Porsche presents the 718 Spyder RS as a last gasp before the electrification of the Boxster/Cayman series. On the 30th anniversary of the Boxster Concept’s presentation in Detroit, Porsche launches its first topless Rennsport model. For the first time, the open-top counterpart to the Cayman gets the engine from its big brother, the 911 GT3.
As the last evolution of the roofless mid-engined sports car with an internal combustion engine – electrification of the model series is imminent – Porsche is really letting it rip again. The Porsche 718 Spyder RS is officially touted as the counterpart to the 718 Cayman GT4 RS. It contains the heart of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. Its naturally aspirated 4.0 liter engine revs up to 9,000 rpm and makes the 718 Spyder RS the most powerful 718 Roadster of all time with 500 hp.
As with the Cayman GT4 RS, Porsche is taking a very extreme approach to making the 718 Spyder RS a highly emotional driving experience. More than sheer performance, driving pleasure was the focus of development. So it’s not surprising that the intake tract also starts just behind the headrests in the first open RS model. Andreas Preuninger, head of GT vehicles at Porsche, affectionately refers to the intakes as a music box. Combined with its lightweight stainless steel exhaust system, goosebumps are guaranteed from the soundscape alone! Paired with the extra-short 7-speed PDK in the RS, the 4-liter engine in the 718 is probably the most emotional powerplant in the entire Porsche Group.
In Porsche’s GT department, everyone knows that less weight means more driving pleasure. That’s why there didn’t seem to be any thought constraints when it came to the Spyder RS’ diet. Its single-layer lightweight soft top not only has to be opened and closed manually. It is even divided into a separate sun sail (“bimini top”) and weather protection. The bimini top only protects against the sun and leaves the rest of the passenger compartment open. Its entire construction, including the mechanism, weighs just 18.3 kilograms. This saves the 718 Spyder RS 7.6 kilograms compared with the 718 Spyder and as much as 16.5 kilograms in comparison to the Boxster. The soft top itself weighs in at eight kilograms.
“The 718 Spyder RS raises driving pleasure to a new level for open-top cars. The combination of our unmistakable GT3 engine, the close-ratio transmission, compact dimensions, low weight, road-optimised racing suspension and maximum openness offers an extremely compelling and unfiltered driving experience.”Andreas Preuninger, Head of Porsche GT Cars
All these efforts result in a kerb weight of 1,410 kilograms in the Rennsport-Spyder’s lightest specification. This makes the open Porsche 718 Spyder RS a full 40 kilograms lighter than the regular Spyder. What is probably the last combustion engine model in the history of the series even undercuts the Cayman GT4 RS by five kilograms! Of course, this requires the optional Weissach package. This offers optional forged magnesium wheels, a Race-Tex dashboard and titanium exhaust tailpipes.
Inside, too, the Porsche 718 Spyder RS proudly presents its weight-saving sacrifices. Full bucket seats finished in exposed carbon fiber with black leather and contrasting Race-Tex center panels meet a sports steering wheel with Race-Tex and twelve o’clock markings. Contrasting colors available for the perforated center panels are Arctic Grey and Carmine Red. A “Spyder RS” logo in the corresponding color is embroidered into the headrests.
Four uni colors and three metallic colors, including the new Vanadium Grey metallic, as well as the special colors Arctic Grey, Sharkblue and Ruby Star Neo are available as exterior colors. Another external distinguishing feature: The Porsche 718 Spyder RS bears red lettering behind the front wheel arches. The front end and aerodynamics are almost identical to those of the Cayman GT4 RS. The rear is adorned with a duck rump, which drives the last bit of lift out of the Spyder. Combined with the slightly shortened front spoiler lip, the result is an even aerodynamic balance.
Although many chassis components from the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS are also used in the Spyder RS, the set-up is different. Porsche itself speaks of a focus on maximum driving pleasure on winding roads. Springs and dampers are therefore tuned somewhat softer. Nevertheless, “razor-sharp steering precision, agile handling, and an extremely neutral ride” remain.
Of course, the entire range of chassis technology from Weissach also helps. Porsche’s Active Suspension Management (PASM) with lowering by 30 millimeters, Porsche Torque Vetoring (PTV) and a mechanical rear-axle limited-slip differential are all standard equipment, as are suspension mounts with ball joints and 20-inch forged aluminium wheels.
Performance of the new top model in the open mid-engine series is – as expected – beyond reproach. The RS takes half a second off the previous top performer, the Porsche 718 Spyder, in the sprint to 62 mph. Of course, another benchmark in its model series its class, especially considering that the 124 mph mark is reached in just 10.9 seconds. Acceleration won’t come to an end until 191 mph! Such performance figures are reserved only for the absolute sports car elite.
Porsche’s farewell to the combustion engine in a mid-engine roadster from is available from 155,575 Euros. Officially, the production run isn’t limited. But many interested buyers will probably not be able to get their hands on one. So you have to be quick. Those who do get a chance may also order the now obligatory chronograph with the RS. The vehicle will be officially presented on the occasion of the brand’s 75th anniversary and can be seen in motion at the later Festival of Speed in Goodwood.