The 718 Spyder and GTS 4.0 models benefit too.
For better or worse (we would argue worse), the manual transmission is on life support in the United States. Earlier in the year, news broke that manual-equipped cars were outsold by EVs in 2019 for the first time, with manual cars making up just 1.1 percent of all new cars sold for the year.
It doesn't exactly help matters when sports car manufacturers like Porsche come along and blow their own manual cars out of the water by introducing a quick-shifting dual-clutch automatic transmission. That's the scenario we're now facing, as Porsche has dished the dirt on the PDK gearboxes for the high-performance Porsche 718 Cayman GT4, Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder, and GTS 4.0 models from both model lines.
We will forever maintain that the manual transmission adds a level of driver engagement and fun unmatched by any automatic or dual-clutch. But fun and engagement are one thing; performance is another, and the seven-speed PDK creams Porsche's six-speed stick in a straight line. Porsche has just revealed that the PDK-equipped Boxster Spyder and Cayman GT4 scoot to 60 mph in a scant 3.7 seconds, representing a monumental 0.5-second improvement over the stick.
Things are equally stark for the Boxster GTS 4.0 and Cayman GTS 4.0, which hit the 60 mph mark in 3.8 seconds - again, 0.5 seconds quicker than their six-speed counterparts.
Granted, it's not quite an apples-to-apples comparison; the aforementioned PDK-equipped cars get an extra 8 lb-ft in peak torque, for a total of 317 lb-ft, and the limited-slip differential in those cars feature higher locking factors for improved traction. Other unique features include a shorter seventh gear (0.71 vs. 0.62) compared to Porsche's other PDK-equipped 718 models, and a standard Sport Chrono Package. Still, 0.5 seconds is a significant gap when we're talking about zero-to-60 times in the four-second range.
Other changes for the new model year include Race-Tex fabric instead of Alcantara upholstery, the addition of Python Green to the GT models' color palette, 20-inch Aurum-finish alloy wheels on the Spyder - previously a GT4-exclusive option - and summer tires on the Spyder instead of ultra-high-performance rubber.