Stuttgart's RS division is just a bunch of engineers having a blast.
When the Porsche Cayman first made an appearance back in 2005, most die-hard Porsche fans were not yet convinced of its performance potential, hell, they were still trying to get over the Boxster, but fast forward to 2022, and the hairdresser perception has done a full 180. The 2022 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS is the culmination of years of development, and Porsche's relentless pursuit to build the most immersive drivers cars known to man. Everyone knows something special is about to happen when Porsche slaps an RS badge on one of its vehicles, and this is the story of how the Cayman got its very own RS insignia.
When the Porsche Cayman GT4 broke cover in 2015, we were blown away by its near-perfect balance and free-revving 3.8-liter flat-six engine, but there will always be those who want an even more hardcore version. It turns out that those people were Porsche executives. As soon as the GT4 hit showroom floors, Andreas Preuninger, boss of Porsche's GT car department, and Wolfgang Hatz, Porsche's R&D chief, started toying with the idea of squeezing the 4.0-liter flat-six out of the Porsche 911 GT3 into the svelte body of the Cayman. His account of the matter follows below.
"I was very close to Wolfgang Hatz, and he said, 'Hey, come on, let's take a GT3 engine, and put it in a GT4. I know it doesn't fit, but we have to weld a little bit and use tools, just to see how it feels'. This must have been sometime in 2015 or 2016. So that's a great idea, but we never did it because it was just too much to do. And then his birthday came up, and we said, OK, we'll make a surprise for him. We'll make a prototype with the GT3 engine in a 981 because we wanted to do it anyway. And that was how the first test mule came into life." This tidbit of information was revealed to TopGear in what seems to have been a very playful, memorable conversation.
The first attempt at a GT4 RS was apparently so loud that it was nearly undrivable, but with a manual gearbox at play, it was an insane amount of fun.
"The car was absolutely amazing," beams Preuninger. "It was super loud so we already had the idea to get the air from the rear windows. And it was almost undrivable loud. But it was so much fun and it had a manual gearbox and we did a little bit of livery for his birthday. Anyway, we hid it in his garage and everyone's waiting in his garden for a surprise party and I was sitting in the garage and when he came, I cranked up the car and pumped the gas, and he's going 'what's in my garage?' and the garage opened and the car came out." Seriously, working for Porsche must be the best job on the planet.
Preuninger and Hatz were so impressed with the creation that they took it to a CEO meeting at Weissach proving ground, and everyone present was instantly blown away. After that meeting, things got on a serious roll, but the project would not be able to fit in the 981 life cycle, so it was decided that the 718 would play host to this beautifully crazy idea.
For those not in the know, the 2022 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS is powered by a 4.0-liter flat-six making 493 horsepower at 8,300 rpm and will spin right up to 9,000 rpm. A peak torque figure of 331 lb-ft is also made high up in the rev range. The GT4 RS will bolt to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds, and top out at 196 mph. Power is sent to the rear via Porsche's PDK wizardry.
In a world where fast ICE cars are a dying breed, the Cayman GT4 RS stands as a bastion of exuberance, and the manner in which it was birthed was just as jaunty.