Ever since the first Cayman GT4 went out of production, I’ve been desperate for Porsche to make another one.
The GT4 felt like something of a one-off at the time, but if you speak to Porsche GT boss Andreas Preuninger, he’ll tell you a follow-up was always on the agenda. Yep, even with the 718 Cayman ditching its naturally-aspirated flat-sixes in favour of far less interesting turbocharged flat-fours. The successor - the 718 Cayman GT4 - is here, with an even bigger atmospheric flat-six that’s more powerful and higher-revving.
Awkwardly though, after all these years of pining, I wouldn’t have one. If the right amount of money were to magically appear in my bank balance, I’d want the GT4’s cousin, the new 718 Boxster Spyder.
It’s a completely different animal to the last one. The 981 Spyder may have had the same 3.8-litre engine as the last Cayman GT4, but otherwise, it wasn’t that different to a Boxster GTS underneath. Not so the 718 version. The chassis is now shared with the GT4, meaning you get the 911 GT3 front end, the same bespoke rear suspension arrangement and the 30mm lower Porsche Active Suspension Management adaptive damper setup.
The only difference is that the adjustable anti-roll bars are set slightly softer from factory to account for the drop in downforce due to the lack of rear wing and smaller front splitter. Otherwise, it’s a roofless GT4. And that, I discovered after driving both cars extensively over three days, is a wondrous thing.
There’s precious little to separate the two in terms of dynamics, other than the GT4 riding slightly harder due to its stiffer ARB setup and there being just a little less give in the Cayman’s coupe shell. The Spyder has all the poise, the mechanical grip and the traction of its sibling, and most importantly, that same properly sorted steering. Whether you’re driving it on the road or the track, you’re in for a good time.
Having the roof down means you can better enjoy that newly developed N/A flat-six and its 8000rpm redline, even if - thanks to the long gearing - you may not be there as often as you’d like. And being outside in a Porsche GT product is a nice feeling. Convertible motoring is just better, isn’t it?
Offering pretty much the same drive as the GT4 but with the joys of infinite headroom is a big draw, but what I like most about the Spyder is that it’s something genuinely new.
The 718 GT4 is probably the best new sports car around right now. The engine is more interesting than the old Carrera S-borrowed 3.8, and the chassis is a little sharper. But it doesn’t do anything the old one didn’t - it doesn’t tread new ground, and that lessens its impact, no matter how sodding good it is.
The same can’t be said of the Spyder. The closest thing to it is the 911 Speedster, which is sold out, and also nearly three times the price. Is it three times the car? I don’t think so. And in any case, the Spyder’s proportions work a little better - the Speedster’s ass is just a bit too big.
The ultimate solution would be to have both the GT4 and the Spyder, an option you can bet many particularly well-off Porsche GT buyers will go for. If I had to choose, though, I’d be going for the one with no roof.