It has always seemed odd that a car with the finesse, power, and surefootedness of the Cayman GT4 could have one glaring issue holding it back. The highly refined Cayman GT4‘s gearing was unanimously critiqued by all who’d tried it. This normally-aspirated screamer should stay squarely in the meat of the rev range when it’s not grazing its 8,000-rpm redline. In the 781 variant, first gear takes you to 54 miles per hour, second to 85, and third to 121. As this was the second generation of the car to suffer from this strangely lazy gearing, some assumed it was done to keep the keep the hierarchy of Porsche models in place. If a Cayman could easily outrun a GT3 RS, or even so much as keep up, heads would roll.
Others attributed this oddity to emissions requirements, but never was a detailed answer offered. Because of the brilliance of the car, many looked past this shortcoming and tried to enjoy what else it offered. Only recently was any real light shed on the subject. In an article from Australian magazine Which Gear, Frank-Steffen Walliser, the man who oversees the production of the 718 and 911, disclosed the reasoning behind keeping these ratios.
“The gearbox we have, don’t get me wrong, it’s an old one, an existing one and changing the gear was just technically not possible as we were running out of space on the shafts, if we need an adjustment there,” he explained. “We would have loved to have seen that, [the gearing] a little bit shorter, but technically there was no way. We have an answer, which will come later this year and that’s very nice then,” Walliser told Which Car.
It looks like revised gears accompanying the stick-and-clutch transmission is not on the horizon—though Sharkwerks, a Bay Area-based tuner, can rectify that problem. The solution for those who want to keep their cars stock is a seven-speed PDK gearbox said to be released sometime later this year. While some might claim this will make the GT4 less engaging, footage of a ‘GT4 RS’ testing at the Nordschleife suggest that a paddle-equipped GT4 might have the sort of acceleration to knock some bigger roosters out of the coop.