What is it?
If you know the new Porsche 718 Cayman GT4, you know the new Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder.
One may get top billing as the trackday star while the other plays second fiddle as its road-ready counterpart (you can guess which is which), but in mechanical terms, these are the very same sports car.
That's exciting, because for all its exoticism, never in two previous iterations has the Spyder been engineered by Porsche’s GT division at the Motorsportzentrum in Weissach. It’s a marriage of style and substance the likes of which we don’t often see at sub-six-figure prices, and you might even think of it as a junior 911 Speedster – the GT3-based, slope-backed road-racer that costs more than £200,000.
Because the Cayman GT4 and Boxster Spyder weigh the same 1420kg (admittedly, rather a lot more than the old Spyder, which was 1315kg) they really are identical beneath the bodywork, even down to the suspension tuning, which is adjustable for toe, camber and anti-roll bar stiffness. Each car uses a double-wishbone front axle borrowed from the 911 GT3 and inverted dampers – a GT division calling card. Carbon-ceramic brakes are an option, but our test car had the sizeable cast-iron standard items, which sit within a new design of 20in wheels wearing Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres said to offer better wet-weather performance than ever before.
There’s also six-speed manual gearbox carried over from the old Cayman GT4. It uses a dual-mass flywheel from the GT3 and sends power through a mechanical limited-slip differential at the rear axle, where you also get brake-based torque vectoring but no steering capability. A modified version of the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic ’box from the basic 718 Boxster is being developed, but it won’t arrive for at least another year, because the next-generation 911 GT3 has priority on Porsche’s to-do list.
There's also the not-so-small matter of the Spyder’s all-new engine – an upsized flat six with atmospheric induction. We’ll come onto that shortly, but the 4.0-litre 9A2 Evo is pretty special.
Inside, there are no surprises. The 360mm steering wheel is smaller than that of a standard Boxster and there's the option of the deep-sided carbonfibre bucket seats first seen on the 918 Spyder. They cost £3788, but without a roll cage, you can't get the harnesses from the Cayman GT4. Not that you'd want those in a car like the Spyder anyway.
Elsewhere, you'll find this is a useful place. There are the neat, out-swung cupholders, a good level of storage in the door cards and Porsche's 4.6in PCM infotainment system, though you can omit that to save 4.5kg. Again, you might do so on the GT4 to imbue the cabin with a certain level of seriousness, but on the Spyder it's overkill. There's also 150 litres of luggage space split betweent the front and rear comparments – not a lot but enough for a weekend away.