Porsche stuffed the naturally aspirated 493-horsepower flat-six from the 911 GT3 into the smaller 718 to create the Spyder RS, a purist sports car so powerful it should prove to be one of the most exciting of the year and possibly the decade. I drove an early 718 Spyder when it was launched a few years ago, and after taking an artist friend from Santa Barbara for a drive, he ran to his Porsche dealer and bought the 718 Spyder’s fraternal twin, the Cayman GT4. Yes, this chassis with a big naturally aspirated 4 liter engine is so good that normally rational people will throw money on the table to own it. The 718 with 4 liters is my favorite Porsche.
Porsche’s GT3 engine adds 79 horsepower. To make the most of that power and the engine’s 9,000 rpm limit, Porsche placed a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission behind the engine. Thanks to the short, tightly stacked gears, the smooth, completely flawless operation of the dual-clutch gearbox and of course Porsche’s smooth Launch Control software, the Spyder RS can reach 100 km/h in 3.2 seconds.
Most European internal combustion sports cars capable of such speed cost at least twice as much. With an MSRP of $160,000 and change, the Spyder RS represents serious value for money. If ordered with the Weissach option package and the Porsche Design 718 RS Swiss watch, this will be a highly sought-after vehicle at auction for years to come, a car to buy, hold, enjoy and eventually cash in for a small profit.
The Spyder RS aero has the expected tricks of the Porsche Motorsport toy shop, with a front body almost identical to that of the Cayman GT4 RS. The hood is formed from CFRP composite with two NACA ducts to help cool the front brakes and a wide air outlet above the bumper to channel airflow.
The side blades at the outer ends of the lower front panel contribute to the downforce; those blades can be clearly seen in the main photo. The front spoiler is slightly shorter than on the 718 Cayman GT4 RS, which is equipped with a large rear wing and therefore requires a larger front spoiler to achieve aerodynamic balance. The Cayman RS is a road-legal race car. The Spyder RS is for mountain riding romantics like me.
On the outside, the 718 Spyder RS has a larger and more pronounced ducktail spoiler compared to the 718 Spyder. For an open car, you just don’t want a big wing like the Cayman GT4 RS – it would ruin the view, cause problems with aero-shedding and cockpit impacts, and probably add a significant amount of wind to spoil the open-air ambience.
The Spyder RS soft top is like a 21st century design update of the roadster of the 1950s and 60s. It consists of two parts that can be placed in the vehicle in case of unexpected weather: a sun shield and a weather shield. The single layer top weighs just over 40 lbs., a weight savings of over 16 lbs. compared to the 718 Spyder and more than 36 lbs. compared to the 718 Boxster. That’s enough to lower the center of gravity, if only by pushing.
Power is nothing without control, and the Spyder RS takes components from the 718 Cayman GT4 RS, as well as the 718 Spyder. Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) is calibrated for aggressive driving, and the ride height is 30 millimeters lower than on the 718 Spyder. Here again, probably lowering the center of gravity by pushing, riding a little lower. The 718 Spyder RS should change direction with brain waves.
Porsche Torque Vectoring is combined with a mechanical limited-slip differential, ball suspension bearings and 20-inch forged alloy wheels.
In a serious and expensive nod to the folks at the Porsche Club, ride height, toe, camber and anti-roll bars are all adjustable. Compared to the 718 Cayman GT4 RS, the 718 RS’s springs and dampers are slightly toned down for kidney-damaging road ride quality. If the Cayman RS is special for a track day, then the Spyder RS is every romantic sports car’s delight on a mountain road.
As with the 718 Cayman GT4 RS, buyers can optionally specify a front axle lift system and based on experience with contemporary Porsches and other super sports cars in my own drive-in, I’d say it’s a must-have option – there’s no sense in risking that beautiful front splitter .
The Weissach package includes a titanium exhaust—gotta love that tingly sound when it cools down. Check another option to add lightweight forged magnesium wheels, which will likely increase the auction value in five or ten years.
Exclusively available to customers, the Porsche 718 Spyder RS is a hand-crafted chronograph by Porsche Design: the titanium case, carbon fiber dial and leather strap blend into the vehicle’s interior. Porsche didn’t provide a picture, but these are always nice watches to find on a Wolf fan.
Porsche will unveil the 718 Spyder RS in Stuttgart next month when the company celebrates 75 years as a sports car manufacturer.
Forbes – Lifestyle