Base price for the 2020 Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder is of $110,500 in Canada, $97,300 in the US.
This is the third generation of the Spyder and they’re all incredible.
I’m going to take a moment or three here to bring up a few of the highlights in my automotive career. Obviously, not all involve Porsche cars but, in a nutshell, the first 911 I drove, a 2004 996, certainly stands out. Even so, my experiences with the recently-dubbed 718 Boxster and Cayman rise to the top as some of my best memories. I’ve now made a new one with a 2020 718 Boxster Spyder.
Other notable Porsche experiences include various 911 Turbo, a pair of GT3s, and one GT2 RS. All left an indelible mark on my psyche but of them all, two stand out: the 2008 Cayman S and the 2016 Boxster Spyder. The Cayman and I had a memorable track weekend at Circuit Mont Tremblant, one of the best tracks in the world, and the 981 and I spent two days driving around Hawaii. While I did not track the 982 and was only driving about in my home province of Quebec, the Spyder and delighted in every moment we spent together.
The 2020 718 Boxster Spyder is a series of highlights – I’ll work my way from the middle out. For the 982, Porsche fitted one of its greatest naturally-aspirated engines, the horizontally-opposed 4.0-litre 6-cylinder. With 414-horsepower at 7,600 rpm and 309 lb.-ft. of torque from 5,000 to 6,800 rpm, this engine begs to rev.
The redline is set at 8,000 rpm and the real action begins just north of 4,500 rpm. The accompanying harmony will set you in a trance, at least it did me. And I did so as often as I dared as the exhaust system would drone mercilessly and at random or I thought. (thank you, Cammisa). The exhaust booms occur when cylinder deactivation is activated. This issue is also present on the 718 Cayman GT4. But no matter the engine speed though, the engine delivers plenty of usable torque that is exquisitely fed through the 6-speed manual gearbox.
At no time is the clutch too heavy, or too light. It is forgiving as are the shifter’s throws. Although 1st and 2nd gear are excessively long (over 120km/h in 2nd), shifting is something that the driver will want to do even when not entirely necessary. Furthermore, even if the Spyder does include an “Auto Blip” button for automated rev-matching, pedal placement was designed for you and heel-toeing is a breeze.
The powertrain make the Spyder a potent and rapid land-missile. From a standstill, it will hit 100 km/h in only 4.5 seconds. Strangely, the 718’s power delivery is so sustained, despite the wailing going on, that the car feels both faster and slower at the same time. It will top out on the north side of 300 km/h and the only “drama” is engine noise.
The control and the connection
The instant connection the driver makes with the car, the bond, is due to the 718’s impeccable chassis setup. The standard Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) is gifted beyond words as the variable damping system adapts to the drive based on one of two programs. Frankly, the “normal” damper setting, as the dampers work within set parameters, will give 110% of the desired compliance and support. Sport is best kept for track events.
Relatedly, steering calibrations are shared in a car-2-human uplink, at least this is the impression I got when strapping in. The quick but not overly so reactions to inputs feed the driver with confidence as communication and grip seems endless. A faulty move on behalf of the one in control is immediately channeled back to the driver for correction – only a considerable mistake can set this car off course.
The 2020 718 Boxster Spyder astonishing depth of abilities as an all-around driver’s car is matched only by its sheer good looks. The PSM also happens to lower the car by 30mm which furthers the Spyder’s focused look of speed even when sitting still, and pretty. Truly, top-up and especially when the roof is stowed, no other sporty convertible or roadster is as breathtaking.
It’s ok to stare
All angles swoon onlookers. The front fascia with its larger air intakes and splitter are as functional as there are visually purposeful. The various other aerodynamic touches including the rear spoiler and diffuser are just as tasteful and useful. The rear bonnet is the car’s signature visual cue. The streamliners which lead from the black roll-over bars add a fourth dimension to the car’s beauty.
A 718’s cabin is a special place to be and obviously, that does not change with the Spyder. The central analog rev-counter tells all that this car is a tool for performance driving. The same goes for the optional Adaptive Sport Seats Plus which provides incredible support and comfort. The tested car also featured the available black leather and Alcantara throughout the cabin. The intimate roadster, despite its true intent, is luxurious and beautifully crafted.
The Gentian Blue example in the images and video retailed for $129,735 with options. There may be less expensive and/or faster convertibles available for purchase but none deliver the same balance of performance, prestige, and styling. None.