Porsche 718 Spyder RS becomes the pinnacle of the mid-engined family
Thirty years after the presentation of the Boxster concept car, Porsche is launching the most powerful version yet of the popular mid-engined roadster: the new Porsche 718 Spyder RS. For the first time, the high-revving naturally aspirated engine from the 911 GT3 is being deployed in an open-top mid-engined sports car.
Porsche tops off the 718 mid-engine model line with a sports car designed for maximum driving pleasure: the new 718 Spyder RS is the open-top counterpart to the 718 Cayman GT4 RS. For the first time, the 368 kW (500 PS) naturally aspirated six-cylinder boxer from the 911 GT3 features in an open-top mid-engined sports car. The same lightweight power unit with its high-revving design also powers the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup racing car.
The exceptionally lightweight and purist-pleasing manual soft-top roof of the 718 Spyder RS makes the highly evocative sound of the engine an even more compelling experience. The effect is further heightened by the standard lightweight stainless steel sports exhaust system and the distinctive process air inlets on the sides behind the headrests.
High-revving naturally aspirated engine and resolutely lightweight construction.
The powertrain of the new 718 Spyder RS is identical to that of the 718 Cayman GT4 RS coupe. The six-cylinder boxer engine, with its cylinder displacement of 4.0 litres, revs up to 9,000 rpm and generates an output of 368 kW (500 PS) and a maximum torque of 450 Newton meters. Combined with a short-ratio seven-speed PDK transmission, the six-cylinder engine propels the two-seater roadster from 0-100 km/h in 3.4 seconds and the car hits the 200-km/h mark in just 10.9 seconds when tested on the track. Compared to the 718 Spyder without the ‘RS’ designation, the new range-topper not only boasts an additional 59 kW (80 PS), but also accelerates to 100 km/h half a second faster.
Like every modern RS model, the new 718 Spyder RS is available exclusively with the Porsche dual clutch transmission (PDK). This gearbox shifts through its seven gears at lightning speed and guarantees maximum performance. The gearshift paddles allow drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel even when shifting gears manually. Alternatively, the driver can use the ergonomically designed selector lever on the centre console.
In addition to the more powerful engine, the new model’s lower weight also contributes to better performance: At 1,410 kilograms, the Spyder RS weighs 40 kg less than the 718 Spyder with PDK. As the last new 718 to feature a combustion engine, the Spyder RS marks the crowning achievement of the model line that was launched in 2016.
The front end of the new Porsche 718 Spyder RS is almost identical to the front end of the 718 Cayman GT4 RS. The standard front bonnet is made of carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) and features a wide air outlet above the bumper. The two NACA air inlet ducts enhance brake cooling without adversely affecting the drag coefficient (Cd) value.
Side blades on the outer ends of the bumper increase downforce, while the front spoiler lip is slightly shorter than on the 718 Cayman GT4 RS. which In conjunction with its large rear wing, produces higher overall downforce on the Cayman and therefore requires a larger spoiler lip to achieve aerodynamic balance. Instead of a wing, the 718 Spyder RS features a striking tear-off edge shaped like a ducktail. All aerodynamic components are intricately coordinated. They maintain the car’s aerodynamic balance and ensure maximum driving stability at high speeds.
Purist soft-top design
The new 718 Spyder RS comes with a manually operated lightweight Spyder RS soft-top. The design is amazingly compact, consisting of two parts: a sun sail and a weather deflector. Both are completely removable and can be stowed in the vehicle. The sun sail alone can also be used as a ‘bimini top’ like on a boat, thereby protecting the driver and front passenger from intense sunlight. With the side windows down, the passenger compartment remains largely open to the side and behind the passengers. Together with the weather deflector, this creates a complete top that provides effective protection against rain when the side windows are raised. The entire top weighs only 18.3 kg, that’s 7.6 kg less than the one on the 718 Spyder and 16.5 kg less than the 718 Boxster top. Drivers who wish to shave an additional eight kilograms from the weight of the vehicle can leave the top at home instead.
Sports suspension of the highest precision and agility
The chassis of the 718 Spyder RS uses components from the 718 Cayman GT4 RS and the 718 Spyder and is designed for maximum driving pleasure on winding roads. It comes standard with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) with sports tuning and has been lowered by 30 millimetres. It also features Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) with mechanical rear differential lock, suspension bearings with ball joints and 20-inch forged aluminium wheels.
The behaviour of the chassis is characterised by razor-sharp steering precision, as well as agile and extremely neutral handling. The ride height, camber, track and anti-roll bar can all be adjusted individually. Compared to the 718 Cayman GT4 RS, spring and damper rates have been reduced to achieve a more relaxed, characteristically convertible-style set-up.
A sporty character defines the inside of the car too: the interior is reduced to the func-tional and ergonomic essentials. The grippy RS sports steering wheel is covered with Race-Tex and features a yellow 12 o’clock marking. The standard full bucket seats are made of lightweight CFRP in a carbon-weave finish and offer particularly impressive lateral support.
The seat covers are made of black leather, while the perforated Race-Tex seat centre features a contrasting colour with a black background. The contrasting colours are Arctic Grey and Carmine Red. A ‘Spyder RS’ logo in the respective contrasting colour is embroidered on the headrests. The dashboard and trims are covered with leather. Available exterior colours include four plain and three metallic paints, including the new Vanadium Grey Metallic as well as the special colours Arctic Grey, Shark Blue and Ruby Star Neo.
Optional Weissach Package and matching chronograph
An optional Weissach Package is also available for the Spyder RS. The exceptionally lightweight, optional forged magnesium wheels can be ordered in combination with this particularly sporty equipment package. The sports exhaust system tailpipes are made of titanium. The look is inspired by the limited-edition 935 from 2018. A visual highlight inside the car is the upper part of the dashboard covered with anti-glare Race-Tex.
Exclusively available to buyers of the Porsche 718 Spyder RS is a handcrafted chronograph by Porsche Design, a premium-quality watch from Porsche’s in-house watchmaking operation in Solothurn, Switzerland. Designed to match the configuration of the car, the particularly lightweight case is made of titanium, the dial is made of carbon and the strap is made of vehicle leather. The rotor on the back reflects the respective rim design on the 718 Spyder RS.
“The 718 Spyder RS raises driving pleasure to a new level for open-top vehicles,” says Andreas Preuninger, Director GT 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.”
In Australia, the new Porsche 718 Spyder RS will be additionally equipped with a tyre fit set, windshield with Grey top tint, LED headlights including Porsche Dynamic Light System (PDLS), automatically-dimming mirrors and rain sensor, cruise control, ParkAssist (rear only) with reversing camera, light design package and digital radio. Both seat heating and BOSE Surround Sound System are available as a no-cost option.
The new Porsche Spyder RS will be available for order from 10 May 2023 and pricing starts at $336,800*, with deliveries expected to commence from Q2 2024. The new Porsche 718 Spyder RS celebrates its public premiere in June at the festivities marking 75 years of Porsche Sports Cars in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen. Shortly afterwards, it will make an appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England.