2020 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Road Test | Get action!

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MT. HOOD NATIONAL FOREST, Ore. - "Action!" That was Teddy Roosevelt's cure for what, by modern standards, would likely have been diagnosed as depression and attention deficit disorder. It basically meant doing things and visiting places that crossed the Badlands of Dakota for him, went to war in Cuba, and embarked on an almost fatal search through the Amazon rainforest - just to name a few adventures was, in fact, a life of almost continuous action.
I've been thinking a lot about Teddy Roosevelt lately. Not because I would dare to actually compare medically diagnosed disorders to the state of the world, but because I think his idea of ​​"taking action" will be true forever. Doing things and visiting places is indeed restorative, and the car provides a means of doing both. And "going to places" doesn't mean goal.
Driving the 2020 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 definitely qualifies as something to do. This isn't a car in which you just sit back and turn on the adaptive cruise control - you literally can't get an ACC, and the optional full bucket seats don't let you sit back. You're driving the 718, with the steering and throttle reacting to the sensitive fidgeting of your fingers and toes. the layout of the mid-engine rotates around you in the middle; and the transmission only shifts when you say it. And with its bespoke lowering and 4.0 liter naturally aspirated six-cylinder, the GT4 goes further than any other Cayman by not only making you part of the action, but also allowing you to feel and hear every part of it .
Part of the T.R. I would go from Portland, Oregon to Detroit ... to Oregon too. Now I had not only gotten a funny headline, but also heard that the 100-mile route to this tiny town on a lake of the same name consists of exceptional routes. Appropriate name, though perhaps an ironic one, given the lack of such streets in actual Detroit.
Suitable for Oregon is the occasional drizzle during the day, which at least makes my road trip with the GT4 comparable to my drive on the race track last July, which better reveals the properties and capabilities of the car. A hardcore sports car that wears performance rubber and is blessed with 414 horsepower can give you a break under such wet conditions, but extreme control of the GT4 and the linear distribution of its 309 pound-feet of suction create confidence. This is definitely not an eye-catching, powerful hooning machine - the dual-mode sports exhaust hardly gets louder in loud mode and does not crackle or crack when cracked.

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Oh, but it's still very loud. The sharp, rumbling exhaust rings with the telltale clatter of the naturally aspirated Flat-Six to identify the car immediately, long before it can be seen ("Oh, do you hear that? The GT4 is almost there"). There's just something special about this engine that's only a few inches from your right kidney - it is raw in terms of sound, responsiveness and performance that are second to none. Literally again. This is the only 718 without a turbocharged flat-four and thus the only mid-engine six-cylinder Porsche. It's also the only Porsche that gets this special engine (OK, next to its 718 Spyder Cabrio Twin). Derived from the 4.0-liter flat sixes with turbocharger from the 911, it naturally does its sweet and sweet business without forced induction.
On a track, keeping it close to its 8,000rpm speed was a joyful routine. However, at 309 pound-feet at an absolutely reasonable speed of 5,000 rpm, it's easy to keep the speed low and yet keep up to date with enough enthusiasm for the world. On more than one occasion, I needed the centrally mounted speedometer to remember that I was missing the main attraction. The acceleration from 5,000 to this redline is astonishing, and the speed and noise increase to a surprising extent. There can be no more. No, no, there is.
All this noise is such that the windows do not have to be rolled down, but with a break in the rain I hear the wonderful echo of the pine-lined canyon that the Clackamas River cuts through. The road here is made up of long high-speed sweepers that only occasionally pump the blood in a car that flawlessly flutters and flutters through every roller coaster with tight turns and elevation changes you throw at it. However, this trip is as much about places as it is about things, and for this purpose the landscape is spectacular - gentle rapids on the right, rising cliffs on the left, oh so Oregon green everywhere. The city is long gone, exhale.
Eventually the Clackamas narrow and the road that lines them follows the example when I drive deeper into the southern end of the huge mountain. Hood National Forest. Corners become sharper and more frequent, there are more height differences and the base becomes worse with wide spots and heights. The last bit means that the firmer mode of the adaptive PASM suspension will remain off for reasons of back and chassis stability, while given the 1.2-inch reduction in ride height of the GT4 and the Leno-like chin spoiler, I have given it a try had paid particular attention to speed just drive up my driveway. As a result, no underbody work was affected during this Rooseveltian trip.
The street is clearly not a frequented thoroughfare, which is clear from the numerous shrubs that grow into the road. However, the lack of use is not due to a lack of excellence. This allows the GT4 to do its nimble job, dance through curves, turn around the driver and speak through the steering wheel so that the car feels like an extension of you. It's a cliché, but it's also the best way to describe why it's so good.
The optional PDK automatic would theoretically accelerate things further and allow me to focus more on the chassis, the undulating road surface and the penetrating bushes, but the six-speed manual transmission is itself a suitable masterpiece in a car that is already worth a museum. The perfectly weighted, easy-to-modulate clutch and the mechanically direct transmission deserve praise, but the GT4's auto-blip function, which automatically adjusts the engine and transmission when the clutch is pressed, enables the best of both worlds to be achieved from flawless Gear changes and the additional involvement of shifting by means of an H pattern and the actuation of a clutch. And don't worry, you can turn Auto Blip off if you want to work naturally.
The twists, turns and foliage are only interrupted by the short campsite or artifacts of previous campers, whose definition of "get action" means "leave garbage". Calling such people pigs would be an insult to pigs. To be honest, however, it is not exactly an officially approved activity by the Sierra Club to flash through a national forest where six fumes and two sounds can be heard. I slow down, shift up and roll the windows down again. At least 22 mpg over 200 miles in a 414 hp sports car are anything but devouring.
Finally, I reach Detroit ... Oregon ... to discover a city that was undoubtedly injured by the shutdown of the corona virus, but also shows signs of a new life. The Cedars Restaurant, which declares this Detroit a motorboat town, has a handful of cars parked outside, even though it's 1pm on a Thursday, but the quaint, well-maintained lodge at Lake Detroit Motel clearly has no guests. This part of Oregon has been released for "Phase 2" reopening, which means that many restrictions remain, but visitors can use nearby Lake Detroit and use the city for services and as a stopping point (including those needed), its Tesla Superchargers) are made perfectly viable. I think for pictures and a coffee. Hopefully everything will survive for another exploration on another day, but for the moment the trip had already energized and restored me enough.
The road back to Portland would be straighter, busier, and therefore more boring. An interstate would be involved. That would not be the strength of the GT4. The ride is surprisingly well damped and comfortable for such a focused machine, but uneven road sections inevitably take their toll. So is the noise, and although the narrow full bucket seats don't bother me as much as others, their limited padding and adjustment (including zero recline) make longer journeys like this a bit exhausting. The next day I was in a bit of pain. It is therefore recommended to opt for more traditional and comfortable seats, especially since the GT4 drives so well thanks to its other road release features - the stereo system is surprisingly good and has space for more than three suitcases.
Of course, you don't need a Porsche 718 GT4 to do anything, nor a spectacular road through the Cascades to get to places. This was a best case scenario that I was fortunate enough to indulge in, but at least let it remind you that when social distancing and an unjust world take their emotional toll, at least some relief is achieved by grasping the keys and can take a ride. Get action.
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