by Michael Butler
The 718 range of cars proves time and again that you don't necessarily need to have the number 911 on the back of your Porsche to have a good time. These nimble and light machines are some of the best-driving cars out there, and the 718 Spyder sits at the top of the pile of drop-tops. This special version of the 718 not only looks the part but goes like stink, too: under the engine cover sits a gem of a power plant that sets the Porsche 718 Spyder apart from competitors. A 4.0-liter naturally aspirated flat-six engine producing 414 horsepower screaming to 8,000 rpm right behind your head creates a driving experience only rivaled by much more expensive supercars; rivals like the BMW Z4 and even the Jaguar F-Type Convertible can't match its visceral and involving driving style. So where does the magic in the 718 come from, and why it makes us feel all tingly inside?
The big news from Porsche is the upcoming 718 Spyder RS, a hardcore version of an already hardcore car. The RS promises significant improvements over the standard car, including more aggressive styling, an improved chassis, bigger brakes, and most importantly, an upgraded version of the 4.0-liter engine shared with other Porsche products such as the Cayman GT4 RS. Nothing is set in stone yet, however. In terms of the regular convertible, the new Porsche 718 Spyder carries over from 2022 without any changes.
We've hailed the 2023 Porsche 718 Spyder as one of the best driver's cars out there, but that still doesn't entirely justify the high starting price. The Porsche 718 Spyder can be yours for an MSRP of $103,400 (excluding a destination fee of $1,450) - for the PDK version, you need to add another $3,210 on top of that. The 718 Spyder's cost is sky-high compared to some of its more mainstream competitors, and that's without even mentioning the lack of standard features and driver assistance systems. Equipped with most of the optional features, the 718 Spyder can easily soar past the $130k mark, placing it comfortably in 911 territory. But we know that those perusing this review of the Porsche 718 Spyder to make a purchasing decision are likely not all that fussed - true 718 thrills are worth the money.
See trim levels and configurations:
4.0L Flat 6 Gas
Balance. For Porsche, it's all about that single word. The entire system works together in harmony, with each part of it being perfected on its own to make the bigger picture flawless. Porsche starts off with a taught chassis that seems to completely ignore the fact that it is missing a roof. Combine that with an expertly-tuned suspension setup, a massively communicative steering system, and incredibly effective brakes, and you have a cocktail that will send you to driving Nirvana. Push the 2023 718 Spyder car through some of the USA's best driving roads, and you'll be rewarded with instant feedback, tons of grip (or no grip if you so desire), and ultimately one of the best driving experiences you can have with four wheels. The dramatic howl of the 4.0-liter engine enhances the experience by multitudes. When cruising, it's not the most refined in its class, and the roof barely keeps wind and tire noise at bay, but this car was never meant to be a grand tourer, was it?
Some cars are born for a singular purpose and don't try to pretend to make much sense. The 2023 Porsche 718 Spyder is one such car. From the outset, the 718 Spyder goes straight for the kill; it's not as practical as the standard Boxster, it costs significantly more, and even its closest rivals, such as the BMW Z4, make way more sense as a daily driver, but that's precisely what makes this car so great: its a weekend weapon of epic proportions, and offers a driving experience that no other car in this class can offer. The howl of that naturally-aspirated flat-six is a religious experience and is something the current wave of electrification will soon wipe away. Porsche has created a car that goes beyond basic sense and uses sheer driving enjoyment as the basis of its existence. Any lover of cars can only help but appreciate that.
There's only one option, so we'd recommend heading for the extensive options list to make your Porsche a unique piece of automotive art. If we were buying, we'd start off with a coat of GT Silver metallic and a coat of Satin Aurum on the wheels. Inside we'd keep the standard black interior, but add some red stitching (which adds the leather/race-tex interior package) and get the full racing bucket seats. We'd also opt for the carbon fiber trim package, yellow instrument dials, and the Chrono Stopwatch in yellow. As far as performance is concerned, we'd keep the manual transmission and skip the carbon composite brakes. This build comes to $118,260 including handling fees.
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