Porsche Finally Releases The 718 GT4 And Spyder Variants: These Road Racers Are Aimed Straight At The Purists
The general consensus among fans of Porsches’ mid-engined Cayman and Boxster is that the current generation models tick all the boxes save for one crucial thing, their powerful yet soulless turbocharged flat-four powerplants. Emissions regulations may be partly to blame here but the turbocharging route is also a cost-effective way to unleash extra power. Developing a naturally aspirated powerplant that can both match a turbocharged rival in performance and efficiency is extremely difficult, yet Porsche has gone to extreme lengths to ensure that the newly revealed hardcore GT4 variants are able to do just that.
The range-topping 718 Spyder and the 718 Cayman GT4 are equipped with a newly-developed 4.0-liter flat-six that produces 414hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. It provides instant throttle response and a manic 8000rpm redline while still meeting the latest emissions regulations, thanks to a variable intake system, piezo injectors and adaptive cylinder control. Both the Spyder and Cayman GT4 complete the 0-62mph dash in 4.4-seconds and reach 187 and 188mph respectively.
These are impressive figures considering that the standard manual six-speed transmission has overly lengthy ratios to help keep those emissions down and the fact that the new cars weigh a bit more than their forebears. Most of the additional weight is once again down to emissions regulations, which necessitate heavier batteries for the stop/start system and the mandatory exhaust particulate filters.
Despite this, the new Spyder and GT4 are both quicker than the outgoing models and the GT4 offers up to 50 percent more downforce than its predecessor and is said to lap the Nürburgring over ten seconds quicker. Optional equipment includes Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes and a Clubsport package for the GT4, which includes a rear steel roll bar, a hand-held fire extinguisher and a six-point seatbelt on the driver’s side.
The Spyder too has been honed for increased stability and traction, with this being the first Boxster model to generate downforce at the rear axle thanks to its specially developed automatically deploying rear spoiler. While both cars are lower and stiffer than any other 718─and feature a few suspension components from the GT3─they still offer a decent compromise between road comfort and track handling capabilities.
There is no doubt that similar power and possibly even greater performance could be coaxed out of Porsche’s own 2.5-liter flat-four combined with the quick-shifting PDK gearbox, but that would be missing the point entirely; the 718 Spyder and Cayman GT4 are for the Porsche fans who enjoy that unique interaction between man and machine as much as they do setting lap times. Both models are available to order now and start at €93,350 ($104,400) for the Spyder and €96,206 ($ 107,600) for the Cayman GT4 in Germany. Prices may vary based on country-specific taxes and equipment.
Images courtesy of Porsche