When the 718 twins were first revealed, Porsche was faced with hard criticism on the new 2.0L Turbocharged Flat 4 they put in place of the signature Flat 6. To place a bigger margin between the Boxster/Cayman and the 911, Porsche decided to “ruin” their mid engined sports car, according to enthusiasts. However, now these enthusiasts can rejoice! With the reveal of the new 718 Cayman GT4 and 718 Boxster Spyder, Porsche announced that these 2 hardcore versions of the 718 twins would have the 4.0L Flat 6 with 414 horsepower and 309 lb/ft of torque. The GT4 hits 189 mph while the Spyder “only” tops out at 187 mph.
The 4.0L Flat 6 might throw some enthusiasts off, since the 911 GT3 has the same displacement. Porsche actually bored out an extra liter from the Carrera S engine and removed the turbos. However, the new 718 twins boast an extra 29 horsepower over the previous generation 981 twins. The party piece of this new engine though is its 8,000 RPM redline. It’s an increase of 200 RPM over their predecessors, but reactions from enthusiasts show that it’s a significant difference.
The task for Porsche to achieve all of this wasn’t an easy one. In order to make these range topping 718s significantly better performing than their predecessors, Porsche made many changes to the Carrera S engine. Other than the fact that the turbos were removed from the engine and it was bored out by a liter, Porsche upgraded to forged pistons and a forged crankshaft. But the list doesn’t end there. The new 718s have an aluminum intake system, piezo fuel injectors, and a dry-sump oil system with a high performance oil pump.
Now, onto the handling aspect of the range topping 718s. Just like the previous GT4/Boxster, the new 718s share their front axle and brakes with the 911 GT3. The rear axle was made specifically for the GT4 and Spyder. It has a mechanical differential and PTV, also known as Porsche’s Torque Vectoring system. The 718s have PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management) and a ride height that has been reduced by 1.2 inches over the standard 718s. With these suspension tweaks comes infinitely adjustable settings for camber, toe, ride height, and anti-roll bar stiffness.
Continuing the handling theme, the new 718 GT4 has increased performance when it comes to downforce. It produces 50% more downforce than its predecessor. Although they might look similar on the outside, the new Cayman GT4 boasts a single chamber arch rear silencer leading to some real estate for a rear diffuser. The fixed rear wing, front splitter, and air curtains add 52.8 pounds of extra downforce over the previous generation GT4.
The Clubsport package is a whole different story. It turns the GT4 into a bare bones racecar ready for the track. It comes with a fire extinguisher, and a 6 point racing harness. Interestingly, it also comes with a steel roll bar, that can’t be fitted in the US due to regulations. Apparently, the US is afraid of you hitting your head on the roll bar so they banned it. In the case of the car rolling over, you can be relieved that your head won’t hit the roll bar, so the metal roof can comfort the hit instead.
The 718 Boxster Spyder is essentially a smaller version of the 911 Speedster. It replicates the double humps on the Speedster and also has an active wing. Along with the wing, the Spyder has a functional diffuser to provide downforce. The previous generation had an automatically folding roof, but with the new 718 Spyder, Porsche utilized a manually folding roof to save weight, similar to the Speedster. It is the first Boxster to ever produce downforce on the rear axle.
Of course with all of these upgrades, there is a price premium over the base 718. The Spyder costs $97,550 and the GT4 costs $100,450. The base 718 Boxster costs $59,000 and the 718 Cayman costs $56,900 so that bears the question, is it worth it? However, these models aren’t going to be limited production cars, in order to keep buyers from flipping their cars.
I interviewed Boxster and Cayman owners to hear their thoughts on the new Spyder and GT4. First off is Jennifer (@jennetic and @9.ate.7), a 987 Boxster owner. She said, “I just think that, you know it’s only plus over the old one is 1k in the RPM, it’s still 1k shy of what a real 4.0L should make. A 718 GTS shares pretty much the same numbers and the supra is faster and also 50k less. Just doesn’t convince me, it’s all a false promise of a better car.”
David (@siramg_), a 718 Boxster owner, also had something to say. “I think we are in an extreme transitional period when it comes to cars. Moving away from N/A motors and majority of our favorite sports cars now having forced induction. While I see why we are now in forced induction era with all the benefits from efficiency, smaller displacement backing so much power, emissions, and so on. Porsche was always known for their high revving flat six power plants. When the current generation of the 718 was introduced to the public there was massive love/hate for it. While it had massive amounts of low end torque unlike its predecessor in my opinion it lacked what true Porsche cars were known for. That screaming high pitch of the flat six, you no longer needed to really rev the car out to hit the power band. But it feels awkward at times when you get on the pedal and behind you you’re hearing turbo spool and preprogrammed pops. It you come to love and appreciate the 718 for what it now is. The GT4 and Spyder were a true gift from Porsche for the true purists. For those that truly loved Porsche for what it really is an extremely driver focused raw sports car. And for that it makes them even more special. Manuals are dying out, N/A is a thing of the past. But to have it once more… wow the car gods have answered our prayers. We have Porsche to thank for that.”
Anthony Petrossian, the co owner of RS Report owns a 986 Boxster. He said, “As Porsche said, the new GT4 and Spyder are perfectly irrational. We could have gotten more power with turbos and a faster lap time with a PDK, but it’s not about that. These cars are about the drive, they’re about that magical feeling that lap times and 0-60 times can’t measure. We need that now more than ever.”
With that, please leave a comment with your thoughts on the new 718 Spyder and GT4. As always, THANK YOU FOR READING and come back next Sunday for a brand new article. Don’t forget to follow us on WordPress and share this article with your friends! Follow us on Instagram at rsreportblog and check out our Facebook Group, Porsche Enthusiasts United. Feel free to suggest new topics in the Contact Page. Newly added on the contact page is a link to the Porsche Club of America website which you should definitely check out HERE! Thank you for reading and don’t forget to come back next Sunday!