414 horsepower 4.0-litre flat-six makes for best performing 718 models yet
Both Cayman and Boxster models have always been ideal performers thanks to their relatively light curb weights and inherently well-balanced mid-engine designs, and with each new iteration, the latest fourth-gen 718 variants in particular, they've become even more adept to high-speed road and track performance in all trims.
Fans of these most affordable Porsche sports cars will be delighted to find out that 2020 will be their coming-of-age model year, being that they both will receive their most formidable street trims yet, now even outpacing some 911 models.
As a backgrounder, the 718 Cayman, which starts at just $63,700, can be had in base 300-horsepower Cayman trim that’s capable of zero to 100km/h in 5.1 seconds, or alternatively 4.9 seconds with its PDK automated dual-clutch transmission, or 4.7 seconds with its PDK together with the Sport Chrono Package, plus a top speed of 275 km/h; the $78,600 350-horsepower Cayman S good for 4.6-, 4.4- and 4.2-second sprints to 100km/h respectively, plus a top speed of 285 km/h; and the $92,600 365-horsepower Cayman GTS that completes the run from standstill to 100km/h in 4.6-, 4.3- and 4.1 seconds respectively, plus a top speed of 290 km/h.
New Spyder and GT4 models up 718 performance to entirely new levels
This trio of 718 Cayman trims is now once again joined by the top-performing 2020 GT4 (the previous version was introduced in 2015), which replaces the latter trims’ horizontally opposed 2.0- and 2.5-litre turbo-four mills with a detuned albeit still brilliant version of the 911 GT3’s naturally-aspirated 4.0-litre flat-six making a heady 414 horsepower and 309 lb-ft of torque (29 hp more than in the GT4 predecessor) thanks in part to a lofty 8,000-rpm redline, while mated to a six-speed manual gearbox (just like the GT3) and featuring the standard Sport Chrono Package for a zero to 100km/h time of 4.4 seconds as well as a top speed of 304 km/h.
The 718 Spyder, which also updates a previous 2016 model, shares all of the Cayman GT4’s mechanical upgrades (and is therefore 39 hp more powerful than the previous Spyder) resulting in an identical 4.4-second sprint from standstill to 100km/h albeit a slightly slower 301-km/h top speed, but unlike the coupe this roadster is a standalone model that doesn’t use the Boxster nameplate despite rolling on its basic architectural platform, the Boxster notably available in all the same trims as the 718 Cayman, albeit starting at $66,100 due to its convertible top.
The two cars’ six-speed manual transmission incorporates a downshift rev-matching “Auto Blip” function that automatically syncs a given gear to the engine’s speed when dropping a cog, a feature Porsche smartly allows you to individually activate or deactivate via a button, while both models receive a totally new exclusively designed sport exhaust system that “underscores the exciting flat-six sound of the engine,” says Porsche in a press release.
Unique aerodynamically infused styling to set these compact supercars apart
Unlike the Boxster, some of the 718 Spyder’s key styling details appear inspired by the 918 Spyder supercar as well as the recently introduced 2019 911 Speedster, the former influencing its lower front fascia and similar albeit much taller double-bubble rear buttress-style deck lid, and the latter inspiring a version of the sportier front fascia as well as its much more closely aligned double-humped “streamliners” on the 718 Spyder’s rear deck, plus its uniquely black vented hood, “Spyder” lettering on the thick B-pillars instead of “Speedster”, a similarly sculpted auto-deploying rear spoiler, and an aerodynamically engineered working rear diffuser.
Of note, the 718 Cayman GT4 pulls forward a number of similar upgrades to the previous 2016 Cayman GT4, such as its more aggressive front fascia, black hood vent, tall fixed rear wing, wind-harnessing rear diffuser, and uniquely shaped alloy wheels, all designed to minimize weight while maximizing high-speed downforce and stability, with Porsche even choosing to paint both launch cars in the same yellow hue, just like they kept the new 718 Spyder’s launch colour white.
Back to aerodynamics, the 718 Cayman GT4 is capable of producing up to 50 percent more downforce without adversely impacting drag, most of which comes from its new diffuser design and fixed rear wing, the latter offering 20-percent more efficiency than the outgoing design. Up front, a large lip spoiler, bookended with air curtains, helps to channel airflow around the front wheels.
The new 718 Spyder’s rear wing, on the other hand, powers upwards automatically at 120 km/h, but unlike the 718 Boxster its fabric top is not powered, but manual, stowing below the rear deck quickly and easily. When installed, Porsche promises that the top manages high speeds effectively, while also providing good protection from wind, rain and other exterior elements.
Suspension improvements designed to match the engine’s rarified capability
Along with the aero improvements of both new 718 models, Porsche underpins each with high-performance lightweight chassis designs pulled from the brand’s extensive motorsport experience. The rear axle was specifically designed for the new Spyder and GT4, but the front axle was pulled from the race-bred 2018 911 GT3.
The Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) system comes standard, allowing for a 30-millimetre drop in ride height when compared to the regular 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman, which results in a lower centre of gravity to aid handling, although keep in mind that both cars allow the ability to manually adjust camber, toe, ride height and anti-roll bar settings.
Both cars’ brakes were also taken from the 911 GT3, including their large 380-mm cast iron rotors and fixed aluminum calipers, while Porsche’s 50-percent lighter ceramic composite brakes, featuring 410-mm discs up front and 390-mm rotors in the rear, are optional. Typical of Porsche’s GT models, the two cars’ ABS, electronic stability (ESC) and traction (TC) controls are tuned specifically to the needs of each car, while both ESC and TC can be switched off via a two-stage process.
Porsche also includes a standard mechanical limited-slip differential incorporating Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) to improve traction, while both models get uniquely designed 20-inch alloy wheels wrapped in UHP rubber measuring 245/35ZR20 up front and 295/30ZR20 in the rear.
While all the various performance upgrades don’t necessarily make either the 718 Spyder or the 718 Cayman GT4 quicker off the line than their top-performing GTS counterparts, they’re both more capable on a racetrack and should therefore improve high-speed driving on any curving road. Of note, the new Cayman GT4 is capable of lapping the Nürburgring Nordschleife “more than ten seconds faster than its predecessor,” says Porsche.
Special interior designs that pay respect to Porsche motorsport heritage
Making any drive better is an updated interior with a new GT Sport steering wheel that measures 360 mm in diameter and sports a yellow top centre marker on the GT4. Additionally, both cars’ shift lever is 20 mm shorter than that on standard 718 models, helping to provide a “more direct and crisp feel” when swapping gears, while standard Sport Seats Plus feature more pronounced side bolstering for improved lateral support. Aiding grip, each seat’s centre is upholstered in suede-like Alcantara, as is a lower section of the instrument panel, part of the shifter knob and boot, plus the aforementioned steering wheel’s rim.
Interior accents are unique to each model, with the 718 Spyder receiving body-colour trim elements and the 718 Cayman GT4 getting brushed aluminum detailing, while as usual Porsche makes plenty of alternative décor treatments available. Additional options include full bucket seats or 18-way power-adjustable Adaptive Sport Seats Plus, but take note that air conditioning and the newest Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system with Sound Package Plus come standard, although navigation and Porsche Connect with Apple CarPlay are optional.
Of interest, the 718 Spyder can also be ordered with a Spyder Classic Interior Package, featuring two-tone Bordeaux Red and Black leather, extended Alcantara upholstery, GT silver metallic interior trim, and a two-tone black and red fabric top, which is “reminiscent of historic Porsche racing cars,” notes Porsche. Alternatively, both the 718 Spyder and 718 Cayman GT4 can be had with decorative interior stitching in Red, Silver, or Yellow.
The new 2020 Porsche 718 Spyder and 718 Cayman GT4 are now available to order from Porsche Centre Vancouver, with pricing starting at $110,500 for the former and $113,800 for the latter. To learn more, contact us by phone at (604) 736-7911 or come visit us in our showroom at 688 Terminal Ave, Vancouver.
Also, make sure to check out these four videos that show the new 2020 Porsche 718 Spyder and 718 Cayman GT in action:
The new Porsche 718 Spyder. Perfectly irrational. (1:03):
The new Porsche 718 Spyder. Product highlights. (2:25):
The new Porsche 718 Cayman GT4. Product highlights. (2:13):
The new Porsche 718 GT4. Perfectly irrational. (1:01):
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Porsche
Date Posted: June 30, 2019