The new Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 (left) and Spyder are twins of different disposition but equal fury. Picture: SUPPLIED
The new Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 (left) and Spyder are twins of different disposition but equal fury. Picture: SUPPLIED

Porsche has launched the 718 Cayman GT4 and the 718 Spyder as the entry-point into the world of track-ready Porsche GT cars.

They’re designed to appeal to sports car enthusiasts who delight in a high level of agility and according to Porsche, “an almost intimate proximity to the centre of power".

In place of the four-cylinder turbocharged motors found in the regular 718 series, at the heart of both these mid-engined cars is a newly developed, naturally aspirated 4.0l flat six-cylinder engine, paired with a six-speed manual transmission.

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The engine is based on the same family as the turbo 3.0l engines in the current 911 Type 992 Carrera but with a larger displacement. New mechanical trickery is seen with the first time use of Piezo injectors for direct fuel injection in a high-revving engine.

And because there’s also not a turbo in sight, the new motor returns to that highly strung revvy nature that enthusiasts longed for with the advent of the turbocharging era. The new motor generates 309kW at a dizzy 8,000 revolutions, along with 420Nm at 6,800rpm.

Combined fuel consumption is rated at 10.9l/100km but the numbers that really matter are 4.4 seconds from a standing start to 100km/h for both cars. The GT4 has a 304km/h top speed and the Spyder maxes out at 301km/h.      

The new 718 Cayman GT4 is a compact, track-ready weapon. Picture: SUPPLIED
The new 718 Cayman GT4 is a compact, track-ready weapon. Picture: SUPPLIED

The GT4 has to lend itself to all kinds of curves, it relies on highly efficient aerodynamics, a full GT chassis and powerful new brakes. It produces up to 20% more downforce thanks to a new fixed rear wing with greater efficiency compared with its predecessor.

This corresponds to an additional downforce of 12kg at 200km/h. The front section aero is optimised with a large front spoiler lip and air curtains — the latter act to calm the air flow along the front wheels. The GT4 also comes with the option of a Clubsport package which includes a rear steel roll bar, a hand-held fire extinguisher and a six-point seatbelt on the driver’s side.

The new 718 Spyder is geared towards open-top, dynamic driving on curvy routes. It also offers what should be the best seats in the house to experience the 8,000rpm boxer sounds.

The Spyder’s lightweight roof is manually clipped in or tucked away. Picture: SUPPLIED
The Spyder’s lightweight roof is manually clipped in or tucked away. Picture: SUPPLIED

It’s a continuation of a rich heritage of high-speed generating roadsters such as the famous 550 Spyder from 1953 and the 718 RS 60 Spyder of 1957.

The lightweight cloth roof differs from the electrically operated unit of the regular 718 Boxster in that it’s manually propped up or peeled off and can be stowed away under the boot lid. The 718 Spyder has a rear spoiler that comes up automatically at 120km/h and, thanks to the functional diffuser, it is the first model in the Boxster family to generate aerodynamic downforce at the rear axle.  

For the first time ever, the 718 Spyder benefits from the high-performance GT chassis as with the 718 Cayman GT4. Its further refined lightweight spring-strut front and rear axles make use of racing technologies. The direct connection to the chassis is partially by means of ball joints.

The Porsche Active Suspension Management damping system with 30mm lower suspension reduces the centre of gravity for improved handling. The Porsche Stability Management (PSM) operates with even greater sensitivity and precision here but can optionally also be deactivated in two steps. Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) with mechanical rear differential lock further enhances the cornering performance and driving pleasure.

A high-performance brake system that’s suitable for track driving is standard fitment in both 718 Spyder and 718 Cayman GT4. Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB) are also available as an option while another new feature is that the 718 Spyder now runs on ultra-high-performance (UHP) tyres specially adapted by Porsche.

The new Porsche 718 Spyder and the 718 Cayman GT4 are both available to order now and are set to arrive in SA during the first quarter of 2020.