Yes, you can finally get the new 718 Cayman with a naturally-aspirated 3.8-litre flat-six engine mounted in the middle, but only if you go to work in the mornings wearing Nomex underwear…
It looks like the folk in Zuffenhausen are as confused as everyone else on the market and the new Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport is proof.
The recurring theme throughout 2018, right up until the latest sales announcements for the year-end results, has been an abandonment of small cars with manufacturers like Ford flat out halting production of compacts in the US and GM to follow suit. In China, the biggest car market in the world, the news isn’t better either with sales declining for the first time in two decades. Apparently downsizing just isn’t cool any more.
Which brings us back to Zuffenhausen… Why did Porsche bother with the smaller flat-four engine in the new 718 generation of mid-engined sports cars only to go back to the glorious old naturally aspirated flat-six?
To be clear, the six is available exclusively in this new 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport and that last bit is your giveaway. This thing is destined fo the track and comes as a non-road-legal model only complete with everything you need to enter the next FIA gig in your neighbourhood.
With the rest of the world smitten with SUVs – going as far as racing the things now – Porsche is sticking to what it knows best, namely great flat-sixes. So if like us you were left slightly nostalgic after experiencing the new 718 models, the GT4 Clubsport is there to remind you of where it went wrong. You get a 3.8-litre making 425 horsepower at 7,500rpm (the base four-pot peaks at 6,500rpm) with dry-sump lubrication and a six-speed PDK transmission. Although recent Porsches have moved on to a new eight-speed PDK, the final two ratios are cruising gears and top speed is achieved in sixth anyway.
There’s no all-wheel steering or all-wheel drive here either, so everything goes to the slick rear Michelins. Depending on whether you order the Trackday or Competition specification, you can have air conditioning and a multifunctional steering wheel, or a quick-release item from the 911 GT3 R if you prefer. The rest is a full-house of FIA-certified bits like a welded-in roll-cage, a new roof with an integrated escape hatch, and an available 115-litre fuel cell.
Up front you get a suspension set-up from the 911 GT3 Cup and the whole thing weighs in at 1,320kg which is actually 15 kilos lighter than a standard four-cylinder 718 Cayman. Now all that’s left for Porsche to do is realise the error of their downsizing ways and lose the ‘Clubsport’ suffix for the road-going version of this GT4… Otherwise they might want to thinking about saving some of those slick Michelins for a Cayenne or two.