24 July 2019
Indulge me for an instant, please. I'm not just one to start articles having an "I," but with the 2020 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 and 718 Spyder, it's personal. And not simply because C/D once ran a letter accusing me to be a "Porsche jock-sniffing fanboy." Plan a hearty whiff. If you wish to detect hints of jock inside it, that says more about you.
If you ask me, this pair was a deep gulp of oxygen. I didn't realize just how much I needed this type of pure palate cleanser. But Personally i think so far better concerning the world after driving both of these that I must shout it from your rooftops-or the screen of one's computer (hopefully, your projects computer)/tiny pocket computer/whatever. There's lots of bullshit on the list of myriad new cars you can purchase today in the us. Both of these are priced just like a large amount of that bullshit, however in a pricing stratosphere where you're mostly buying pampering or prestige-and what, exactly, is prestige anyway, apart from a salve for insecurity?-the Cayman GT4 and Spyder provide something real.
Straight Talk on the Flat-Six
That something real starts with something new. Plus some straight talk wireless. The turbocharged flat-fours in other Boxsters and Caymans aren't as effective as the sixes they replaced. Nowhere near it. But whining concerning the way things was previously doesn't recreate the days of the past. Still we've found a whole lot concerning the latest generation to approve of, particularly in its 350- and 365-hp S and GTS trims that, when paired with Porsche’s excellent dual-clutch automatic, can run quarter-miles that just nip the 11s. But there's a lot more to like concerning the 4.0-liter flat-six within the GT4 and Spyder, chiefly its friendlier, linear power build and, primarily, the raspy, stirring rip to its 8000-rpm redline. Sports cars are irrational, emotional devices for delivering sensory experience, which steady pull and hoarse bawl are critical to the knowledge.
Surprisingly, this isn't an evolution of a preexisting naturally aspirated Porsche flat-six. Rather, this is a naturally aspirated variant from the turbocharged six which has powered 911s since 2016. But here, it's bored and stroked to 4.0 liters-a full third bigger than the 911's version-and fitted with a fresh crankshaft and new heads, manifolds, and internals. The effect is 414 horsepower-up 49 around the turbo four within the Cayman GTS-and 309 lb-ft of torque. While that torque figure is identical to some manual GTS's-PDK-equipped cars have yet another 8 lb-ft unleashed-the 4.0's peak lives between 5000 and 6800 rpm, right in which a Porsche's peak twist should be. The GTS, in comparison, hits its peak at 1900 rpm and carries it to 5500. As well as the GT4/Spyder engine's power peak, at 7600, is 1100 rpm greater than the turbo four's. Despite having cylinder deactivation shutting off a whole bank and running the engine like a 2.0-liter slant-three under light loads, expect fuel economy to fall well lacking the four-cylinder's. And that is just fine. Acceleration performance will probably lag that of the quickest PDK-equipped Boxsters and Caymans, too. That's also fine.
The reasons that 4.0-liter isn't exactly like that within the 911 GT3 are twofold. First, the GT3's dry-sump oiling system uses an external tank. That sump doesn't easily fit into the 718's engine bay once the powertrain is rotated the 180 degrees essential to go from rear-engine to mid-engine. A motivated engineering team surely may have relocated that tank, but Porsche representatives also reveal that this GT3 engine wasn't happy detuned towards the output of the brand new six, that is about around the 718 chassis was created to handle. However the best news for enthusiasts is that 4.0-liter was made to meet emissions standards as far out because the automaker can anticipate, likely indicating that even yet in age turbocharging, the atmospheric six includes a long(ish) future at Porsche.
The Tie Rods That Bind
Those craving a primary link between GT4/Spyder and GT3 will see it immediately aft from the engine: This 4.0-liter shares its dual-mass flywheel using the GT3. But look slightly deeper, in to the suspension, and there is a much stronger and much more meaningful connection. The subframes, rear dampers, suspension links, and ball joints-as well because the entire front axle-are distributed to the GT3.
We drove the Cayman GT4 just beyond Edinburgh, at Knockhill, Scotland's only FIA-accredited circuit, and something having a fantastically appropriate name for any rowdy racing circuit. And rowdy the area is, cramming some 200 feet of elevation become just 1.3 miles. For reference, Virginia International Raceway, where we run our annual Lightning Lap track test, is a lot more than doubly long but measures just 122 feet from its highest to its lowest point. So Knockhill's eight turns certainly are a riotous mix with off-camber turn-in points right at hillcrests, esses laid over rolling hills, along with a straightaway so bumpy it tosses the trunk tires from your tarmac.
The GT4 and Spyder both sit 1.2 inches less than regular 718 models, that is yet another 0.8 down from your GTS versions. Pitch the GT4 right into a corner, also it naturally settles in to the window between sliding rubber and stability-control intervention. The automobile is pleased to dance for the reason that moment, reacting to tiny throttle adjustments, until you're riding the exit curbing. That stability is welcome as Knockhill unsettles the automobile, the GT4 going light over crests and settling immediately back to its former trajectory because the load returns towards the tires. There is a tactile difference between your Normal and Sport settings for that dampers, nonetheless it doesn't substantially change the type of the automobile. There is a useful level of play on the right track in Normal-and racing up Knockhill's lumpy straightaway it's particularly welcome-but Sport only feels too stiff on the roughest, most potholed Scottish byways. The six's power delivery is both friendlier and much more frenetic compared to the turbocharged four's. The softer low end calms the trunk over humps, while that power peak just 400 rpm shy of redline practically begs one to keep the foot inside it and brake late.
The brakes are outstanding, with great bite and progressive, easy modulation. These range toppers can be found only having a six-speed manual, which third pedal is likewise perfect. Porsche calls its automatic rev-matching function Auto Blip, however the 718's gearbox-here having a shorter shift lever than in other Boxsters and Caymans-and clutch feel so natural that Auto Blip is practically what it can even when the machine is off. With this car, everybody is really a heel-toe pro.
Knockhill's length doesn't provide much possibility to explore higher speeds, however the GT4 and Spyder reap the benefits of a thorough aerodynamic rework set alongside the remaining 718 line. Both have a completely paneled underbody and sizable rear diffuser. Unique front splitters differ between coupe and roadster, to operate in collaboration with both GT4's fixed rear spoiler as well as the Spyder's deployable unit. The effect is really a significant improvement in downforce-Porsche claims the Spyder may be the first Boxster ever to create downforce on the trunk axle-without a detrimental influence on the drag coefficient. That helps these 718s going to top speeds of 187 mph (Spyder) and 189 mph (GT4).
'Ring-ky Dinky Do
Submiting a 7:30 lap time round the Nürburgring, the GT4 is 12 seconds quicker than its predecessor and, more impressively, four seconds quicker compared to the famed $450,000 Carrera GT, using its 605-hp 8400-rpm V-10. Admittedly, that's testimony to tire technology around other things. The pair's 245/35ZR-20 fronts and 295/30ZR-20 rears are 10 and 30 millimeters wider, respectively, than what the GTS models ride on.
Scotland's winding back roads, hemmed tight with hedgerows and stone fences, highlight having less sound-deadening within the Spyder's lightweight top, because the exhaust bellow reverberates back loudly as well as the hiss from the rain on the gray Scottish Tuesday will do to lull a passenger to sleep. Unlike other Boxsters, the Spyder's top is manual, and even though the buttresses put in a few steps to its stowing, we're assured it's nothing from the two-person circus that lowering the first-gen Spyder's was. (Since it was raining the complete day in our exposure to the automobile, we didn't have to be able to check it out ourselves.) Using the heftier chassis components essential to handle the increased cornering loads, the GT4 and Spyder gain some pounds in comparison to other 718s. Appears like several pounds back into the very best wouldn't spoil the fun.
Actually, few things could spoil the fun. The Spyder and Cayman GT4 are toys, but toys it is possible to drive every day-so long as you do not obtain the sport bucket seats, which are just ideal for short track stints and would tire bodies of nearly every size following a couple hours of street use. So do not get those, unless your $100,000 Porsche is likely to be mostly a track toy. But do purchase a Cayman GT4 or Spyder. Or any Cayman or Boxster, even an early on, $20,000 used one-just be cautious and smart about any of it in the event that's your route. Because if you understand now just how much you will need it, you'll know once you drive one. Porsche's mid-engined sports cars are just like a massage for that soul.
2020 Porsche 718 Spyder/Cayman GT4
mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 2-passenger, 2-door convertible or hatchback
718 Spyder, $97,650; 718 Cayman GT4, $100,550
DOHC 24-valve flat-6, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
244 cu in, 3996 cc
414 hp @ 7600 rpm
309 lb-ft @ 5000 rpm
Wheelbase: 97.8 in
Length: 174.4-175.4 in
Width: 70.9 in
Height: 49.5-50.0 in
Passenger volume: 49 cu ft
Cargo volume: 9-15 cu ft
Curb weight (C/D est): 3250 lb