Expectations were high when Porsche launched the second Cayman GT4 a year and a half ago. And they were basically fulfilled. But the top model of the 718 gang had a hard time surpassing what the GT models actually specialize in. The heart jumped in the triangle in view of the ingredients: naturally aspirated engine, 8,000 revs, hardly any filter – as if painted! The performance as such, however, didn’t quite get off the ground. At least not to the usual extent. Around 70 kilos more than the predecessor, plus the long gear ratio, understeer was a constant problem on the racetrack, and then something happened that should never happen to a Porsche under any circumstances. Something that wasn’t meant to happen and hasn’t happened since the dawn of time: The Cayman GT4 lost a comparison test! Because of the braking values!
The top priority
At Porsche, the brakes are not only part of the high performance standards, but also form their basis. Reason enough for us to investigate the cause.
It is important to know that the brakes at Porsche are not only part of the high performance standards, but also form the basis of them. It’s the benchmark discipline and therefore, by default, “best in class”: in the Cayenne, the Panamera, and even more so in the GT models, which made the defeat doubly bitter. And for us, it was the reason to investigate the cause.
But let’s start at the beginning, with the trigger of the tin-foil. In the 11/2020 issue, the Cayman GT4 was pitted against two of its (few serious) rivals: the M2 CS and an Exige Sport 410. Like the Porsche, both were on semi-slicks, and both were relegated to the back seats in no time at all. The slightly beer-bellied BMW lacked agility, and the Lotus couldn’t get its power-to-weight ratio around the corner properly due to a lack of lock. The end result: 1.0 and 2.7 seconds respectively behind on the Hockenheim lap – easy game for the Cayman, the usual picture.
But while its rivals converted their tire grip into excellent braking values, the Porsche ended up with a comparatively meager 34.4 meters-and in third place in the end. Much to the discomfort of the GT bosses, as we heard.
Nevertheless, we’re not talking about brake problems in the general sense here, of course. No, we’re talking about a detail that arises purely from the difference between the level of aspiration and the level of performance. And which is made interesting by the fact that it is not an isolated case. As our test history shows, all (!) sport-tired 718 Cayman GT4s brake worse than all (!) standard 718s on civilian rubber! How can that be? What turns the grip advantage into the opposite? Can’t the ABS handle the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 N1 properly?