2023 Porsche GT4 RS Review: 24 Hours in a Road-Legal Race Car
Ever since I spent 1000km behind the wheel of the Porsche GT3 last year, I’ve been itching to get back in a Porsche GT car. The Cayenne Turbo GT did an excellent job of keeping me sane, but I simply couldn’t stop thinking about the Porsche GT4 RS since I covered it at launch.
The sheer thought of the full-fat 4.0-litre flat six with 500HP wedged inside the nimble and lightweight chassis of the 718 Cayman was driving my car enthusiast brain crazy. Need I mention the tricks Porsche’s GT department came up with to intoxicate the driver, try carbon fibre air intakes that direct sound straight into the cabin and a lightweight stainless steel sports exhaust system.
The truth is, I can’t stop thinking about the GT4 RS to this day. It might be priced at $311,900 before on-road costs in Australia (around $100,000 more than the discontinued 718 GT4) but to the right buyer it’s worth every cent – if you’re lucky enough to score an allocation.
And that’s a particularly big if because Porsche just announced the 2024 718 Cayman Spyder RS (a roofless version of the GT4 RS) would be the last new 718 to feature a combustion engine. If we’re talking future classics, I’d bet you never lose a cent on a GT4 RS. Here are my thoughts.
RELATED: The upcoming 2024 718 Spyder RS could be the best modern Porsche.
How Does the Porsche GT4 RS Look?
As far as looks are concerned, our GT4 RS had the full kitchen sink thrown at it like a true Porsche press car.
Compared to a standard 718 Cayman, the body is 30 mm lower, the front track is 6 mm wider and the rear track is 8 mm wider. It produces 25 per cent more downforce than the 718 Cayman GT4 with the front diffuser and rear wing in their performance positions. Speaking of which, there’s a whopping great swan neck rear wing and cool-air NACA ducts in the bonnet.
It’s more exotic-looking than any Porsche on the road, at least until the GT3 RS turns up.
The Weissach Pack ($33,210) as equipped in our press car takes things a step further. Adding carbon weave to the front lid, rear side window air intakes, rear wing, and Airbox and process air ducts in the engine bay. Not to mention a roll cage made of titanium (with a titanium-coloured finish) and plenty of Weissach lettering.
20-inch 718 Cayman GT4 RS forged Magnesium wheels are optionally available in conjunction with the Weissach Package (these wheels make the vehicle 10 kilograms lighter). They also cost nearly $30,000 AUD.
On the interior, the package adds an upper dash panel upholstered in Race-Tex, a badge on a bezel cup holder with the ‘Weissach Package’ logo, headrests with embroidered ‘Weissach Package’ logo, and a six-point seat belt for the driver and passenger side in Black. There are also creature comforts such as air conditioning, a decent sound system, and Apple CarPlay. Enough about the design, let’s get to driving.
How Does the Porsche GT4 RS Drive?
First things first, I love the size and style of the GT4 RS. Stick it next to a 911 and it looks tiny, because it is.
The 992 generation 911 has grown so much that it’s no longer a small sportscar, and the 718 Cayman unlocks that old-school feeling enthusiasts lust over. Look closely at the dimensions and they’re closer to a BMW 2 Series Coupe, it’s barely longer than a Subaru BRZ, but the GT4 RS offers this lightweight and agile feeling that few brands bother with these days. The chassis is alive, the margin for error is smaller, it twitches and turns with precision, and it’s always fun. Thankfully for us, the greatest sportscar builder on the planet bothers.
|2023 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Performance Figures|
|Engine||4.0-litre naturally aspirated six-cylinder petrol|
|Power||368kW @ 8400rpm|
|Torque||450Nm @ 6750rpm|
|Drive Type||Rear-wheel drive|
|Transmission||Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic|
Compare the GT4 RS to anything else on the road and the difference maker is the 500HP 4.0-litre flat-six race engine sitting under your right foot. It helps the car accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 3.4 seconds, but more importantly, it makes one of the greatest engine sounds of all time, further pronounced by the carbon fibre air intakes that direct the sound of the individual throttle bodies directly into the cabin. Simply driving the car around town is something of aural bliss.
Hearing the engine breathing at every set of traffic lights is something I’ll never get over. Heck, even reversing the car into a parking spot is met by an aural noise that tickles you in all the right places.
Beyond the engine, it’s the sound of the short-ratio seven-speed PDK gearbox, the clunking standard-fit mechanical limited-slip differential with RS-specific locking values at the rear, and the screeching of the giant brakes when they’re cold. It’s as close to a racecar as you’ll get on the road, and that’s exactly why I love it.
Start pushing the car through some turns and all of these mechanical components start working together like a finely tuned wristwatch. The firm ride starts to smooth out, the power delivery gets happier the closer you get to the 9000rpm redline, and then you start to become one with the car. You have the PDK paddles behind the steering wheel to save you on the track, but there’s a connection you get with the car by using the gearstick that’s hard to pass up on the street. Not to mention the satisfying notch that you get with each pull.
It’s something I mentioned in my Jaguar F-Pace SVR review, but we’ll severely miss this when the sportscars of the future go electric. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be flogging a car to enjoy the mechanical components. I have my fingers and toes crossed that Porsche is planning to shoehorn this engine into sportscars of the future, even if this is one of the last times we’ll see it in a 718 Cayman.
Man of Many’s Verdict on the Porsche GT4 RS
So now for the budding question, why did I only get 24 hours in the Porsche GT4 RS? Unfortunately, I happened to book the car on one of Sydney’s wettest weekends of the year. I picked the car up on Friday morning, drove it up the Old Pacific Highway to get a pie at Pie in the Sky and did the same thing again on Saturday morning, taking a detour to Saddles in Mount White for breakfast before the heavens opened.
Reminding myself that this is a half-a-million-dollar car riding on heat-cycled tires and sporting the power-to-weight ratio of blow-fly, I decided to park the car up for a change in weather. To my disappointment, that never happened. Nonetheless, I walked away from the Porsche dealership with a smile. Not only had I not put the car into a guard rail, but I’d experienced one of the best cars I’ll ever drive in my lifetime. Box ticked.
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