Both come standard with a manual and a naturally-aspirated flat-six. What more could you want?
If you have too much cash and need a reason to blow it on a new car, there are plenty of automakers out there that will fight for your dollar with compelling sports cars. But none will do a better job of tempting you than Porsche, especially now that it’s revealed what may be two of its best enthusiast cars yet, the 718 Spyder and Cayman GT4.
The two mid-engine sports cars rank as the top performance picks in their respective lineups and remedy the biggest problem many enthusiasts had with the 718 Cayman and Boxster: the fact their turbocharged four-cylinder engines didn’t sound as good as the flat-six engine in each car’s predecessor.
And because the 718 Spyder was developed under Porsche Motorsport's wing, it gets the same power plant as the Cayman GT4, a 4.0-liter naturally-aspirated flat-six engine making 414 horsepower and 309 lb-ft of torque. That allows both cars to hit 62 mph from a standstill in 4.4 seconds, with the Cayman GT4 hitting a top speed of 189 mph and the Spyder making it to "only” 187 mph. The engine is derived from the current 911 Carrera rather than the 991.2 GT3 it shares displacement with. That meant the Carrera’s engine had to be bored out by an extra liter and stripped of its turbos before making it into the 718 Cayman GT4 and Spyder.
Aside from an improved exhaust note and 29 extra horsepower when compared to the previous Cayman GT4, the benefit to the new engine is that it allows the new range-topping 718 twins to rev all the way to 8,000 rpm. But in order to accomplish this, Porsche had to give the engine a new forged crankshaft and pistons, piezo fuel injectors, and an aluminum intake system.
To enhance high-speed cornering, Porsche Motorsport also gave the Cayman GT4 and Spyder a dry-sump oil system with a high-performance oil pump. If that’s not compelling enough, then maybe the fact that Porsche is only offering either car with a six-speed manual transmission will do the trick. If you can’t be bothered to learn stick, there’s a good chance Porsche will include its PDK dual-clutch transmission in upcoming Cayman GT4 and Spyder models.
Also like the old Cayman GT4 is the fact the new coupe and Spyder get plenty of components from the 991.2 GT3, including its front axle and brakes, the latter of which means the two 718s come standard with 15-inch iron rotors or optional 16.1-inch carbon ceramics, either of which are enclosed in 20-inch wheels that are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 rubber. The rear axle is unique to the Cayman GT4 and Spyder, boasting a mechanical rear differential with Porsche’s Torque Vectoring (PTV) system.
Additional chassis refinements include standard Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), a ride height that's 1.2 inches lower than the regular 718 Cayman, and manually adjustable settings for camber, toe, ride height, and anti-roll-bar stiffness. The GT4 can also be had with a Clubsport package that adds a rear steel roll bar, a fire extinguisher, and a six-point driver-side seatbelt.
The two cars differ in the aerodynamics department, with the Cayman GT4 producing 50% more downforce than its predecessor thanks to a single-chamber arch rear silencer that opens up space for a rear diffuser. A fixed rear wing, large front spoiler lip, and air curtains help complete the picture and help add a total of 52.8 pounds of downforce to the Cayman GT4 at 124 mph. The 718 Spyder, on the other hand, gets a manual top-folding mechanism to save weight over the Boxster’s automatic one and a rear spoiler that deploys at 74 mph, which combines with a functional diffuser to make the Spyder the first model in the Boxster family to generate aerodynamic downforce at the rear axle.
Combined, the new parts enable the Cayman GT4 to lap the Nurburgring 10 seconds faster than the old Cayman GT4. And while the Spyder isn't advertised with an official Nurburgring lap time, Porsche claims that all-out performance takes a back seat to driver enjoyment on that model, something we get a hint of with the 911 Speedster-like double-bubble rear end.
Both cars are currently available for order, with the 718 Spyder coming out to $97,550 and the 718 Cayman GT4 starting at $100,450, both including a $1250 destination fee. What’s different this time around is that production numbers won’t be limited. Still, if you want one, it’s best to get your order in soon in order to ensure you get the first batch when deliveries commence in Spring 2020.