The steady march of progress often comes with some compromises. In Porsche’s case, the naturally aspirated 981-generation GT4 has given way to faster and more capable turbocharged 718-generation mid-engine monsters. With a flatter torque curve and an earlier power delivery, the 718 Cayman GTS puts up a faster lap-time at nearly any track than the GT4 of just a couple years ago, even on less sticky tires. The chassis has been improved for maximum grip, a new turbocharged four-cylinder has been mounted where that glorious 3.8-liter flat-six once sat, and the electronics have all been exploited to make the driver near God-like. Is it better? In many ways, yes.
One only needs to watch this great video from Matt Farah on The Smoking Tire channel on YouTube to get a good comparison between the two Porsches. While Matt seems content to trade audible engagement for speed and torque, I am not quite as sold on the new car. The first few minutes of the video are at the wheel of a friend’s GT4, and that sound is second to none. It may well be one of the best sounding cars Porsche has ever built. It’s high on induction noise and that exhaust note is just mind-bendingly lovely. Both the 718 and the 981 are incredible in their own ways, but I’ll take the keys to the one with the wing every time.
The rumor mill is churning with reports that a new GT4 is coming, and it’ll be powered by a detuned version of the current GT3’s 4-liter naturally aspirated flat six. I count that as a victory for potential GT4 buyers, because the improved 718 chassis will pair quite well with the big six. As long as it’s still available with a manual transmission, it will take the new mantle. For now, maybe lease a 718 for a while and wait for the new GT4 to launch.