The Taycan cemented Porsche’s commitment to the EV switch but 718 Cayman GT4 ePerformance is a sneak peek at their first (and likely not last) electric two-door.
With last year’s Mission R, we knew that an all-electric mid-engine sports coupe was on the horizon in spite of its status as a ‘concept’ vehicle. Anyone with two eyes could see that it was a technical testbed for zero-emissions performance with a strong leaning toward motorsport applications. Eventually, those innovations would find their way to Zuffenhausen’s production models.
It also acted as a slightly more crude but highly stylised sibling to this 718 Cayman GT4 ePerformance which, besides being saddled by a mouthful of a name, is clearly bearing cues that make it look more and more like a heavily modified showroom car.
In fact, Porsche has all but confirmed this as the next Cayman and has heavily hinted at it being a purely electric sports car which may or may not be underpinned by a bespoke electric platform. Without the race-spec safety equipment, big aero, exterior camouflage, and aggressive weight savings, this looks to be something quite close to that final car.
However, instead of a mid-engine layout, we have a powerful dual e-motor and battery combo that pushes out a hypercar-slaying 1,088PS in its most unrestrained ‘qualifying mode’. In its race setup, max power is wound down to a more manageable 612PS to extract a predicted 30 minutes of hard-driving from its 82kWh battery, or roughly the duration of a Carrera Cup race. Its 900v architecture means it can be charged from 5% to 80% capacity in just 15 minutes.
Matthias Scholz, GT racing vehicle project manager, said: “With the Mission R, we’ve shown how Porsche envisages sustainable customer motor racing in the future. The 718 Cayman GT4 ePerformance now demonstrates that this vision works impressively on the racetrack,”
“We’re very excited about the response because a one-make cup with electric racing cars would be an important addition to our existing customer racing programme,” he said.
Like the Mission R, the GT4 ePerformance takes from the existing Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport with certain components taken from the 911 RSR GTE and a further 6,000 new parts designed and built from scratch. Most of its body is constructed of natural-fibre composite materials and recycled carbon fibre and is 140mm wider than GT4 RS Clubsport thanks to larger fender flares needed to accommodate its 18-inch wheels on wide Michelin racing slicks that are also made from mostly renewable materials.
Despite the aggressive weight reduction measures, the car still manages to tip the scales at 1,600kg or just over 200kg more than the aforementioned GT4 racer. That extra power and instantaneous torque response certainly might compensate for that as the Mission R boasts a 2.5 second 0-100km/h sprint time and a top speed of around 300km/h.
The body, which is made of natural-fibre composite materials to minimise production emissions, is 140mm wider than the petrol-powered GT4 RS Clubsport, featuring extended flares to accommodate the 18-inch tyres. On track, Porsche claims the GT4 ePerformance is proving quicker than 992-gen 911 GT3 Cup car.
For its first public appearance, the car will tackle the hill climb at the 2022 Goodwood Festival of Speed in late June, followed up with a more intimate showcase as part of the 20th anniversary of Porsche’s Leipzig factory. In early 2023, two demo vehicles will travel through parts of North America and Europe with the world tour concluding in the Asia-Pacific region around mid-2024.
Assuming the development of the GT4 ePerformance is undertaken alongside that of the next-generation production 718 Cayman, we could see the all-new electric coupe hit showrooms in 2025.
We’re uncertain if Porsche will indeed only offer the road car exclusively as an EV or with a combustion engine option (eFuels?), but in either case would set a clear foundation to introduce an electric 911 and, from there, a completely electric model line-up.
There's just something about cars. It's a conveyance, it's a liability, it's a tool; but it can also be a source of joy, pride, inspiration and passion. It's much like clothes versus fashion. And like the latter, the pursuit of perfection never ends.