wrapped in Alcantara, starting with the steering wheel, which also features a stripe at the 12 o’clock position, and the seats. The GTS 4.0 comes with Sport Seats Plus as standard, so you’ll benefit from enhanced lateral support for spirited driving.

The gear lever and the door armrests are also covered in Alcantara, but you’ll find the soft material on the A-pillars and the roof as well. If you don’t like the all-black standard interior, you can order the optional GTS interior package, which adds Carmine Red or Chalk accents. You’ll find these colors on the rev counter, the seat belts, all decorative seams including the embroidered GTS emblem in the headrests and the Porsche lettering on the floor mats. Trim elements in carbon-fiber round off the GTS’ sporty cabin.

As far as tech goes, the 718 Cayman GTS 4.0 come as standard with Porsche Communication Management (PCM), which includes a high-resolution seven-inch touchscreen and the Sport Chrono package, including the enhanced Track Precision App. This latter is based on a design used in Porsche race cars and shows performance-related data on the PCM display and records it for later analysis. The online navigation module with real-time traffic information, voice control and Porsche Connect are available are optional, as are the Bose Surround Sound System and Burmester High-End Surround Sound System.

Drivetrain

  • 4.0-liter flat-six from the GT4
  • Detuned engine compared to GT4
  • 394 horsepower
  • 309 pound-feet of torque
  • 0 to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds
  • Top speed of 182 mph
  • Six-speed manual
  • PDK to be offered later on
2021 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS 4.0 Wallpaper quality Exterior
- image 880813
The unit of choice is the 4.0-liter offered in the range-topping, limited-edition Cayman GT4.

When Porsche revised the Cayman and Boxster in 2016, it replaced the flat-six engines with turbocharged, flat-four engines displacing 2.0 or 2.5 liters, depending on model. It was a really big change for the 718 nameplate. The GTS, launched in 2017, was turbocharged as well, receiving the 2.5-liter mill from the Cayman S. With Cayman enthusiasts not exactly happy with this move, Porsche wanted to revert the GTS to naturally aspirated flat-six power. And the engine of choice for the GTS 4.0 is the 4.0-liter offered in the range-topping, limited-edition Cayman GT4. Hence the ’4.0’ badge, obviously.

Although it shares displacement with the engine in the 911 GT3, this 4.0-liter flat-six is actually a new design, so it doesn’t borrow too many internals. The mill cranks out a solid 414 horsepower and 309 pound-feet of torque in the Cayman GT4, the most powerful 718 to date. Naturally, Porsche doesn’t want to dilute the GT4 so it detuned the powerplant for the Cayman GTS 4.0 to 394 horsepower. Torque remains the same as in the Cayman GT4 at 309 pound-feet.

This rating places the GTS 4.0 some 33 horsepower above the old turbocharged GTS. However, it lags behind in the torque department by eight pound-feet, which is normal given the naturally aspirated layout of the flat-six. Compared to the 718 Cayman S, the GTS 4.0 benefits from an extra 49 horsepower and similar torque.

So how quick is the new GTS 4.0? Given the detuned state of the engine, which lacks 20 horsepower compared to the GT4, the GTS 4.0 is a tenth-second slower to 60 mph compared to the range-topping model. The Cayman GT4 hits the benchmark in 4.2 seconds, so the GTS 4.0 gets there in 4.3 seconds. The GTS 4.0 is also a tenth-second quicker than the old GTS fitted with the manual transmission, but it’s slower than the PDK version, which reaches 60 mph in 4.1 seconds. Likewise, it’s almost a half-second slower than the old GTS with the PDK and the Sport Chrono Package. At the same time, it’s slower than the PDK-fitted variant of the Cayman S.

Although it was initially believed that the Cayman GTS 4.0 will come with a PDK option, Porsche said nothing about the dual-clutch transmission. Until further notice, it seems that this coupe is a manual-only sports car for now. Good news for old-school Porsche fans I guess.

As far as top speed goes, the GTS 4.0 is slower than the Cayman GT4, which tops out at 189 mph. The 4.0 runs out of juice at 182 mph, seven mph slower. However, it’s a tad faster than the old GTS, rated at 180 mph.

The chassis is clearly sports-oriented thanks to a standard Porsche Active Suspension Management system that lowers the ride height by 20 millimeters (0.8 inches). It also features a Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) system with mechanical limited-slip rear differential, which delivers a good balance between dynamic handling and everyday comfort. Stopping power comes from cross-drilled discs and red calipers, but you can go with the optional Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake system for increased performance.

Prices

2021 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS 4.0
- image 880827
Although it shares the engine with the Cayman GT4, the GTS 4.0 will be notably more affordable.

That’s the whole point of this model though, to offer a naturally aspirated version that’s not as exclusive and expensive as the GT4. The current GTS is no longer available in the U.S. as of January 2020, but it used to cost $80,700. The GTS 4.0 will be more expensive than that, but it won’t cost as much as the Cayman GT4, priced from $99,200. My best guess is that the GTS 4.0 will come in at around $88,000, some $11,000 more affordable than the Cayman GT4.

Competition

Lotus Evora GT430

2017 Lotus Evora GT430 High Resolution Exterior
- image 724277

The Evora is already 11 years old as of 2020, but it can still give the 718 Cayman a run for its money thanks to its lightweight design and solid power-to-weight ratio. Thankfully, Lotus updated the Evora over the years and it’s now offering the GT430, a beefed-up version that’s ready for track duty. The updated, supercharged 3.5-liter V-6 is now capable of cranking 410 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque, more than enough to pose a threat to the GTS 4.0. The extra power also enables the Evora GT430 to hit 60 mph in just 3.9 seconds and top out at 186 mph. While top speed might be a bit inferior, the sprint to 60 mph is notably quicker. The British sports car also matches Porsche’s transmission offering, with both a manual and an automatic available. Although it’s a more suitable rival for the Cayman GT4, the Evora GT430 costs just as much as the GTS 4.0, at around $90,000. Quite the good deal if you ask me.

Read our full story on the 2020 Lotus Evora GT430

Conclusion

2021 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS 4.0 Exterior
- image 880824

Porsche 718 Cayman and Boxster sales have dropped significantly since Porsche discontinued the naturally aspirated flat-six. So a new GTS with the six-cylinder mill in the GT4 is a great idea. Not only that, but the GTS 4.0 won’t cost as much as the GT4, so more enthusiasts will have access to it. Not only offered in a limited amount, the Cayman GT4 also costs more than the base 911, defeating the purpose of a more affordable nameplate. The Cayman GTS 4.0 fixes that and gives Porsche fans what they want. If you want more good news, the Spyder will also have a similar version.

  • Leave it
    • Slower than the turbo GTS?
    • Still a bit pricey
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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