Porsche has finally pulled back the covers on its new 718 Cayman GT4 RS at the Los Angeles Auto Show – the new flagship of the 718 family designed to be “an uncompromising driver’s car,” and one that drastically outperforms its lesser sibling, the standard GT4.
Featuring a retooled lightweight construction that has it tipping the scales at 1415kg – a number fairly impressive by today’s standards of near-two-tonne performance cars – and a more agile chassis setup designed with driving on both tight and corner-laden public roads and on closed circuits in mind, the changes are already clearly paying dividends when it comes to the latter.
Claimed to outperform the standard GT4 on the Nürburgring Nordschliefe by more than 23 seconds, the engine that forms the centrepiece of the GT4 RS – the same 4.0-litre flat-six from the 911 GT3 and 911 GT3 Cup which revs to a staggering 9000rpm – no doubt plays a role in that extra turn of speed as well.
Producing 368kW (500PS) and 450Nm in the GT4 RS, slightly less than in the 911 GT3, it’s paired exclusively with Porsche’s seven-speed ‘PDK’ dual-clutch automatic transmission which now features shortened gear ratios to ensure it utilises all seven forward gears on offer. This also cuts its 0-100km/h (0-62mph) sprint time down to 3.4 seconds – half a second faster than the GT4 – but still has a higher top speed of 315km/h (196mph).
Externally, new air intakes take the place of what would have once been the rear side windows and there’s an absolutely massive wing tacked onto the rear hatch for enhanced aero. There’s also a set of blue 20-inch forged wheels made of aluminium on standard models, or magnesium on cars optioned with the Weissach package.
Weissach pack models also sport a number of carbon-weave finish exterior highlights including the bonnet and air inlets, along with a titanium exhaust system that pays homage to the 935, a titanium roll cage, and a Race-Tex dashboard.
To help keep the weight down on the standard GT4 RS, though, carbon fibre reinforced plastic panels are used for the bonnet and front wings, and the rear window is made of lightweight glass as well. Even on the inside – which is utterly lined with Alcantara – there are lightweight carpets and door cards, along with a reduction in sound insulation materals.
With chassis upgrades including uprated ball joints, RS-specific adjustable shock absorbers, and modified spring and sway bar rates, it’s no wonder the GT4 RS managed to lap the the shorter 20.6km version of the Nordschliefe that previously served as the benchmark in 7:04.511 – 23.6 seconds faster than the standard GT4 – while also lapping the 20.832km version of the track in 7:09.300 during the final stages of chassis tuning.
European deliveries of the GT4 RS are set to commence in December, with it coming at a starting price of €141,388. Here in Australia, it’s expected to start at $300,800 when it lands mid-2022. The GT4 RS Clubsport track version of the car – which was also shown alongside it at the Los Angeles Auto Show – will also start racing in several national and international race series starting in 2022.