Welcome to the Hooniverse News! I’m not dead! I had to call it quits last week after some combination of viruses (not covid) kicked my ass. But I’m back for my regularly scheduled mediocrity. As always, this is a weekly recap of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. This week: Porsche unveils the ultimate Cayman and it gets a new GT4 competition upgrade, Porsche brings the GTS to the Taycan and Taycan Sport Turismo(!!!), Toyota and Subaru unveil EV crossovers on same platform, and Nissan reveals production-ready Ariya.
Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS
This is the one we’ve been waiting for. Since the teaser for it dropped a few weeks back along with its impressive 7:09.3 ‘Ring time, the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS has been a highly anticipated addition to the beloved Porsche GT lineup. Few cars are as universally loved as the Cayman GT4, but everyone is aware of the “Cayman Complex” that it’s always been handicapped by. It’s a car that could be as quick and as good as its 911 counterparts, but it never quite is. But this time around, slapping an RS badge on it may be enough to change the game.
The tagline reads “mid-engine sports car with racing pedigree [offering] maximum driving pleasure”. Backing up that claim is a slew of upgrades from other GT models for a level of performance never seen in a car like this before. The heart of the GT4 RS is a 4.0-liter naturally-aspirated flat six, the same as what’s found in the 911 GT3 and the GT3 Cup race car. It redlines at the same 9,000 RPM but produces slightly less power at 493 horsepower – but nobody is going to notice the 9 horsepower that’s missing from the 911 GT3. As with every RS variant, the lightning quick seven-speed PDK gearbox is mandatory, but that thing is still the quickest gearbox around. The gearing they use here is shorter than what’s found on a standard Porsche as well. 0-60 mph takes just 3.2 seconds, a full half second quicker than a PDK-equipped 718 Cayman GT4. Top speed is 196 mph which is 9 mph faster than the GT4.
Lightweight materials are everywhere in this thing. The front fenders and hood are formed out of carbon fiber reinforced plastic, the rear window is made of a special lightweight glass, and lightweight door panels with the famous fabric door openings are the most noticeable weight-saving measures. Add in the optional Weissach Package and you’ll have even more components made from CFRP, such as the cooling air intakes, air box lid, and rear wing. You can also pay extra for magnesium wheels. The curb weight here in US spec without the Weissach Package (we don’t know how much weight that saves yet) is 3,227 pounds, which is 49 pounds less than a comparable Cayman GT4.
In addition to the extra power, better gearing, and weight savings, various aerodynamic and chassis improvements round out this package. The GT4 RS features side air intakes behind the side windows which will produce some glorious intake noise for the cabin. The bodywork up front is more aggressive as well with an adjustable front diffusor and spoiler lip with flow-around side-blades to shove the nose into the ground at speed. The one new feature everyone’s noticed already is the big new wing at the back with the swan neck mounts. This wing design was originally adopted from the 911 RSR race car (the one that screamed like a banshee and is likely responsible for half of my tinnitus) and first used in production for the new 911 GT3.
Its ride height is reduced by 30 mm, it features front wheel well ventilation, and has a new underbody with a rear diffuser for additional downforce. All in all, the car has up to 25% more downforce to play with compared to the “regular” GT4. Helping to make full use of the extra power and downforce is an RS-specific damper setup as well as revised spring and anti-roll bar rates. The RS rides on exclusive 20″ forged aluminum (or magnesium) wheels with center locks.
There’s a lot going on here but this could all be summed up pretty quickly. It’s not only the greatest Cayman ever built, it’s the Cayman we’ve all been waiting for. Finally, Porsche unleashes its full potential. That’ll be $141,700, please.
Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport
I just had to talk about the race car too. The Cayman has been a mainstay in global GT4 competition, going up against the likes of the Mustang, 570S, R8, Camaro, and others. With a hot new roadgoing GT4 on the way, Porsche is taking the opportunity to update their competition offering as well. The GT4 RS Clubsport, as the name suggests, is based on the new and greatly improved GT4 RS road car. It’s equipped with much of the same hardware as the road car, but SRO GT4 homologation rules will ultimately dictate things like power and aerodynamics.
It’s equipped with the same 4.0-liter flat-six as the road car and it’s capable of 500 horsepower, 75 more than the last model. This huge increase either means GT4 class rules will allow for a lot more power next year or the engine won’t have to work nearly as hard for the BOP-mandated performance. I haven’t heard of major changes for SRO GT4 next year, so I’m guessing it’s the latter.
The rest of the upgrades to this car aren’t exactly the same as found in the road car because of homologation, but they’re close. The bodywork updates are largely the same but with the addition of front dive planes, a larger front spoiler lip, a fully enclosed underbody, and a 20 mm-long Gurney flap on the wing. The same body parts that are now carbon on the road car are also made of composites in the race car. This material though is a flax-based fiber, which is a more sustainable alternative to carbon-fiber composites. The chassis upgrades though are largely different. Things like shocks, roll bars, ride height, camber, and toe are far more adjustable in the race car than they are in the street car. Race car things.
Being a turnkey race car, its competition-spec safety features are all built in. The welded-in roll cage, longitudinally-adjustable Recaro racing seat, six-point harnesses, driver’s side door foam inserts, and fire extinguisher system are standard equipment. The air jack system is standard as well as the FT3 fuel cell with room for up to 115 liters or 30.4 gallons of race fuel. Porsche offers two exhaust systems for the car so it can be run at tracks with tougher noise regulations and sing unrestricted at tracks that don’t give a shit. It can also be equipped with additional headlights for endurance races that go into the night.
The 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport is intended for private racing teams, but I don’t suppose Porsche will mind it if an individual looking for a proper track toy buys one too. It can be ordered from your neighborhood Porsche Motorsport dealer for $229,000.
Porsche Taycan GTS and GTS Sport Turismo
Porsche just gets it. The Taycan is slowly getting all the same variants found in other models. We used to make fun of how many different models and trim levels there were, but lately there hasn’t been much to complain about. The Taycan is getting two exciting new options for the 2022 model year – the Taycan GTS and the Taycan GTS Sport Turismo. The GTS trim originally debuted on the 911 a few generations ago as a sporty option to sit between the Carrera S and GT3 models. This same formula has been applied to basically every other Porsche model, and now it applies to the Taycan as well.
The first electric GTS model is distinguished by extra power, bespoke wheels, custom suspension tuning and brakes, and custom exterior design elements. Power comes from two permanent magnet motors, one on each axle, with a two-speed rear transmission for a total of 590 horsepower. This slots in nicely between the Taycan 4S’s 462 horsepower and the Taycan not-a-Turbo’s 670 horsepower. The same 93.4 kWh Performance Battery Plus from the other Taycans is standard equipment. The 800-volt architecture with high speed charging of up to 270 kW allows it to charge from 5 to 80 percent in 22.5 minutes. Meanwhile, 0-60 mph takes just 3.5 seconds.
The GTS wears a SportDesign front fascia and side skirts and rides on one of two wheel choices – the optional 21″ RS Spyder Design wheels in satin black are pictured. As is typical with GTS cars, all exterior trim pieces are painted black. The not-Turbo models lend their suspension to the GTS and some bespoke tuning and calibrations make them fit the needs for the GTS. The braking system is largely the same as what’s found on the 4S, but the front discs are 30 mm larger (390 mm) and Porsche Surface Coated Brakes or Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes are optional. Active air suspension with Smart Life, active suspension management, torque vectoring, and Sport Chrono are standard equipment. Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control Sport and rear-axle steering are available equipment.
Nobody will know how well everything will work for a few more months, but the GTS trim has proven to be very popular in the other models. It always manages to strike a great balance between excellent performance expected from a Porsche and everyday usability and comfort. No reason to expect anything different from the Taycan. US pricing starts at $131,400 for the sedan and $133,300 for the correct choice.
Toyota bZ4x and Subaru Solterra
Toyota and Subaru’s partnership isn’t limited to the BRZ and 86 sports cars; it’s extended to electric crossovers now as well. The Toyota bZ4x and Subaru Solterra are practically the exact same car but with slightly different looks. This is an important moment for both brands as it’s the first 100% battery-electric production vehicle for both. And because it’s a crossover, it’ll automatically sell a boat load. Both are available sometime around next summer.
Both vehicles are aimed for the young buyer that lives in urban environments and routinely explores nature, a buyer that basically every automaker on the planet thinks exists. The Toyota is available as FWD and dual-motor AWD while the Subaru is AWD exclusively and likely has slightly more ground clearance. No matter how you spec it or which brand you go with, it’ll be built around the same “e-TNGA” platform dedicated solely to battery-electric vehicles. With its Lithium-ion battery pack integrated into the floor and its rigid and adaptable structure, we’ll be seeing a lot more vehicles built on this thing going forward.
For Subaru and Toyota, it means they can produce a mid-size electric SUV that can do most of what real world buyers will need it for. The FWD Toyota is driven by a single 150kW motor while the AWD Toyota is powered by an 80kW motor on each axle. A 71.4 kWh battery supports the FWD model while a 72.8 kWh battery powers the AWD model. Subaru didn’t go into specifics about their equipment as much as Toyota did, but you can just about guarantee it’ll be the same. Driving range on the FWD Toyota is expected to be up to 250 miles while Subaru claims their AWD-only Solterra is good for around 220 miles.
As for the styling… well, it has enough plastic body cladding to put the new WRX to shame. And the best part? It doesn’t really do anything.
Other than that, there isn’t much else worth talking about. It’s got loads of tech and driver assistance systems, it’s got ample cabin space, and it has the all-important over the air updates which is how you know they’re serious about it. But ultimately, it’s just another electric crossover and we’re about to see a crap load more like them. That’s not to say it’s bad or not important, it’s just a little boring, isn’t it.
Prices aren’t available yet.
[Source: Toyota, Subaru, @PatrickBMin]
Meanwhile at Nissan, they’re still showing signs of life with the production-ready 2023 Ariya, their first all-electric crossover. We’ve previously seen this in concept car form, but this is the final product we’ll be seeing in dealerships next year. The Ariya is a huge deal for Nissan as they run through their NEXT global transformation plan and transition into a company that’s exciting again. This is a cornerstone for them and their first chance to show us what they’re truly capable of.
Both in terms of design and specifications, it seems to be a good showing. It, like every other electric vehicle coming out now, is built on a new EV-specific modular platform developed with Nissan’s partners. Four core models will be offered, one of which has AWD. FWD models can be equipped with a 63 kWk or 87 kWh battery pack while AWD models mandate the bigger one. A 238-horsepower, 221 lb.-ft. AC synchronous motor powers FWD models. Meanwhile, the AWD model gets two of those motors for a combined output of 389 horsepower and 442 lb.-ft. of torque. It’s part of their “e-4ORCE” (pronounced e-force) powertrain which we’ll probably be seeing more of.
Estimated driving range on the FWD models ranges from 285 to 300 miles depending on the specification. Higher trim levels will likely be adding bigger wheels which is responsible for the lost range. The range-topping Ariya Platinum+ e-4ORCE AWD has to make due with a 265 mile range instead.
The Ariya’s styling is what will get most people talking. It’s a “significant rendition” of Nissan’s new design philosophy based on “Timeless Japanese Futurism”. There’s a bunch of other Japanese words they sprinkle in throughout the press release, but all you need to know is that it won’t look out of place in the future. It’s a minimalist, sleek, and very Japanese look. No “European influences” here *cough* new Honda Civic *cough*. The interior pictured here is from the top-of-the-line Platinum model, but it’s something to behold. It’s sleek and modern but not overly ridiculous. Sadly, they’ve chosen haptic controls for some parts of the cabin which are all but guaranteed to be terrible.
Overall, it certainly seems like a W for Nissan. Even though they’re in the middle of rolling out a slew of new models which have been earning some praise already, none of them are as “new” as this one is. The 2023 Ariya gives us a proper idea of what we can expect from the new Nissan. It’s available for order now and is expected to reach dealers next fall.
What’s your automotive news?
That’s all I’ve got for you this week, so now it’s your turn. If you saw anything, fixed something, broke everything, or otherwise did anything even remotely car related that you want to share with your fellow hoon, sound off in the comments.
Have a good weekend.