Motoring: The new Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS might be the ultimate sports car

The 718 Cayman GT4 is already a stunning sports car, but there’s always been the sense that Porsche has held something back, so it doesn’t step on the toes of its flagship model, the 911.

Now, however, the 718 Cayman GT4 RS has been revealed, bringing more performance, upgrades and lightweight materials, to make it the most hardcore Cayman yet.

The mid-mounted engine is the same naturally aspirated flat-six found in the 911 GT3 car. It makes 493bhp, almost 80bhp more than the regular GT4, with the red line set at a screaming 9,000rpm and peak torque increased from 430 to 450Nm.

A seven-speed PDK automatic gearbox has been fitted with low ratios that are optimised for track driving. The GT4 RS can go from 0-60mph in 3.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 195mph, which is 0.7 seconds and 8mph faster than the GT4.

There have been weight-saving measures used throughout, making it 35kg lighter. This has been achieved through various measures, including the use of carbon-fibre-reinforced plastics on the bonnet and front wings, reducing insulation material and using lighter carpets.

Exterior styling is more aggressive, with a prominent fixed rear wing that has been developed from the 911 RSR GT race car. Other features include air intakes where the rear windows of the regular car used to be, vents in the front wheel arches and a new rear diffuser.

An optional Weissach upgrade package adds a carbon-weave finish to various parts, such as the cooling air intakes, upper trim and rear wing.

Titanium has been used for the exhaust system as well as the roll cage that’s fitted as standard, while the upper dashboard is upholstered in Race-Tex.

To demonstrate the value of all these upgrades, Porsche took the new GT4 RS to the Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit in Germany. It lapped ‘The Green Hell’ in 7min 9.3secs, almost 24 seconds faster than the regular GT4.

The Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS is on sale now, priced from £108,370. The first UK and Ireland deliveries are expected in spring 2022.

Toyota details prices and specifications for new Aygo X

Toyota has released further details about its newest compact crossover – the Aygo X.

Pronounced ‘Aygo Cross’, the new car – which starts from £14,795 – can be reserved from December for a fully refundable £99 fee, ahead of first deliveries arriving in spring 2022.

All models of Aygo X are powered by a 71bhp three-cylinder petrol engine, with the option of either a five-speed manual or CVT automatic transmission. Toyota is set to announce performance and efficiency figures closer to the car’s launch, too.

The range kicks off with Pure specification, which comes kitted out with 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights and air conditioning, as well as a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You also get adaptive cruise control and automatic high beams, among other functions.

Up next is Edge. Priced from £16,495, this brings 18-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass and a larger eight-inch infotainment display. Exterior-wise, Edge trim features a bi-tone paint finish, while buyers of this grade will also be able to specify a power-operated canvas roof.

At the top of the ‘regular’ grades sits Exclusive. Starting from £17,715, this features synthetic leather upholstery, wireless phone charging and Toyota’s Smart Connect multimedia system with a nine-inch display. Through this, owners can access cloud-based navigation and live traffic information.

A Limited Edition model – priced from £19,640 – features a new Cardamon Green metallic paint, which is one of the Aygo X’s new shades, as well as bright orange highlights on the wheels, sills, and front and rear bumpers. The front seats are heated and part-leather trimmed.

Just 17% of new cars have a traditional handbrake

Less than a fifth of new cars come with a traditional hand-operated handbrake, according to new research.

The decline of the manual handbrake is picking up pace, falling from 30 per cent in 2019 to 24 per cent in 2020, now sitting at 17 per cent in 2021.

The study by online car marketplace CarGurus shows that even smaller models are now making the switch, with the Vauxhall Corsa dropping the manual handbrake in the past year.

Other cars to have made the change include the Seat Leon and BMW 4 Series.

Many major manufacturers, including Volvo, Alfa Romeo, Jaguar, Porsche and Mercedes-Benz, no longer have any vehicles on sale with a traditional handbrake.

The only manufacturer to offer a manual handbrake across its range is Abarth.

Car Gurus says the latest drop has come from two factors. The first is that Mitsubishi has stopped selling cars in the UK, removing a few traditional models from the market, while the second will have a much bigger impact – sales of electric vehicles are growing.

So far in 2021, there has been an 86 per cent increase in the number of electric vehicles sold in the UK, while plug-in hybrid vehicles have increased 90 per cent.

Chris Knapman, editor at CarGurus UK, said: “Last year, we forecasted the existence of the manual handbrake on new cars only has a few years left, and our latest data causes us no reason to believe otherwise, with there being an even greater decline in 2021 than there was between 2020 and 2019.

“The rapid shift towards electric vehicles will only speed up the demise of the manual handbrake, leaving many traditionalists, who are looking for the tactile feel and mechanical simplicity of a manual handbrake, scratching their heads.

CarGurus has taken a look at the cars on sale today with a manual handbrake and put together a few highlights. In the coupe segment, the Ford Mustang comes highly recommended, while the Mazda MX-5 is a great affordable sports car.

In the supermini segment there’s the Seat Ibiza, or if you’re looking for a large SUV there’s the Toyota Land Cruiser.

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