Up Close With Porsche 718 Spyder And Why Enthusiasts Should Be Excited!
A detailed look at the Porsche 718 Spyder stating all key highlights and why enthusiasts should be excited about it
Words: Neeraj Padmakumar Photography: Sarath S
The entire Porsche (road-car)lineup of the day be considered a cake, the 718 Spyder would be no short of the cherry on it! In a rather unexpected stint that we recently had with a tastefully specced example, we felt it to be among the best Porsches of the day and to skillfully make up for all the disappointments that you and I have been having from the 718 lineup! Here’s more…
Porsche 718 Spyder: Design Deviations That Aren’t Just Show-Pieces!
The Porsche Spyder 718 could be said to have less in common with the 718 Boxster (or the Cayman) in terms of design and key mechanicals. On the design front, the Spyder borrows multiple things from the Cayman GT4 than from other 718 models.
The overall design and shape might remind you of 718 Boxster. However, on a closer inspection, you will get to know that the Spyder is longer and significantly lower than the regular car. The bond to the GT4 begins here! At 4,430mm, the Spyder is almost as long as the GT4 with an identical wheelbase as well. It, however, stands lower than the track-spec counterpart.
The overall design has a high focus on aerodynamics. The 718 Spyder benefits greatly from aero-efficiency. There are multiple elements in the overall design that makes this happen. The front end, for instance, gets an aero-friendly bumper with massive air intakes (the entire assembly seems to have been borrowed from the GT4 with minimal restructuring) Also noteworthy is the evident air intakes between the ‘Frunk’ and the front bumper. Almost everything on the 718 Spyder which you think would help in its aero-upper hand, is real and functional. There are no faux design elements anywhere to be seen.
The side profile looks streamlined and stylish. To notice here would be the ride height and wheel sizes. The 718 Spyder stands around 48 mm lower than the regular Boxster (and a close call at the GT4 which stands 2.5mm higher). Also, the 718 Spyder gets larger 20-inch wheels and better brakes ( This particular car had the Aluminium alloys that come standard, while Carbon Ceramic units are optional). Porsche offers Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres on the new Spyder, which by the way, are the best in business in terms of grip and performance. The side air intake on the Spyder looks identical to that of the GT4 with a single horizontal blade, while the same has 2 sideblades on the regular Boxster.
The rear looks handsome. The key highlights here include a pair of fair-sized rear haunches that might distantly resemble the ones we had previously seen on the 918 Spyder, a massive functional rear diffuser with dual exhausts integrated into it, a large rear spoiler, and smoked tail lamps. Courtesy of its large diffuser, the Spyder 718 offers up to 50% less lift. The large rear spoiler increases the downforce further, and gets automatically at speeds of 120 kph and above.
The car gets multiple ‘Spyder’ motifs. You get to see a stylish Black ‘718 Spyder’ at the tail, Chromed ‘Spyder’ lettering at either side, near where you lock the roof in, and a number of places inside the cabin as well.
To sum it up, with very few exceptions in place, the 718 Spyder could in terms of design, be a Cayman GT4 without the roof, on the most platonic note!
It Gets A Manual Roof!
Uh! You didn’t see that coming, did you? Well, the Porsche 718 Spyder has a soft top with manual operation. Everything other than the final locking needs to be done manually. While this might sound like a tedious task on paper, it isn’t really one in real. The press of a button gets it unlocked in no time. Get out of the car, manhandle it, tuck it into the boot (which you ought to open sometime before removing the roof), close the boot and a few other pieces, and you are good to go. This requires some amount of getting used to. But, once you get a hold of it, the roof attaching/detaching can be done in competitive time frames. The fabric top gets a pair of flying buttresses, that add more spice to the overall aesthetics and give an aero advantage as well.
Ditching motorized roof operation has helped a great deal in keeping the weight in check. A simple, manual setup for the fabric top in place of motorized units in the likes of, say the Boxster, has helped in keeping the kerb weight at a very promising 1,495 kilograms mark.
A quick dive into the history of Porsche Spyder would instantly reveal that this nameplate had always had problems with its roof! When it was first launched in 2010, the roof was too flimsy and useless for the speeds the car was built for. The 2015 Spyder had significant improvements gone into its roof but still had its engine detuned from the Cayman GT4, to cope up with the vulnerable top. The 718 Spyder seems to have had these issues rectified, going by the user reports so far. (We cannot give you an authentic opinion on this, as we have not been able to drive this car yet)
The interior looks sporty and premium. There is generous use of Alcantara inside. The 2-way electric sports seats feel nice and supportive on enthusiastic drives. Porsche offers sportier Carbon Fiber bucket seats in the global market, but the car we have here doesn’t get them (thankful enough, as they are too hostile for daily driving, in terms of comfort offered.)
The dashboard on the 718 Spyder looks sporty and gets Black leather wraps with contrast stitches. The air-con vents at the center may be noted in particular for their peculiar shapes. These resemble the Spyder’s rear haunches. There is also a neat analog clock at the center that looks classy. The Spyder gets Volkswagen Group’s new generation touchscreen infotainment system, which feels quite responsive and convenient to operate. It comes with Apple CarPlay but no Android Auto for now. The car here has been specced with a 110 Watts, 6 speaker audio system, digital radio, and Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system.
The Spyder gets a sporty GT steering wheel with very few controls on it. Wrapped in Alcantara, it feels nice and sporty to hold and is heated as well. The car also comes with metallic pedals and a footrest. Porsche has practiced minimalism with controls on the central tunnel. The car gets dual-zone climate control and a sporty combination cluster with an analog speedometer, tachometer, and a 4.6-inch digital display.
Multiple touches inside the cabin look sporty and action-ready like the door handles. The Spyder gets fabric strips finished in Red as its door handles, an effort that the carmaker says, is to reduce weight. (But seriously, how many grams did you save Porsche?!)
This IS A Practical Porsche!
Despite being a high-performance convertible, the 718 Spyder is quite practical for a sportscar. Decide to use one as your daily driver, and you would hardly regret. There is a decent focus on practicality. There is decent storage on offer. The front trunk (or the ‘Frunk’ as it is better known today) offers 150 liters of space and the rear boot, despite having to accommodate the roof, has a good 120 liters too. There are a number of storage spaces inside the cabin as well. A smart touch inside is the dual cupholders integrated neatly into the dashboard. A light press would pop these out, meaning you get no more coffee spills on your weekender speed runs!
The Porsche 718 Spyder is underpinned by the all-new lightweight, agile platform from VW Group. This chassis offers added flexibility as the camber, toe, and anti-roll bars can be adjusted for track use. Road car to track hawk with ease! The suspensions have been designed with performance in mind but are not as mean as the ones on the GT4. While the Cayman GT4 is strictly a track machine, the Spyder is more livable and road-friendly with minimum compromises in performance. The car gets Porsche Active Suspension Management System (PSM), the variable dampers of which greatly benefit the ride-handling balance. Also, the Spyder rides 30mm lower than the GT4.
The powerhouse is the next most notable change on the Spyder. This car draws its juice from a 4.0L Flat 6, naturally aspirated petrol engine that churns out 420 PS and 420 Nm. This engine uses Aluminium blocks and cylinder heads, and gets a direct fuel injection system as well. The Spyder should be so much fun being a mid-engined Porsche with Rear Wheel Drive. The transmissions on offer on the 718 globally are a 6-speed manual and 7-speed PDK (Porsche name for a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic, essentially a highly improved version of VW’s DSG). However, it is just the manual gearbox that is currently being offered in India. The car also gets Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) with mechanically locking differential, electronic parking brake, ‘Auto Blip’ function etc.
We can’t give you an authentic op on how this car drives, how it sprints or handles, as we haven’t driven it yet. But we do know that the Spyder 718 has impressive on-paper figures- like a top speed of 301 kph, 0-100kph in 4.4 seconds, and 0-200 in 13.8 seconds.
A high focus is also placed on the safety front. The Spyder 718 gets a line of exciting safety technologies like multiple airbags, engine immobilizer, fixed roll-over bar, interior surveillance, and ISOFIX mounts.
The new Spyder’s 6-pot powerhouse is clean and adheres to Euro 6 standards. The European spec cars (like the one with us today) get two 3-way catalytic converters and onboard electronics for monitoring emissions. The US-spec has a slightly different emission control system though.
Why Enthusiasts Should Be Excited?
We will now tell you why enthusiasts should be excited about the 718 Spyder. This could be one of the best Porsches on sale today. It is on multiple fronts, a true Porsche for the purists. Unlike the 718 Boxster and Cayman that get turbocharged 4 cylinder engines, the Spyder has a full-grown flat 6 unit. While the turbo fours might give you ample oomph in terms of performance, they would miss out on the 6-pot soundtrack and the proper feel of driving an NA. The Spyder would get these boxes ticked, making for an unmatched Porsche experience.
The Spyder’s engine loves to be revved. You can rev this all the way till 8000 rpm. Also, the gear ratios are set in such a way that you can gain speeds of up to 80 kph in the second gear! Going by user feedbacks, the ride and handling also seem to have improved. Thus, we enthusiasts should really be excited about this car.
The 718 Spyder bears a base-price of around Rs 1.6 Crores. The car we had our acquaintance with, has been specced to be worth Rs 1.78 Crores. While the base price is quite justified, you might blame the additional speccing to be expensive, and we do not disagree. Good things come with a price!