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2022 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS has the heart of the 911 GT3

This track-ready model packs a lot of Cayman firsts.

After 16 years Porsche is finally giving its mid-engined Cayman sports car the RS treatment, and it's a banger. The 2022 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS just made its debut Tuesday night ahead of the Los Angeles Auto Show, and it packs the 4.0-liter flat-six engine from the Porsche 911 GT3.

Yup, you read that right. Instead of the existing Cayman GT4's 4.0-liter engine, which was derived from the regular 911 Carrera's 3.0-liter unit sans turbochargers, the GT4 RS uses the 992 GT3's unique 4.0-liter flat-six. In the Cayman it puts out 493 horsepower and 331 pound-feet of torque, increases of 79 hp and 14 lb-ft over the standard GT4 and only slightly less than what the GT3 makes. The best part is that the GT4 RS' engine revs to a 9,000 rpm redline, matching the GT3. The existing GT4 redlines at "only" 8,000 rpm, so the GT4 RS should have an absolutely maniacal sound and character -- especially with the optional titanium exhaust tips.

The only transmission option is a seven-speed dual-clutch PDK automatic, which has shorter gearing than the optional PDK in the standard GT4 and the same manual-esque shifter design as in the 911 GT3. Porsche says the GT4 RS will hit 60 mph in just 3.2 seconds, half a second quicker than the regular GT4 with PDK and the same time as the GT3, and it'll hit a top speed of 196 mph, 9 mph greater than the standard GT4 and 1 mph slower than the GT3.

It has the heart of a 911 GT3.

Porsche

This being a Porsche RS model there are a host of aerodynamic and chassis changes aimed to extract maximum track performance. The most immediately noticeable difference is the swan-neck rear wing, which is inspired by the 911 RSR race car. The GT4 RS also has an adjustable front splitter, new side blades ahead of the front wheels, vented front fenders, NACA ducts in the hood, a new rear diffuser and underbody, and rad air intakes that replace the Cayman's rear side windows. Porsche says the GT4 RS generates up to 25% more downforce than the regular GT4.

Ride height has been lowered by 1.2 inches and the GT4 RS uses 20-inch forged aluminum wheels with center locks, a first for the Cayman. The standard tires are Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 or Dunlop Sport Max, but super sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R rubber is optional. The adjustable suspension has new dampers, revised springs and anti-roll bars, and new ball joints. Porsche says the GT4 RS is 49 pounds lighter than a PDK-equipped GT4, with weight saving measures including a lightweight rear window, new door panels with fabric door pulls, and carbon-fiber reinforced plastic construction for the hood and front fenders.

The GT4 RS generates a lot of downforce.

Porsche

An optional Weissach Package gives the hood, air intakes, side mirrors and rear wing a carbon-fiber finish. The Weissach pack also adds titanium exhaust tips, a Porsche script on the rear window, a Race-Tex suede dashboard, and Weissach RS badges and headrest stitching. An extra-cost option for Weissach-equipped cars are magnesium wheels, which are available in a rad Deep Sea Blue finish to match the color the titanium exhaust will get when hot. Porsche expects around 70% of GT4 RS buyers to spec the Weissach package, similar to the take rate on the 991 GT3 RS and GT2 RS models. The images here show a Euro-spec model with the rollcage-adding Clubsport package that won't be offered in the US.

All of this adds up to an absolute monster on the race track. The GT4 RS already set a blistering Nürbugring lap time of 7 minutes and 9.3 seconds around the track's longer configuration, and on the previously used shorter track the RS is nearly 24 seconds quicker than the standard GT4. Porsche's original goal for the 'Ring was a time of 7 minutes and 15 seconds -- the RS just happened to be a whole lot quicker.

Blue wheels!

Porsche

Head of Porsche's GT division Andreas Preuninger says the GT4 RS is "the most intense car we've ever done, 911 R included," adding that it will "make history as one of the most emotional GT cars to date." That's a big claim, but I believe it. Preuninger says the GT division always wanted to do an RS version of the Cayman, with customers asking for it since the original GT4 came out in 2015, but it had to fit into the life cycle of the car. "Right now is the best time for the climax."

When it goes on sale next summer the GT4 RS will start at $143,050 including destination, a $40,500 increase over the standard GT4 but $20,700 cheaper than the 911 GT3. The best part? Porsche isn't limiting production. The GT4 RS will remain on sale for as long as the 718 Cayman does, which should be for at least a few years until the electric replacement for the 718 comes out in the middle of the decade.