Ah, summer. With milder temperatures and sunny skies, it's the perfect time for a new convertible such as the Porsche 718 Spyder 2020. Unless, of course, you're in Scotland, where rain and cool temperatures make up a typical summer. And coincidentally, this gray and wet climate is exactly where I'm going to test the latest Porsche droptop.
It's a good thing that fun is at the rendezvous, even when the top is reached.
He has the look
With hourly forecasts calling for constant rain all day, there will be no drop in the Spyder's manual top. At least the 718 Spyder is smooth with the roof in place. But it's only when you go head-to-head that you see the two tapered bumps of the rear deck, which visually connect it to the original Porsche 550 Spyder, as well as to the two Boxster Spyders that have preceded it.
In addition to roof and do-it-yourself DIY lines, there are other functional visual changes that you will not find on other Boxsters. Like the Porsche GT models, there is a hood exit port to vent the air after it passes into the radiator. There are also special side shunts that allow air to come out of the front wheels to improve the supports. At the rear, a rear spoiler automatically rises to 100 km / h. Combined with a functional rear diffuser, the Spyder 2020 becomes the first member of the Boxster family to actively generate a force on the rear axle.
Head inside and you'll find a good dose of Alcantara on the steering wheel, seat inserts, door handles and armrests. The Spyder logo is embroidered in the head restraints of the seat, embossed on the skid plates and printed on the gauge group of the central tachometer. Another allusion to weight reduction, instead of traditional door handles, there are black fabric buckles to pull the door.
More stringent technology offerings
In the center of the Spyder cabin is the Porsche Communication Management infotainment system running on a 7-inch touch screen. Standard fixings include satellite radio, Bluetooth, a few USB ports and a six-speaker audio system. Navigation, a Wi-Fi hotspot, real-time traffic information, a wireless charger andcan be had as options. Unfortunately, Android Auto remains absent.
Audiophiles can amplify Spyder songs with two upgrade options. A 10-speaker Bose surround sound setup is available for a reasonable price of $ 990. Or you can do it all and equip a $ 4,690 Burmester high-end surround sound setup with 12 speakers and 821 watts of power.
If you prioritize the latest in safety technology, the 718 Spyder will probably not be your cup of tea. A rear parking assistance system with a backup camera will be installed on all Spyders to the US, but that's all for driver assistance technicians.
The goods of execution
The Spyder's design is undoubtedly part of its appeal, but significant improvements have also been made to the transmission and chassis. For the first time, the Spyder receives GT-level equipment, sharing its undercarriage and suspension with the new Cayman GT4, also scheduled for 2020. A new 4.0 liter six-cylinder Boxer engine, built in the middle of the ship , produces 414 horses and 309 pounds of torque. It surpasses 39 horsepower the 3.8-liter unit of the 2016 Boxster Spyder and is associated exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission that will delight purists with the three-pedal drive.
According to the Porsche, the Spyder will reach 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, travel the quarter mile in 12.4 and reach a top speed of 187 mph. In rainy conditions, on narrow and winding roads that cross the Scottish countryside, opportunities to really put the right foot on the ground are rare. The fusion on the fast track, however, finally allows me to dance with the engine's redline at 8,000 rpm – do not be afraid, this thing is a screamer.
The engine is crisp, with immediate throttle response and linear power, and it sounds pretty good at high speeds – though nowhere is it more exciting than the GT3's 9,000 rpm engine. The transmission's short transmission speed selector is fluidly inserted into each door and the clutch pedal is perfectly tuned for smooth, solid operation.
Interestingly, this new transmission is also (allegedly) more efficient. Thanks to a new stop / start system and the deactivation of the cylinders, the latter allowing the engine of the six-cylinder flat to roll only three cylinders at a time, declared Porsche, declares that the 718 Spyder is not a curb fuel. Of course, official EPA ratings are not yet available, but the 718 Spyder should have no trouble at least matching its predecessor fuel consumption ratings of 18 miles per gallon (city) and 24 km / h on highway.
The Spyder's reflexes are sharpened with two-way adaptive dampers, control arms, ball joints, and sub-frames extracted directly from the 911 GT3, giving it a 1.18 inch lower driving height than the 911 GT3. that of a standard Boxster. Optimized stability controls, a limited slip differential and braking torque vectoring also help improve the situation.
The Spyder makes sharp turns on a well balanced steering wheel. It is solid and surfing in these wet conditions, driven by 20-inch Michelin Pilot Sport Cup staggered tires. With the dampers in normal mode, the driving is extremely flexible, giving way to a small touch of roll in cornering. The Sport setting is a bit firmer, which reduces the car's tendency to lean, but remains quite livable from the point of view of driving comfort.
The standard six-piston front and rear brake calipers lock the steel discs. They offer a strong initial strike force, are easy to modulate and are everything you really need to drive on the street. Porsche offers a beefier carbon-ceramic configuration for $ 8,000 more, but it only really seems worth it if you follow your Spyder regularly.
All this has a price
If you want the most attractive and efficient 718 Boxster, the Porsche 718 Spyder 2020 is available for order now and deliveries are expected to begin next spring. This will start at $ 96,300, not including $ 1,350 for the destination. That's a huge jump from the $ 818 718 Boxster GTS, but the Spyder offers a lot more, both in terms of charm and road performance.
Personally, I would not blame anyone for throwing the Spyder – it's a good step forward from the GTS. And if your summers are not, well, Scottish, it's a great way to get the most out of this sunny sky.
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