Enthusiasts have been waiting for a knock-out car like the Porsche Cayman GT4 to lift the company out of the doldrums, writes Dan Neil
THE VENUE IS the Autodromo Internacional Algarve, a road-racing circuit caught like a thread on the rumpled lapel of the Monchique Mountains, near Faro in southern Portugal. It’s a place of kinematic clouds and warm onshore breezes that swell at sunset like opera. You would like it.
The Portimao circuit is about a 30-minute drive from the city of Portimao, or 15 if you are at the wheel of the new Porsche Cayman GT4, a scintillating, track-hardened version of the midengine Cayman from the lasers and forges of the GT division in Weissach, Germany. The GT4 is regarded as the cure for what ails not one but two models, in that it finally puts a 911 engine (385-hp, 3.8-liter flat six) in the lithe, deft, perennially underpowered Cayman; and it represents the closest thing to a midengine 911 GT3. In other words, the absolute zenith of human endeavor.
Enthusiasts have been waiting for this car like dogs paying lewd attention to pillows. And they won’t be disappointed, all 2,500 of them world-wide, annually. This is the nutter special. For one thing, no PDK, or automated transmission. The GT4 comes only with a traditional six-speed manual transmission with a pedal-lever clutch, an increasing rarity in any performance car. It’s a fantastic box, too, a cog-shifter of innate, greased precision and core-of-the-earth solidity, a cudgel of joy.