Automobiles

Cayman GT4: Porsche's purest sports car gets a harder edge

For those would-be Cayman owners looking for more power and handling prowess, Porsche is introducing the race-ready Cayman GT4.

It's Porsche's hottest Cayman yet. Josh Miller/CNET

GENEVA -- The GT3 editions of the 911 have long been the most coveted by those who value a lot of track-ready performance from their Porsches. But the 911 itself continues on a long, slow march away from its pure, sporting roots, with each generation getting bigger and bigger. The Cayman was the blissful solution to that problem, a smaller, purer expression of Porsche's sporting heritage.

If the Cayman has a problem it's a lack of oomph, and with the new Cayman GT4 that gets fixed. This hotted-up two-seater receives a 385 horsepower, 3.8-liter flat-six from the 911 Carrera S, mounted exclusively to a six-speed manual transmission. (No PDK here.) Despite having to step on a pedal and move a stick the car still sprints to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds.

Suspension, brakes and chassis have been upgraded as well, including many parts borrowed from the 911 GT3. Typically, we frown on parts-bin engineering, but given the source here we're more than happy to make an exception. Ceramic brakes are not standard, but are available.

It wouldn't be a Porsche GT model without a big wing on the back. Josh Miller/CNET

Inside, an Alcantara and leather interior has a similarly focused intent, while drivers can spec full-on carbon-fiber race buckets if they want to get even more serious. The big wing on the back also sells the point, while a more pronounced front fascia adds downforce and visual flare.

The Cayman GT4 hits dealers this summer, starting at $84,600 in the US (£64,451 in the UK). That's a $30,000 premium over a base Cayman -- a small price for what should be an amazing little car to drive.