Some things can't be quantified. The sound of a naturally aspirated flat-six engine spinning at 8,000 rpm. Loud-and-clear feedback felt through a steering wheel. The crisp, rewarding action of a manual transmission clicking from gear to gear. All of these sensations are paramount to theexperience. So what happens if you take one away?
For 2021, the Cayman GT4 is. It's the same gearbox you'll find in a lot of the company's other sports cars, and it comes with a number of benefits. Despite adding 68 pounds to the GT4's curb weight, the Cayman is quicker with PDK. It'll hit 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, compared with 4.2 seconds with the manual transmission. PDK also allows the engine to produce a skosh more torque -- 317 pound-feet, up from 309 -- and even makes the GT4 a little more efficient, with 1-mpg increases across the board. Of course, the result is a still-dismal 18 mpg city, 24 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined, but hey, any improvements are good.
No surprise, PDK works beautifully with the GT4's 4.0-liter flat-six. Left to its own devices, gear changes are as smooth as they are quick, and they're perfectly timed, too. The transmission knows when you're driving hard and holds gears near redline to accommodate. Press the PDK Sport button on the center stack and the DCT is even more alert, keeping the engine revving high to eke out every one of its 414 horsepower. Feel like choosing your own adventure? Metal paddles attached to the steering wheel let you call up your own shift logic, and inputs are rewarded with immediate responses. I wish the paddles were larger and mounted on the column ---- but as far as dual-clutch transmissions go, it's really hard to beat PDK.
The Good ~ Super-sharp reflexes ~ Strong and sonorous flat-six power ~ Quick-shifting dual-clutch transmission
The Bad ~ Small paddle shifters ~ Outdated infotainment tech ~ Can't replace the manual experience
The Bottom Line With its new PDK dual-clutch transmission, Porsche's 718 Cayman GT4 is still a brilliant performer, but isn't quite as fun.
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