May 16, 2021


Connecting People

2021 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 review: Now with PDK

The GT4 is now readily available with a guide or automatic.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

Some items cannot be quantified. The sound of a by natural means aspirated flat-6 engine spinning at eight,000 rpm. Loud-and-obvious comments felt by way of a steering wheel. The crisp, rewarding motion of a guide transmission clicking from gear to gear. All of these sensations are paramount to the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 practical experience. So what comes about if you choose one particular away?


  • Tremendous-sharp reflexes
  • Potent and sonorous flat-6 power
  • Swift-shifting twin-clutch transmission

Do not Like

  • Compact paddle shifters
  • Outdated infotainment tech
  • Cannot switch the guide practical experience

For 2021, the Cayman GT4 is readily available with Porsche’s 7-pace PDK twin-clutch automatic transmission. It is the identical gearbox you may find in a whole lot of the firm’s other sporting activities vehicles, and it comes with a number of advantages. Irrespective of incorporating sixty eight kilos to the GT4’s suppress excess weight, the Cayman is more quickly with PDK. It will strike sixty mph in seconds, as opposed with 4.2 seconds with the guide transmission. PDK also will allow the engine to generate a skosh a lot more torque — 317 pound-feet, up from 309 — and even makes the GT4 a minimal a lot more efficient, with one-mpg boosts across the board. Of training course, the consequence is a continue to-dismal 18 mpg metropolis, 24 mpg highway and 20 mpg blended, but hey, any enhancements are excellent.

No surprise, PDK will work beautifully with the GT4’s 4.-liter flat-6. Remaining to its individual equipment, gear improvements are as easy as they are swift, and they are perfectly timed, much too. The transmission is aware of when you are driving tricky and retains gears around redline to accommodate. Push the PDK Sport button on the center stack and the DCT is even a lot more warn, preserving the engine revving significant to eke out each and every one particular of its 414 horsepower. Sense like deciding on your individual journey? Metal paddles connected to the steering wheel allow you get in touch with up your individual shift logic, and inputs are rewarded with rapid responses. I desire the paddles ended up much larger and mounted on the column — the proper way — but as far as twin-clutch transmissions go, it truly is seriously tricky to conquer PDK.

But though the DCT’s enhancements are undeniably obvious, what the GT4 gains in goal functionality it loses in subjective satisfaction. So substantially of why I like the Cayman GT4 comes down to its raw, involving character in phrases of driver comments, contemporary vehicles do not get substantially far better than this. The conventional 6-pace guide transmission heightens that engagement, pulling you into the practical experience with a weighty clutch pedal, a significant gear lever and a short-toss ‘box so tactile you may find you clicking by way of the gears at stoplights simply since it feels that excellent.

I’ve read a whole lot of people complain about the GT4’s guide transmission, expressing the gearing is much too lengthy to seriously make it pleasurable. But I do not get the despise. Just since you do not have to shift as often isn’t going to suggest you cannot. You do not will need to constantly operate amongst 6,000 and eight,000 rpm in the GT4 to have a whale of a time the 4.-liter engine has ample midrange shove. You are not placing lap information on public roadways, just after all. If you want to shift, just freaking shift.

I desire the PDK automobile had much larger paddle shifters.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

Continue to, whichever transmission you pick, the GT4 is a fantastic automobile. Porsche’s 718 chassis can quite substantially do no completely wrong, and in this most aggressive spec, it truly is a joy to wring out in excess of and in excess of up and down my favorite canyon roadways. A regular stream of comments flows by way of the Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel, and I can experience reverberations from the sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires up by way of the chassis and into the mounted bucket seats. These carbon fiber-bolstered chairs are not precisely created for lengthy-haul comfort and ease, but then again, neither is the GT4.

Yet at the identical time, the Cayman is shockingly livable. The chassis just isn’t so rigid that it’s going to punish you for driving on tough pavement, which is remarkable contemplating how taut this automobile is on a mountain highway. Wind and tire noise certainly make themselves identified, but it truly is very little you cannot drown out with a couple of twists of the stereo quantity knob. Or, you know, just open up the sport exhaust and dig into the throttle. There’s very little like the wail of a flat-6.

These entire bucket seats are nicely supportive.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The Cayman’s inside is unquestionably demonstrating its age, even though the straightforward arrangement of mounted buttons on the center stack makes them quick to locate though driving, and there is certainly a fulfilling simply click to their motion. The fabric doorway pulls have nonetheless to eliminate their novelty, and do not ignore, the Cayman is also pretty purposeful. The mid-engine layout implies there is certainly a deep frunk and a small but usable baggage compartment under the rear hatch.

If there is certainly one particular location the place the 718 seriously feels out-of-date, it truly is in the tech office. The GT4’s seven-inch coloration touchscreen runs the oldest iteration of Porsche’s PCM software with a fairly standard menu framework. You can get Apple CarPlay but Android Vehicle continues to be unavailable. Want the latest and biggest driver help characteristics? You’ve got bought the completely wrong automobile, pal.

Appear closely and you may discover this Gentian Blue GT4 has a roll cage behind the seats, but do not get much too thrilled. This is element of a Clubsport package deal that just isn’t readily available in the US that includes a 6-issue seat belt for the driver and a lightweight fire extinguisher since, you know, racing can be harmful. The only motive this unique automobile has the Clubsport alternative is since it truly is a German-spec GT4 that Porsche imported to the US for screening. The European number plate on the front bumper just isn’t just for show, is what I’m expressing.

Like the appear of Gentian Blue.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The 2021 Cayman GT4 begins at $102,550, which include $one,350 for location, and the new PDK alternative provides $three,210 to the base line. Seize a couple of key alternatives like the entire bucket seats ($5,900), carbon ceramic brakes ($eight,000), LED headlights ($2,one hundred forty) and a not-dull paint coloration (you can get it in Frozen Berry pink!) and a nicely optioned GT4 will operate you around $125,000. Taking into consideration this thing can chase down supercars costing 2 times as substantially, that significant-sounding value tag oddly feels like a bargain. Odd, I know.

Would I personally go for the PDK alternative in the Cayman GT4? No. It takes away from the driving practical experience much too substantially for my liking, and the functionality gains cannot make up for that reduction of involvement. The Cayman GT4 is one particular of the world’s ideal sporting activities vehicles, and that is accurate whether you go guide or automatic. But for a automobile that is so centered on an all-encompassing sensory practical experience, I cannot imagine buying one particular devoid of a historically quintessential aspect of the bond amongst automobile and driver.