Porsche has embraced electrification with the Taycan but the 718 Spyder RS shows that the German firm isn’t ready to wave goodbye to the combustion engine just yet. It’s the most powerful and “driver-focused” version of the Porsche Boxster yet, and achieves this in part by using the same engine as the hardcore 718 Cayman GT4 RS.
That means the 718 Spyder RS features a naturally-aspirated 493bhp 4-litre flat-six cylinder powerplant, which was is also used in the Porsche 911 GT3. However, this is the first time that the unit has featured in an open-topped Porsche.
The engine is connected to a short-ratio seven-speed PDK twin-clutch gearbox, and the rear-wheel-drive machine can sprint from standstill to 62mph in 3.4 seconds, while the 0-124mph sprint takes 10.9 seconds. There’s a top speed of 191mph.
With a kerb weight of 1,410kg the Spyder RS is 40kg lighter than the non-RS model, and it’s even 5kg lighter than the hard-top Cayman GT4 RS.
A stainless-steel exhaust system offers added aural thrills for the open-topped car, which, like previous Boxster Spyder models, features a manually operated roof. Special air intakes behind the headrests should add to the sounds on offer.
The manually adjustable suspension set-up from the Cayman GT4 RS is carried over, although the spring and damper rates have been softened slightly for the open-topped car.
The ride height is lowered by 30mm over the standard 718 Spyder, while a limited-slip differential and torque vectoring improve on-throttle traction and turning ability through corners. Ball-jointed suspension and lightweight 20in forged alloy wheels complete the chassis set-up.
Aerodynamics play a part in the 718 Spyder RS’s performance, of course. It features a front-end design that’s almost identical to the Cayman GT4 RS’s, with a CFRP (Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic) bonnet and a front bumper featuring air outlets. Naca ducts — those scoops in bodywork designed to direct airflow inside the body with minimal drag — to help with brake cooling.
Side blades on the outside of the bumper boost downforce, while the front spoiler is slightly shorter than the Cayman GT4 RS’s.
At the back, the Spyder does without the GT4 RS’s large rear wing and instead features a ducktail-style lip between the rear light clusters.
All of this ensures that the car’s aerodynamic balance remains unchanged over that of the Cayman GT4 RS according to Porsche.
The 718 Spyder RS’s manual roof comes in two sections. The main roof can be fitted independently of the deflector behind the passenger compartment, so occupants can enjoy an open cockpit without having the sun glaring down upon them, while fitting the wind deflector and raising the side windows offers reduced wind buffeting.
The complete roof offers total weather protection, or it can be stowed in the front luggage compartment.
The 718 Spyder RS’s roof weighs 18.3kg, which is 7.6kg lighter than the 718 Spyder’s top, and 16.5kg less than the 718 Boxster’s electric folding roof.
Inside, there are CFRP bucket seats trimmed in leather and Race-Tex (an Alcantara-like material), with a similar finish for the steering wheel and leather trim for the dashboard and door trims.
The arrival of the 718 Spyder RS marks 30 years since the original Porsche Boxster concept was revealed, and is also the pinnacle of the range before electrification takes over.
It will make its first public appearance at Porsche’s 75th anniversary celebrations at Stuttgart in June, before its dynamic debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed later in the month.
Order books are open now, with prices starting at £123,000 in the UK.
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