BMW, and their famous M3, have always ruled the sports car world. The M3 (and now M4 as well) have dominated cars within its price range since its inception. Nothing else was able to combine the handling chops, driving purity, fun and comfort that the M3 had. However, when Porsche released the Cayman in 2006, they stuck a big thorn in BMW’s side. Not only was the Cayman the best sports car in the segment, it was one of the best sports cars in the world. The new Cayman was released in 2013 and was almost immediately declared the best sports car in the world.
Unfortunately for BMW, Porsche has just made the spectacular Cayman even better.
Meet the Cayman GT4.
The Cayman S makes 325 hp from its 3.4 liter, flat-six and can hit 60 mph in 4.7 seconds, as claimed by Porsche (even though Car and Driver did the deed in 4.2). The new GT4 has a revised version of the 911’s 3.8 liter, flat-six, making 385 hp and can hit 60 mph from a standstill in a claimed 4.2 seconds (which is probably wildly underestimated). That isn’t the big news, however. The big news is that (purists rejoice!) it will come exclusively with a 6-speed manual. No PDK, 7-speed, twin-clutch auto available in the GT4. This comes as a major relief to those who saw the loss of the 911 GT3’s manual as a sign of Porsche going soft.
Other big news is the GT4’s suspension bits. Made with mostly 911 GT3 parts, the suspension is full-on track ready. The GT4 will also come with dynamic transmission mounts, and a 1.2” lower ride height. It also looks the part of a GT3 with its aggressive aero dynamics and huge rear-wing. Carbon ceramic brakes will also be available, to help the GT4 stop as well as it goes and handles.
All of this go-fast tech will make an already impressive handling car even more so. The standard Cayman was a formidable thing on both road and track, and could scare the pants off any sports car that dared to face it. This GT4 will make other sports cars run and hide. It should scare them even further considering the GT4 checks in at $85,595. That’s around $50,000 less than its 911 GT3 older brother.
Does BMW have anything that can compete? At the moment, the only car that BMW has to throw at the GT4 would be the M4, but I feel that’s an unfair fight. The M4 could take on the Cayman S, as both are similarly priced and have similar performance numbers. But the Cayman GT4 is a track-focused, hardcore sports car primed and ready to eat some of the best cars in the world for lunch. Would the M4 have a punchers chance?
If BMW comes out with a competition pack, it would. At the moment, the M4 doesn’t have its own ultra-performance variant, like the GT4 is to the Cayman. Some kind of competition pack, offering sportier suspension and brakes, a bump in power and some more aggressive aero bits, would put the M4 right into the conversation. Maybe take out the rear seats and offer carbon-shelled racing seats as well. All of this would lighten and tighten the M4 up and unlock some of its performance potential. There’s no doubt the M4 has the firepower to keep up in a drag race, in fact the M4 is faster in a straight line. With 425 hp, the M4 sprints to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, which should leave the GT4 for dead. Now imagine an M4 GTS in the near future.
However, once the road gets twisty, the GT4 could put a hurting on the M4. Not that the M4 is a bad handling car, in fact it’s quite fantastic, but the lighter, mid-engined GT4 is has an advantage in balance and grip. And with its lighter front-end, thanks to the mid-engine layout, it should produce a sharper turn-in. It definitely would be an interesting matchup, especially if the M4 gets some kind of competition pack. Could the raw power of the M4 be enough to top the quick-hitting GT4? I’m not sure, but I can’t wait to find out.
Let the Battle of The 4s begin.