When Porsche introduced the new 718 generation of its midengine sports cars, it dropped the usual flat-six engine in favor of turbocharged flat-fours, a move that not everybody necessarily enjoyed right off the bat. But now, two new variants of the 718 Cayman and 718 Boxster herald the return of a proper Porsche six-pot.
Porsche on Monday unveiled the 2020 718 Cayman GT4 and the 718 Spyder. Underneath the skin of each, it's essentially the same vehicle, packing the same powertrain and updates to other components. It's all a matter of what you prefer on the outside -- if you prefer a coupe, take the GT4, while drop-top aficionados will likely turn to the Spyder instead.
At the heart of the matter is a new 4.0-liter, naturally-aspirated flat-six engine, producing 414 horsepower and 309 pound-feet of torque with a lofty redline of 8,000 rpm. Both cars come standard with a six-speed manual transmission, which can automatically rev the engine for smoother downshifts, preventing the need for owners to master the ol' heel-toe action, but it can be deactivated if your footwork game is up to snuff. Given enough space, the GT4 will reach 188 miles per hour, while the Spyder isn't far behind at 187 mph.
The GT4 and Spyder trims are more than big engines. Both cars sport the Porsche Active Suspension Management adaptive damper setup, riding some 1.18 inches lower than the standard 718 variants. Proper track rats will enjoy the ability to manually adjust camber, toe, ride height and sway bar settings. The rear axle is unique to these two new models, but the front axle is borrowed from the eminently capable 911 GT3. Iron brake rotors are standard, but they can be upgraded to Porsche's carbon-ceramic brakes for extra stopping power.
That's not all. A mechanical limited-slip differential with torque vectoring is standard on both the GT4 and Spyder. The traction and stability controls, as well as the anti-lock braking system, have been tweaked with performance in mind, and the two former systems can be turned off in two stages for some drifty good times. The whole package culminates in two seriously fast vehicles -- Porsche says the GT4 can lap the Nürburgring Nordschleife more than 10 seconds faster than the previous GT4. Yowza.
In the looks department, both cars are more aggressive than their base trims. The Spyder and GT4 both receive a unique front lip spoiler with the model designation on display, as well as a special air inlet ahead of the frunk that improves both cooling and aerodynamic downforce. Out back, there's a set of tinted taillights, a new rear diffuser and a sport exhaust system designed just for these cars. The 718 Spyder also gets a manually operated fabric soft top.
Inside, both models receive a GT Sport steering wheel, and the GT4's wheel has a 12 o'clock stripe in black. The gear lever is about half an inch shorter than on other models, and Porsche's sport seats are standard. The Cayman GT4 gets brushed aluminum trim, while the Spyder makes do with body-colored trim pieces. Air condition and Porsche's PCM infotainment system are both standard.
Performance doesn't come cheap at Porsche. When the cars reach dealers in the spring of 2020, the 718 Spyder will set a person back $97,550 including destination, while the 718 Cayman GT4 is a bit more expensive at $100,450.