We spotted something different about this Boxster lapping the Ring.
Porsche entered the Chinese market 20 years ago in 2001. To celebrate, the company arrived at the 2021 Shanghai Auto Show with two special sports cars. The first was a special edition 911 called the "Porsche 911 Turbo S 20 Years Porsche China Edition," and the other was a not-so-ordinary 2021 Porsche 718 Spyder. Aside from the lovely Frozen Berry Metallic paint (first seen on the Taycan), the Chinese-market 718 Spyder features a different engine.
Instead of the 4.0-liter naturally aspirated flat-six found on all other 718 Spyder models worldwide, the Chinese version uses the same 2.0-liter turbocharged flat-four from the base Boxster, likely to appease strict Chinese emissions laws. Instead of the 414 horsepower found in a standard 718 Spyder, this one makes do with just 300 hp.
A Porsche spokesperson confirmed to CarBuzz that "this is a market specific offering that is not planned for the US." Porsche already builds a lightweight version of the base Boxster called the Boxster T, so it wouldn't make sense to offer this less powerful Spyder model here. Still, our spy photographers recently spotted the four-cylinder 718 Spyder testing on the Nurburgring, wearing white paint with a contrasting red roof.
Aside from the obvious engine change, this model looks to have a softer look than any 718 Spyder sold currently. This car lacks the Spyder's characteristic hood vent, plus it wears a different rear spoiler, bumpers, and exhaust. The only piece it seems to retain from the US-market car is the manual convertible roof.
Though Porsche has no plans to offer this car outside of China, we could see an enthusiast swell of demand for it. Porsche fans have been clamoring for a lightweight entry-level model, and this could be just what those enthusiasts are looking for. Lightweight, understated styling, and a manual roof could offer a back-to-basics approach that Porsche has lacked in recent years. It's only a pipe dream, but we think this model could work in the US.