Next Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 might wear RS badge, stick with manual transmission

Fans of the manual gearbox, rejoice! Porsche seems keen on ensuring driving pleasure remains a core competency.

Speaking to Car and Driver, GT development boss, Andreas Preuninger, nearly confirmed the next 718 Cayman GT4 will not employ turbocharging as the standard 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman do. Instead, it’s almost certain the GT4 will be powered by a naturally aspirated flat-6 engine. Not only that, but it may even wear the coveted RS badge, reserved for Porsche’s most hardcore models. Oh, and Preuninger nearly confirmed it will still offer a manual transmission. Porsche gets us.

“Natural aspiration is one of our main selling propositions,” Preuninger said. “We offer a car for people who want to feel something special, who want to have as much emotion as possible, as much throttle response and immediacy from a sports-car engine. And at Motorsport we think that can be achieved a little bit better with a [naturally aspirated] high-revving engine than any kind of turbo.”

It’s not the first time Porsche has alluded to the naturally aspirated flat-6 engine finding a home in more enthusiast offerings, while the regular cars move to turbocharged 4-cylinder engines. Porsche engineer August Achleitner, who is in charge of the 718 and 911, also hinted a naturally aspirated flat-6 would be found in cars “like the GT4 for example.”

The original report speculates the 4.0-liter flat-6 engine from the 911 GT3 may be tapped, though it would likely not produce 500 horsepower as it does in its current application.

Expanding on the decision to offer a manual transmission, Preuninger said that Porsche felt it wasn’t the brand’s place to tell customers what transmission makes a driver’s car, standing by the decision to stick with the stick shift.

“That’s the aim, to always have the choice. Now we’ve started with that strategy [in the GT3] and it pays off. I think it’s the right thing to do—who are we to tell people what’s best for them? Depending what you want to do with the car it can be perfectly understandable to go for a manual if you’re not chasing times on the track. Giving the choice is definitely our intention for the future.”

However, for those not acclimated to the three-pedal lifestyle, the next GT4 may offer a PDK dual-clutch automatic.

If Preuninger’s statements pan out, the next 718 Cayman GT4 is poised to be a real blessing.

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