The Cayman GT4 is back, and so is the Boxster Spyder. Get excited, folks. This time they’re called the 718 Cayman GT4 and 718 Spyder (not Boxster ) respectively, and the mid-engine Porsches are packing even more punch than before. We absolutely adored the Cayman GT4 and Boxster Spyder when we drove them a few short years ago, and this duo promises to be better yet.
The two mid-engine sports cars rank as the top performance picks in their respective lineups and remedy the biggest problem many enthusiasts had with the 718 Cayman and Boxster: the fact their turbocharged four-cylinder engines didn’t sound as good as the flat-six engine in each car’s predecessor.
Porsche says it’s a new engine, and it develops 414 horsepower and 309 pound-feet of torque on its way up to an 8,000 rpm redline. The new 4.0-liter is based-on the same family of turbocharged engines in the new 911, but Porsche has re-engineered it for a non-boosted application. Don’t mistake it for a de-tuned version of the 911 GT3 engine that makes 500 horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque, though — that one revs out to a glorious 9,000 rpm. The engine in these cars uses Porsche’s adaptive cylinder control technology, so in low-load situations, it’s able to temporarily interrupt the injection process in one of the two cylinder banks. For now, it looks like a sizable upgrade over the 911 S-derived 3.8-liter flat-six that came in the previous generation of these cars.
Aside from an improved exhaust note and 29 extra horsepower when compared to the previous Cayman GT4, the benefit to the new engine is that it allows the new range-topping 718 twins to rev all the way to 8,000 rpm. But in order to accomplish this, Porsche had to give the engine a new forged crankshaft and pistons, piezo fuel injectors, and an aluminum intake system.
Additional chassis refinements include standard Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), a ride height that’s 1.2 inches lower than the regular 718 Cayman, and manually adjustable settings for camber, toe, ride height, and anti-roll-bar stiffness. The GT4 can also be had with a Clubsport package that adds a rear steel roll bar, a fire extinguisher, and a six-point driver-side seatbelt.
The two cars differ in the aerodynamics department, with the Cayman GT4 producing 50% more downforce than its predecessor thanks to a single-chamber arch rear silencer that opens up space for a rear diffuser. A fixed rear wing, large front spoiler lip, and air curtains help complete the picture and help add a total of 52.8 pounds of downforce to the Cayman GT4 at 124 mph. The 718 Spyder, on the other hand, gets a manual top-folding mechanism to save weight over the Boxster’s automatic one and a rear spoiler that deploys at 74 mph, which combines with a functional diffuser to make the Spyder the first model in the Boxster family to generate aerodynamic downforce at the rear axle.