Although this will cause consternation amongst some of you, we’d like to go on record and say the worst thing about the 718 Porsche Spyder, Boxster GTS, Cayman GTS and GT4 is the manual gearbox used in each.
Not the shift itself, which is a thing of mechanical beauty, nor the sense of engagement it gives you. No, it’s the absurdly long ratios that are the problem - second gear in the GT4 tops out over 80mph, for Pete’s sake. What’s the point of an 8000rpm redline if you can’t reach it at legal speeds in any gear other than first?
With that in mind, the idea of one of these 4.0-litre 718s with a seven-speed PDK automatic gearbox is quite appealing. Such a thing was first announced a few weeks ago, and now, the dual-clutch option is available in the UK.
Since a Porsche PDK (or Doppelkupplungsgetriebe, to give it the full name) transmission is more complicated than a stick and three pedals, you are expected to cough up extra cash. For the Cayman GT4 and the Spyder, you need to shell out an extra £2000, while the option is £2303 on the GTS models.
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Along with the better ratios and the added convenience, you also get a sizeable uplift in performance. In the 718 Spyder and Cayman GT4, the 0-62mph time drops by half a second to 3.9 seconds. The GTS siblings get the same improvement, yielding a new figure of four seconds dead.
Sport Chrono pack is included with the new ‘box, which brings with it Launch Control and the motorsport-inspired ‘Sport Response’ button which gives “maximum engine and transmission performance” for 20 joyous seconds. In the 718 Spyder and Cayman GT4, you also get a tweaked version of the manual’s mechanical limited-slip differential and a 911 GT3-style gear selector.
PDK and its associated bits aren’t only new things on the menu for the cars. Race-Tex is replacing Alcantara (apparently it “offers greater support”), while any 718 Spyder buyers who like the look of the Cayman GT4’s 20-inch ‘Aurum’ can now spec the rims on their car. Finally, the 718 Spyder and Cayman GT4 colour palette has been expanded with the addition of ‘Python Green’.
If you were in the market for any of these cars, would you be tempted to go for PDK over manual?