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Reviews 2020 Porsche 718 Spyder first drive: A Boxster with way more bite

00:47  18 october  2019
00:47  18 october  2019 Source:   cnet.com

2020 Porsche 718 Spyder First Test: Ultimate Driver’s Delight

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2020 Porsche 718 Spyder : A more ballistic Boxster . They deliver a strong initial bite , are easy to modulate and all you'll ever really need for street driving . If the most attractive, best-performing 718 Boxster is something you desire, the 2020 Porsche 718 Spyder is available for order now, with

The 2020 Porsche 718 Spyder is the real deal, an open-top, mid-engine sports car that channels the spirit of the legendary race-bred 550 Spyder and 718 RS 60 roadsters. Sure, Porsche has produced modern riffs on the theme over the past few years, like the 987-series Boxster RS60 and the The 718 Spyder is the first open-top car developed by GT model line director Andreas Preuninger's team. Key to the concept is the rigid structure of the Boxster on which it is based, a car developed from scratch as an open-top vehicle, and not a Cayman with the roof cut off and some extra bracing added.

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The Porsche 718 Spyder is for winning souls. It's not the quickest car in the 718 Boxster /Cayman family. Or the most structurally stiff. But what it lacks on the spec sheet, it returns in deep and meaningful allure. We spent two days firing through the Spyder 's six-speed gearbox, kissing 8000 rpm with its flat-six until our If that seems like a lot of money for a Boxster , that's because it is. But we've spent time in many Porsches , and this one has the rewards of the rare ones that cost even more . The rewards of open-air freedom, mid-engine balance, and a flat-six that you'll hear long after the drive .

Porsche also upped the ante with more standard equipment for 2021, including dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, auto-dimming mirrors with a rain sensor, Apple CarPlay integration, and bixenon headlamps. Pricing and Which One to Buy. For those shopping without limits, the GTS 4.0 The Boxster 's interior has a little more plastic than we'd expect in a car that costs this much , but buyers can cover the console lid, door-panel trim, and instrument-cluster top in leather for a relatively reasonable price. The Boxster 's two flimsy dash-mounted pop-out cupholders have limited utility and

Ah, summertime. With warmer temperatures and sunny skies, it's the perfect time of year for a new convertible like the 2020 Porsche 718 Spyder. Unless, of course, you're in Scotland, where rain and chilly temperatures constitute a typical summer. And as luck would have it, this gray, wet climate is exactly where I'll be testing Porsche's latest droptop.

Good thing it's a thrill even when the top is up.

It's got the look

With the hourly forecast calling for constant rain throughout the day, there will be no lowering of the Spyder's manual soft top. At least the 718 Spyder looks slick with the roof in place. But it's only when you go topless that you see the rear deck's dual, tapering humps, visually connecting it to the original Porsche 550 Spyder, as well as the two Boxster Spyders that came before it.

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Porsche 718 Boxster models. The 718 Spyder is a two-seat, rear-wheel- drive soft-top convertible sports car. The 718 Spyder is powered by a 4.0-liter flat-six engine that produces 414 horsepower and 309 lb-ft of torque. The flat-six is paired with a six-speed manual transmission to start, but later in It's a bit larger than the Boxster , but for around the same money, the Mercedes-AMG C 43 offers a back seat, a more powerful V6 engine and more standard equipment. If your main car-shopping goal is to get your hands on a luxury vehicle with a drop-top experience, the C-Class is one of our favorites.

Away we go in the 2020 Porsche 718 Spyder . This is the pinnacle of the Porsche 718 family, along with its fixed-roof sibling, the Cayman GT4. Although both Spyder and GT4 have existed previously, this is the closest they've ever been to each other, sharing a unique 4.0-liter naturally aspirated engine, suspension and aerodynamic enhancements.

Outside of the weight-saving, do-it-yourself roof and streamliners, there are other functional visual alterations that you won't find on other Boxsters. Like the Porsche GT models, there's an outlet fore of the hood to evacuate air after it flows through the radiator. There are also special side bypasses that route air out ahead of the front wheels to improve downforce. In back, there's a rear spoiler that goes up automatically at 75 miles per hour, which, when paired with a functional rear diffuser, help the 2020 Spyder become the first Boxster family member to actively generate rear-axle downforce.

a car driving on a road: The 718 Spyder's dual rear humps certainly set it apart. Porsche© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. The 718 Spyder's dual rear humps certainly set it apart. Porsche

Head inside and you'll find a liberal helping of Alcantara on the steering wheel, seat inserts, door handles and armrests. The Spyder logo is embroidered into the seat headrests, embossed onto the scuff plates and printed on the center tachometer gauge cluster. In another nod to weight reduction, instead of traditional door handles, there are black fabric door-pull loops.

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For the first time, the 718 Spyder will share drivetrain and chassis components with the 718 Cayman GT4. A newly developed 4.0-liter, naturally aspirated boxer six-cylinder engine powers the 2020 Porsche 718 Spyder .

With heavenly driving characteristics and speedy flat-four engines, the 2020 Porsche 718 Boxster is one of the best convertible sports cars money can buy. The Boxster 's interior has a little more plastic than we'd typically expect in a car that costs this much , but more leather is available at a relatively reasonable price and covers the instrument-cluster cover, center-console lid, and door-panel trim pieces. The Boxster 's two flimsy, dash-mounted pop-out cupholders reveal their Teutonic disdain for driving with beverages—Germans don't drink their Nachmittagskaffee while they're driving , after

Tighter tech offerings

At the center of the Spyder's cabin is the Porsche Communication Management infotainment system running on a 7-inch touchscreen. Standard fixings include satellite radio , Bluetooth , a couple of USB ports and a six-speaker audio system. Navigation, a Wi-Fi hotspot, real-time traffic info, and Apple CarPlay can be had as options. Disappointingly, Android Auto remains absent.

Audiophiles can amp up the tunes in the Spyder with two upgrade options. A 10-speaker Bose surround sound setup is available for a reasonable $990. Or you can go all out and equip a $4,690 Burmester high-end surround sound setup with 12 speakers and 821 watts of power.

a car parked in a parking lot: There's respectable infotainment features in the 718 Spyder, but not a whole lot of driver-assistance tech. Porsche© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. There's respectable infotainment features in the 718 Spyder, but not a whole lot of driver-assistance tech. Porsche

If having all the latest safety technology features is one of your main priorities, the 718 Spyder likely isn't going to be your cup of tea. A rear park assist system with a rearview camera will be installed on all US-bound Spyders, but that's it as far as driver-assistance tech is concerned.

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The performance goods

Without a doubt, part of the Spyder's appeal is its design, but there are significant drivetrain and chassis improvements, too. For the first time, the Spyder receives legit GT-level hardware, sharing its running gear and suspension with the also-new-for-2020 Cayman GT4. A newly developed 4.0-liter boxer six-cylinder engine sits amidships producing 414 horsepower and 309 pound-feet of torque. It betters the 2016 Boxster Spyder's 3.8-liter unit by 39 horsepower and is mated exclusively to a six-speed manual transmission that will surely please three-pedal driving purists.

Porsche says the Spyder hits 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, covers the quarter-mile in 12.4, and reaches a top speed of 187 mph. In drizzly conditions on tight, winding roads that run through the Scottish countryside, opportunities to really put my right foot down are rare. Merging onto the expressway, however, finally lets me dance with the engine's 8,000-rpm redline -- fear not, this thing is a screamer.

a car parked on the side of a road: The Spyder is an animal with its 4.0-liter six-cylinder making 414 horsepower. Porsche© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. The Spyder is an animal with its 4.0-liter six-cylinder making 414 horsepower. Porsche

The engine is lively, with immediate throttle response and linear power delivery, and it sounds pretty darn good at high revs -- though it isn't anywhere near as soul-stirring as the GT3's 9,000-rpm engine. The transmission's short-throw shifter fluidly slots into each gate, and the clutch pedal is perfectly tuned for smooth, solid operation.

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  2020 Porsche 718 Spyder Review: Drop-Top Makes No Sacrifices 2020 Porsche 718 Spyder Review: Drop-Top Makes No SacrificesThe 718 Spyder is powered by the same 414-hp 4.0-liter flat-six as the GT4, and has the same six-speed manual transmission. The suspension hardware is identical, from the lightweight struts and springs, to the ultra-stiff ball joints and 1.18-inch lower ride height. Identical, too, are the standard 15-inch steel brakes and 20-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 245/35 ZR20 and 295/30 ZR20 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires front and rear, along with the mechanical limited-slip differential and standard torque-vectoring-by-brake.

Interestingly, this new drivetrain is also (allegedly) more efficient. Thanks to a new stop/start system and cylinder deactivation, the latter allowing the flat-six engine to run on just three cylinders at a time, Porsche says the 718 Spyder isn't a fuel-gulper. Of course, official EPA ratings aren't available just yet, but the 718 Spyder should have no trouble at least matching its predecessor's fuel economy ratings of 18 miles per gallon city and 24 mpg highway.

Sharpening the Spyder's reflexes are two-setting adaptive dampers, control arms, ball joints and subframes taken directly from the 911 GT3, giving it a 1.18-inch lower ride height compared to a standard Boxster. Tweaked stability controls, a limited-slip differential and torque-vectoring under braking also help matters further.

a car parked in a parking lot: Chassis hardware from the 911 GT3 help the Spyder stay glued to the ground. Porsche© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. Chassis hardware from the 911 GT3 help the Spyder stay glued to the ground. Porsche

The Spyder crisply turns in at a flick of the nicely weighted steering wheel, and it's solid and surefooted in these damp conditions, riding on staggered 20-inch Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. With the dampers in Normal mode, the ride is extremely compliant, giving way to only a touch of roll through corners. The Sport setting is a smidge firmer, cutting down the car's tendency to lean, but is still totally livable from a ride comfort standpoint.

The standard-issue six-piston front and four-piston rear brake calipers clamp down on steel rotors. They deliver a strong initial bite, are easy to modulate and all you'll ever really need for street driving. Porsche does offer a beefier carbon-ceramic setup for an additional $8,000, but this really only seems worth it if you'll be tracking your Spyder on the regular.

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a car parked next to a body of water: The Spyder isn't cheap, but it's worth the cost for those in search of the ultimate 718 drop-top. Porsche© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. The Spyder isn't cheap, but it's worth the cost for those in search of the ultimate 718 drop-top. Porsche

It all comes at a price

If the most attractive, best-performing 718 Boxster is something you desire, the 2020 Porsche 718 Spyder is available for order now, with deliveries expected to begin next spring. It'll start at $96,300, not including $1,350 for destination. That's a substantial jump over the $82,800 718 Boxster GTS, but then again, the Spyder does pack a whole lot more, both in outright curb appeal and on-road performance.

Personally, I wouldn't blame anyone for throwing down on the Spyder -- it's a satisfying step up over the GTS. And if your summers aren't, well, Scottish, it's a lovely way to make the most of those sunny skies.

Editors' note: Travel costs related to this feature were covered by the manufacturer. This is common in the auto industry, as it's far more economical to ship journalists to cars than to ship cars to journalists. While Roadshow accepts multiday vehicle loans from manufacturers in order to provide scored editorial reviews, all scored vehicle reviews are completed on our turf and on our terms.

The judgments and opinions of Roadshow's editorial team are our own and we do not accept paid editorial content.

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