This Porsche convertible is the quintessential high performance topless sports car
There’s no better telltale sign of summer than the proliferation of convertibles back on the road across the GVRD. One which really stands out in the crowd right now is the 2021 Porsche 718 Porsche Spyder thanks to its showcase of the manufacturer’s latest design language that includes a touch of throwback aesthetic, and of course top notch performance.
Slotting in at the top of the 718 lineup, next to the hardtop equivalent Cayman GT4, the track-ready Spyder is unmistakable featuring gaping black intakes in the front bumper and fenders, lower lip spoiler and massive 20-inch silver alloy wheels.
Rearward, the tinted LED taillights look menacing and the massive diffuser enveloping twin tailpipes isn’t just pretty, but together with the adjustable wing keeps everything planted to the ground during high speed driving. And of course, there’s also the so-called dual “streamliners,” or the raised humps on the deck lid connected to the rollover hoops, providing an aesthetic nod to the original sports car by the same name from the 1960s.
To save weight, Porsche replaced the electric soft top seen on its sibling the 718 Boxster with a manual version. Operating the unit requires getting out of the vehicle — as well as the opening and closing of various flaps and pushing/pulling the whole thing into/out of the storage compartment — so checking the weather report prior to heading out sans roof may be a prudent choice. One plus though is it doesn’t affect the adjacent cargo area in any way.
The interior of the Spyder can be customized with various materials for the seating and dash surfaces, such as the extended Alcantara found in our media loaner — everything from the steering wheel to armrest was swathed in the buttery soft fabric. Staying true to the theme of lightness, even the door handles have been deleted, pull straps installed instead in their place.
As Porsche has stated previously there are plans to electrify 80 per cent of the company fleet by 2030, so powertrains like this 4.0-litre engine may not be around for long. While there are obvious benefits to EVs, there’s simply something about the rumble of the “flat” six-cylinders firing away behind your head that stirs the soul.
Boasting 414 horsepower on-tap and an 8,000 rpm redline, jabbing the throttle results in loud, untamed acceleration and a 0 to 100 km/h time of 4.2 seconds. Be mindful of the rear-wheel drive layout, though, because despite all the on-board traction control systems, the back tires can still get squirrely when powering out of a turn on wet Lower Mainland roads.
I had forgotten how good the brand’s manual transmissions are and luckily a six-speed gearbox is standard equipment, as tactile and fun to shift as ever. Throws are short and crisp and pressing the “Auto Blip” button on the centre console lets the computer do the double-clutched, rev-matched gear changes for you ensuring a perfectly smooth transition.
The 2021 Porsche 718 Spyder is built at the Zuffenhausen factory in Stuttgart, Germany and retails for $112,900.
Motor: 4.0-litre six-cylinder
Horsepower: 414 @ 7,600 rpm
Torque (lb-ft): 309 @ 5,000 rpm
Gearbox: Six-speed manual transmission
Layout: Mid engine, rear-wheel drive
Fuel economy: 13.3 L/100 km mixed city/highway (observed)
Photos: PORSCHE PRESS ROOM