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Porsche 718 Spyder RS sees Boxster out with a bang. Image by Porsche.

Porsche 718 Spyder RS sees Boxster out with a bang
Porsche transplants running gear from 718 Cayman GT4 RS into the Boxster.
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What's all this about?

It's just about the most hardcore version of the Porsche Boxster we're ever likely to see, and it's called the Porsche 718 Spyder RS. It has been unveiled as part of Porsche's 75th birthday celebrations, and is the pinnacle of mid-engined roadster production before the firm's most accessible sports car turns to electrification.

So this is the last hurrah for Porsche's combustion-engined roadster?

Porsche hasn't categorically said it is, but we already know that its next-generation small sports cars will be electric, and these have already been previewed by the 2022 Porsche Mission R concept. Instead Porsche is looking towards its heritage, with 2023 being the 30th anniversary of our first look at the original Porsche Boxster concept car.

So what makes the 718 Spyder RS so special?

To kick off, it's the first open-topped model to use Porsche's race-focused 4.0-litre naturally aspirated flat-six, as seen in the 718 Cayman GT4 RS and 911 GT3. The unit revs to a heady 9,000rpm and makes 500hp and 450Nm of torque, while a standard-fit stainless-steel exhaust means that the 718 Spyder RS should deliver plenty of aural thrills.

The engine is connected to a seven-speed close-ratio PDK twin-clutch automatic gearbox, and Porsche quotes a 0-62mph time of 3.4 seconds, which is identical to the time set by its 718 Cayman sibling. Keep the throttle pinned, and 0-124mph comes up in 10.9 seconds, while there's a top speed of 191mph.

It's not just the engine that's been carried over from the 718 Cayman GT4 RS, because most of its underpinnings are present, too. The suspension has been lowered by 30mm, while Porsche Active Suspension Management is standard. Torque vectoring and a mechanical limited-slip differential are included, while ball-jointed suspension adds a racing car touch, as do 20-inch forged aluminium wheels with centre-lock wheel nuts.

However, Porsche has softened the spring and damper rates when compared with the Cayman GT4 RS to "achieve a more relaxed, characteristically convertible-style set-up". If that's not to your liking, then the car's ride height, camber, track and anti-roll bar settings can all be adjusted manually.

How has Porsche made the 718 Spyder RS look different?

The changes are subtle, and again the Spyder uses the 718 Cayman GT4 RS as its inspiration. Like that car, it features a carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) bonnet, while the air outlet in the nose is designed to boost cooling. The NACA ducts are part of the brake cooling system, while side blades on the edges of the bumper are designed to boost downforce.

One big difference between the open-topped and coupe versions of the RS is the lack of rear wing on the Spyder. Instead it receives a duck-tail style boot lid lip which works in conjunction with the front splitter to deliver a neutral aerodynamic balance like the Cayman GT4 RS.

Does it have a manual roof?

As with past Boxster Spyders, the last of the line has a manually operated roof. It comes in two sections which can be attached independently of each other, with the top section offering a fabric roof and the rear part acting as a wind deflector. It's possible to use the roof with open sides, while the deflector works with the side windows to keep wind buffeting to a minimum.

Porsche says that the complete roof system weighs 18.3kg, which is 7.6kg lighter than the 718 Spyder's top, and 16.5kg less than the far more convenient electrically-folding top found on the standard 718 Boxster. All of these upgrades contribute to a reduced kerb weight for the 718 Spyder RS, and it weighs 1,410kg, which is 40kg less than the 718 Spyder, and is even 5kg less than the Cayman GT4 RS.

Is there anything special waiting inside?

Lightweight CFRP bucket seats are fitted to trim a few more kilos. These are wrapped in leather with Race-Tex sued-effect inserts in a contrast colour. Race-Tex is used for the steering wheel, too, which features yellow stitching at the 12 o'clock position in a race car style.

For an even more unique look, there's a Weissach Pack available for the 718 Spyder RS. Here the sports exhaust is a titanium system, there's Race-Tex for the top of the dashboard while optional forged magnesium wheels are offered, too.

Sounds great. Where do I sign?

Well the Porsche 718 Spyder RS is on sale now, priced from £123,000 in the UK. Prices for the Weissach Pack have yet to be announced, but if you're lucky enough to be able to order a Spyder, you can also buy a special Porsche Design watch to match the car's spec.

The car will make its public debut at Porsche's 75th anniversary celebrations in Stuttgart in June, and it will make its dynamic debut in the UK as part of the supercar experience at the 2023 Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Shane O'Donoghue - 11 May 2023

2023 Porsche 718 Spyder RS. Image by Porsche.2023 Porsche 718 Spyder RS. Image by Porsche.2023 Porsche 718 Spyder RS. Image by Porsche.2023 Porsche 718 Spyder RS. Image by Porsche.2023 Porsche 718 Spyder RS. Image by Porsche.

2023 Porsche 718 Spyder RS. Image by Porsche.2023 Porsche 718 Spyder RS. Image by Porsche.2023 Porsche 718 Spyder RS. Image by Porsche.2023 Porsche 718 Spyder RS. Image by Porsche.2023 Porsche 718 Spyder RS. Image by Porsche.    - Porsche road tests
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