GT4 long gearing: unveiling overlooked aspects

Beyond the gears: a dance of power and precision

Porsche Gt4 Manual Gear Interior

At one point, I found myself devouring every Cayman GT4 review out there. Surprisingly, a cacophony of complaints echoed through the reviews; mainly about the long gearing. Strangely, though, noone bothered to dive into any technically-oriented arguments. It was as if they were all reading from the same script. The consensus seemed to be more about the fear of a speeding ticket or imminent incarceration before even hitting the third gear. It left me pondering whether folks were considering the Cayman GT4 not for its performance but for the sheer thrill of hovering right at the edge of the speed limit.

The gear ratios have maintained their length, unchanged since the 987.2 and seamlessly continuing through three generations. Now, let’s take a closer look at the details.

Not a single word was dedicated to discussing engine graphs or the ideal power on upshifting.

Embracing the thrill of manual transmission on the scenic curves of Passo Val Gardena in the Dolomites for an unforgettable driving experience!

Gearing up for a Dolomite dance

After bonding with my GT4 for a couple of years, I’ve come to realize that the gearing is more like a secret dance move than a technical quirk. Picture this: winding through the enchanting Italian Dolomites, my personal stress-free zone for the past 15 years. It’s like the car whispers, “Let’s tango!” as I joyfully navigate those twists and turns in second gear with both hands tightly gripping the racetex for dear life. First gear? Oh, that’s reserved for the grand exit from hairpin turns, but hey, even a GT3 would nod in approval. It’s not just driving; it’s orchestrating a symphony of speed with a dash of quirky elegance!

A quest for the perfect gear

During my earlier mountain escapades across Europe in my trusty BMW, I frequently encountered the familiar scenario of hitting the rev limiter in second gear. Upshifting to third gear, however, often left me yearning for more power, a sentiment exacerbated by the fact that the BMW had comparatively less horsepower – not exactly the ideal companion when conquering passes that climb up to 2500 meters.

In these uphill struggles, I couldn’t help but ponder the virtues of a lengthier second gear within the peak power range versus the potential downsides of shorter gears causing revs to drop at less-than-ideal moments. It all boils down to the delicate interplay of gears and power delivery, where finding the sweet spot becomes an ongoing quest – whether you’re joyriding on B roads or burning rubber on a racetrack.

I couldn’t resist considering the benefits of a second gear with a more extended range in the peak power zone.

Taking control: Grasping the essence of a manual gearbox. (Photo: Porsche)

Power play and delivery

Examining the Boxster/Cayman power curves, one can observe differences when comparing the 3.4, 3.8, and 4.0-liter (9A2 EVO) engines. The latter features a 35% increase in power compared to the 987.2 and demonstrates a very linear power delivery. This implies that a larger and more powerful engine can effectively handle longer gear ratios with greater ease, so it’s safe to assume it might be less relevant where the revs land. Deman’s gearing may be shorter, giving the GT4 an extra beefy punch, but it’s still much shorter as the original GT3 gearing.


992 GT3 982 GT4 981 GT4 Deman 996.2 GT3
gear km/h @9000 rpm km/h @8000 rpm km/h @7900 rpm km/h @8200 rpm
1 82,53 80,22 79,28 74,60
2 130,03 136,18 120,48 132,54
3 179,93 188,33 166,07 182,67
4 230,95 234,99 209,78 235,50
5 286,55 279,52 252,14 284,96
6 351,68 327,83 311,83 333,68

718gt4 9a2evo Engine Graph

Automatic vs. manual

The majority of Porsches purchased in the past decade come equipped with automatic transmission. The PDK (Porsche Doppelkupplung) surpasses manual transmission in terms of speed and overall performance. Additionally, it features shorter gear ratios, meaning that switching to a car with a manual transmission might create a sensation of reduced power and require more time to shift through all the gears. This might clarify why certain individuals could think the manual gear ratios feel longer than they actually are. Taking a look at the table above we can see that ratios  haven’t undergone significant changes over the years.

What about the GT3?

The gearing of the GT3 4.0 isn’t short either (refer to the comparison), yet there has never been any complaints about it. More power is undoubtedly helpful but let’s time travel 20 years. The gearing of a 380 HP 996 GT3 is longer compared to the 991/992 GT3 and there have been no complaints on that front either.

The car slyly whispers, “Fancy a tango?” as I gleefully waltz through those bends in second gear, clutching the wheel with a death grip.

Thrills at every turn: conquering the breathtaking Passo Giau.