The inevitable transition to electric vehicles is upon us. Lawmakers across the world are mandating end dates to the sales of new combustion vehicles, and automakers are committing to fully electric lineups in the near future. While we welcome a shift towards sustainable transportation, it is hard to not feel left behind as a car enthusiast. For those of you feeling left behind, Porsche’s two most recent unveilings may help put you at ease. The brand recently unveiled two new model variants at the LA Auto Show; the Taycan GTS and the 718 GT4 RS. The former creates hope for the future, and the latter creates excitement in the present.
The new GTS variant of the Taycan slots between the 4S and the Turbo. With a power level that straddles the gap between these two variants, the real focus of the GTS is driving. Improvements have been made to the already competent Taycan to improve handling and feel. While the focus of this write-up is on the GT4 RS, credence should be given to Porsche for prioritising the driving experience with their current and future EVs.
The star of the show in LA was the newly unveiled 718 GT4 RS. This marks the first time that the RS badge has graced a non-911 Porsche. What makes an RS so special? RS stands for RennSport, or Racing Sport in English. For oil-cooled Porsches, the RS badge has been historically added to GT spec 911s. While a GT car can be described as a road car with racing credentials, a GT RS car is a racing car with road legality. Every compromise that may have been made with a GT car for the purpose of road use is undone for the RS model, and enhancements are made to ensure the vehicle has one pure and intent purpose: going really fast. Here is just some of what has been done to the regular GT4 to ensure the GT4 RS serves that purpose:
- Addition of an infinitely adjustable front diffuser to improve aerodynamic balance and reduce drag for maximum speed and stability.
- Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) hood with NACA air intakes for brake cooling.
- CFRP louvres over the front fenders decrease wheel well pressure in tandem with the improved front diffuser to increase overall downforce.
- CFRP air intakes replace the rear side windows to increase the dynamic pressure of the airstream and supply the engine with air.
- Interior airbox with new and improved air filter. The ducts replacing the rear windows in the GT4 RS now feed air into an airbox which is located inside the drivers cabin. The result is an air intake that optimall fills the engine with air and the cabin with noise.
- Similar to the 992 GT3, the rear wing of the GT4 has been replaced with a swan-neck design CFRP wing. Allowing uninterrupted airflow over the entire underside of the wing, where most of the aerodynamic work is done.
- Addition of the 4.0-litre six-cylinder from the 992 GT3. Producing 493 HP and 332 lb-ft of torque, and capable of revving to 9000rpm. This engine is directly derived from the 911 GT3 R and 911 RSR race cars.
- Six individual throttle valves. This is the same configuration as the 992 GT3 engine, but their position has been modified to fit the 718 chassis. Individual throttle bodies allow for an optimal air/fuel mixture, resulting in an extremely direct response.
- Motorsport carryovers to the drivetrain. Dry-sump lubrication, forged pistons, titanium piston rods, and a dual mass flywheel borrowed from the GT4 Clubsport mean the GT4 RS has the durability of a pure bred race car.
- Weight reductions all around. Many of the interior and exterior components of the GT4 have either been removed or replaced by lighter materials.
The list of changes goes far beyond what was mentioned. Adding the Weissach Package will give you even more over the standard RS. This package adds a carbon weave finish to all of the major CFRP components, titanium tailpipes, a fitted titanium roll cage, a Race-Tex appointed dashboard, 20-inch forged magnesium wheels, and of course the Weissach badge on embedded on the headrests of the carbon bucket seats.
Most amazingly, the cost of the 718 GT4 RS comes in at just below the cost of the standard GT3. With the Weissach package, the 718 GT4 RS will cost around the same as the GT3. So a vehicle that is capable of a 7:09 of the Nurburgring (new configuration) will cost a fraction of its supercar competitors. The 718 GT4 RS appears to be a worthy recipient of the RS badge, and an excellent value proposition for those looking to go fast. It has long been said that Porsche would never make a Cayman capable of keeping pace with a 911, as it would compromise the model’s position within their sports car lineup. Porsche has thrown caution to the wind and provided us with a vehicle that is completely irrational. The only reason there could be for producing such a vehicle is driving enjoyment, and that is exactly what the 718 GT4 RS will deliver - car enthusiasts can rest easy.