The 981 Porsche Cayman GT4 set the bar for a mid-engined, non-supercar coupe so high that we wondered what Stuttgart could do to scale the heights when the 718’s turn came. Extra power was almost a given, especially with a new 4.0-litre flat-six due. But better handling for a more involving experience? That was a tall task when the starting point was so sublime. Yet here we are, graced with another GT4 and, for the first time, a near identical Boxster Spyder, using the same running gear under a soft top body.
The 9A2 Evo boxer unit, which trades the turbocharging of the 992’s block for a new adaptive cylinder control software, different injectors and a variable intake system, features in both. It delivers 420hp, an increase of 35hp on the old 3.8 GT4, at 7,600rpm and 310lb ft of torque from 5,000rpm, with the limiter set at 8,000rpm. Mated to a manual six-speed gearbox, it pushes the pairing from 0-62mph in 4.4 seconds - plenty quick enough for cars which are built to deliver an immersive handling experience.
Key to the GT4’s track performance is its aerodynamic package. There’s a large fixed rear wing as before, which has been further developed for more downforce, but it’s the addition of a large rear diffuser that helps to suck the car closer to the ground without adding drag. The diffuser is also on the Spyder and there’s an extending spoiler to match, giving it a substantial advantage over its less focussed predecessor. But the GT4’s racier exterior and lighter bodyshell leaves it with the superior overall performance, as illustrated by its 7:28 Nurbugring lap time. That’s four seconds quicker than the Carrera GT, by the way.
Dan, the lucky git, got the chance to see if both cars lived up to their on-paper enhancements - starting at Knockhill circuit in the GT4 and finishing on the surrounding roads in the Spyder. Has Porsche improved on near perfection? Get clicking.