- Superb power levels from the flat-six engine
- Its looks will bring out the green-eyed monster in bystanders
- Porsche by name and Porsche by nature – brilliant handling
- Manually operated roof – some rivals are powered
- You feel quite vulnerable on motorways with lorries thundering alongside
- British weather!
With so many cars sharing the same designs these days, those with the real wow factor are few and far between. But one car that oozes classic sports car styling, delivers wind-in-the-hair motoring and drives like an absolute legend is the Porsche 718 Spyder.
Boasting a straight-six, mid-mounted 4.0-litre engine, this car has the performance ability to perfectly match its gorgeous styling. With blisteringly quick acceleration and all the handling credential’s associated with the Porsche name, it’s a car for the fun-loving driving purists out there.
Admittedly, the two-seater convertible is not cheap, but few things of the quality of the 718 Spyder ever are.
The Porsche name is synonymous with handling ability and the 718 Spyder is no exception to that rule. It has all the grip, balance, acceleration, steering control and power you could possibly wish for – all packaged up in one beautifully styled car.
Yes, there are more comfortable two-seaters out there – the Jaguar F-Type for example - but the Porsche still rides over bumps and dips really well. And the car features Porsche Active Suspension Management which is a variable damper system with sports set-up and ride height lowered by 30mm.
Our car was sitting on 20-inch alloys wheels and they were the perfect match for this rear-wheel drive car. Any larger and you run the risk of things getting a little too wallowy and that’s never good in a sports car.
Out on the motorways, the 718 Spyder reaches the national speed limit in the blink of an eye and there’s still so much more it can deliver. So, it’s advisable to keep a watchful eye on the speedo.
Porsche Stability Management is included as standard and this automatic system maintains the stability at the absolute limits of the car’s driving performance.
Although the Spyder does not have drive modes, you can play with the stability and traction control systems, along with the Auto Blip function – with it on, the car will automatically rev-match on the way down through the gears.
On The Road
The Porsche 718 Spyder is powered by a naturally-aspirated 4.0-litre, six-cylinder petrol engine delivering 420hp of power and 420Nm of torque. That power results in a 0-62mph sprint time of 4.4 seconds and maximum speed of 187mph. Our test car featured a six-speed manual gearbox although customers can opt for a seven-speed PDK automatic transmission system.
The car kicks into action with quite a roar. Shift into first from the sports gear lever and the response is instant. The acceleration is rapid and with its low centre of gravity, the car feels beautifully poised and balanced.
It’s nicely settled on fast country lanes where the road holding is sublime and you feel like you are travelling faster than you actually are. As the revs build so the vocal accompaniment from the engine and twin exhausts increase too.
The steering is perfectly weighted, and I mean perfectly, and the body control into sharp corners is completely controlled.
Sitting so low to the ground makes you feel a little vulnerable on busier motorways, especially in wetter driving conditions with spray kicking up, but the 718 Spyder is an accomplished all-rounder that will always be most appreciated on a warm, sunny day with the lightweight fabric top dropped down.
Few carmakers the world overcome close to producing vehicles with the dynamic design of a Porsche and the 718 Spyder looks stunning as a silhouette with the roof raised or lowered.
Its clearly defined shape is unmistakable and with a distinctive front spoiler lip, large air intakes, sweeping light clusters with integrated LED daytime running lights, an auto-deploying 718 Spyder specific rear wing, plus lots of Porsche badging it’s a car that won’t go by unnoticed
Factor in a new honeycomb structured grille and 20-inch alloys with sports tyres, twin exhaust pipes and the PORSCHE name written across the rear apron and this car could strut its stuff on any catwalk.
Move inside and there is a wealth of technology to explore in the most elegantly designed cockpit with a mix of black leather and Alcantara upholstery. There are loops to open the doors from the inside along with full bucket seats costing an extra £3,788, complete with Bordeaux Red seat belts costing £194 extra.
The dashboard trim strips and centre console strips are colour-matched to the car’s exterior paintwork and the door sill guards carry the ‘Spyder’ logo.
With the roof lowered, it’s best to ensure the windows are raised and that the wind deflector is activated. Obviously, noise levels within the car do increase as expected, but with the roof up, the insulation is pretty good.
In The Car
Behind the Wheel
The interior of the Porsche 718 Spyder oozes sporting prowess. There’s nothing too flashy about it, but as soon as you take your seat behind the sports steering wheel, it’s apparent you’re in for quite a treat.
The driving position is superb with all the pedals lining up nicely and the readouts and controls perfectly positioned for ease of use. Those optional bucket seats offer excellent support and there is ample reach and height adjustment to find the ideal steering wheel position.
As is the case with two-seater convertibles, the visibility out the tiny rear window is poor and the over-the-shoulder view isn’t much better unless the roof is lowered. There is however all manner of reversing sensors to guide you into tighter parking bays. Park Assist with a reversing camera was an £825 option on our test car.
Infotainment systems are good with a high-resolution 7.0-inch touchscreen with navigation, Apple CarPlay smartphone connectivity (there is no Android Auto facility) and a Burmester high-end surround sound music system costing an additional £2,769.
The 4.6-inch colour instrument cluster offers the most vital driving data with black dials and white pointer indicators, along with the Spyder logo. This is where you can monitor the speed, odometer, trip meter and selected gear.
Space & Practicality
The Porsche 718 Spyder is a two-seat convertible so if practicality is high on the wish list then maybe look elsewhere. That said; the designers have made very good use of the space available with a luggage compartment at the front that can hold 150 litres of kit and one at the rear of the car with a 120-litre capacity.
There are door pockets, coat hooks on the seat backrests, a centre console with an uncovered storage area and a closed section. There are even individual cup holders that pop out from the dashboard to securely store a drink.
There is ample space for two adults, of the taller variety, to sit comfortably inside the car without feeling restricted at all.
The 718 Spyder measures 4,430mm in length, is 1,994mm wide (excluding the mirrors) and is just 1,258mm high. So, with its low-to-the-ground design, this car would not be suitable for anyone with any mobility issues.
The roof can be a little fiddly as you have to manually lower and raise it, whereas we have become rather used to just pressing a button to complete the manoeuvre these days.
When it comes to costs it’s always worth reminding yourself that this is a Porsche so is never going to be a choice for the budget-conscious. Our test car started life costing £73,405 but once a number of optional extras had been factored in, the price had increased to £92,122.
When it comes to running costs, the fuel consumption will very much depend on how hard and enthusiastically the car is driven, but the official combined figure is 25.4mpg with carbon emissions of 242g/km.
This carbon emissions figure would result in quite a hefty Vehicle Excise Duty (road tax) charge with a first year bill of £1,850 which would drop to the standard fee of £150 the following year. However, owners of vehicles with a list price above £40,000 pay an additional £325 for the first five years.
The insurance group rating for the test car is 50.
Quality & Reliability
Porsche has a good reputation for designing and developing reliable models that can be driven hard without proving too problematic along the way.
The high-end upholstery on the 718 Spyder looks top-notch and should survive the test of time, as should the sturdy switchgear.
The engineering is first-rate and the car has a strong, solid feel to it.
It comes with Porsche’s three-year, unlimited-mileage warranty for added peace of mind.
Safety & Security
With such a powerhouse of a car, occupants and other road users need to be kept as safe as possible. And although the car has not been tested for a Euro NCAP safety rating due to low sales volumes, it does feature lots of kit.
There is the Porsche Stability Management which is an automatic control system for maintaining stability at the car’s highest driving limits. In addition to the anti-lock brakes, it includes electronic stability control and traction control. There are sensors that monitor the speed, direction and yaw velocity in the process.
There are full-sized airbags for the driver and passenger, along with Porsche Side Impact Protection with protective elements in the doors, thorax airbags integrated into the side bolster of each seat and head airbags. There is also a fixed roll-over bar and tyre pressure monitoring system.
Our car also featured Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake (a £5,597 optional extra) to offer improved braking performance with shorter stopping distances even in poorer road conditions.
The only driver assist optional extra available on the car is a speed limiter indicator costing £236. This is quite a useful addition when you take into consideration the pace of the 718 Spyder.
Remote central locking, an immobiliser and an alarm system offer protection from uninvited guests.