Porsche has turned a turbocharged 3.0-litre engine into a naturally-aspirated 4.0-litre flat-six for the new Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 and Porsche 718 Spyder. Only three-pedal-enthusiasts need apply…
We’ve just returned from driving the new 992 generation Porsche 911 in Germany, on road, track, and the autobahn. There’ll be many impressions to talk about in the review, coming soon, but it’s not much of a spoiler to give away that the car is very, very good.
The engine on the other hand? Well, it’s a fantastic engine, but it’s not a naturally aspirated engine… Porsche isn’t immune to the driving force of the industry, efficiency, and the company’s entire range is taking the downsized, turbocharged route. What were once naturally aspirated V8s in Cayennes and Panameras are now twin-turbocharged V6s. In the back of the new 911 you get a 3.0-litre force fed flat-six instead of some heady rev limit that we’re used to. And the 718 range of mid-engined sportscars have to do with somewhat disenchanting flat-fours.
Anyway, that’s what’s hot in Zuffenhausen. Twenty kilometers to the west however, in Weissach, they have an entirely different idea about performance. Which is why Porsche’s motorsport department took the 911’s new fancy-fancy 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged engine, and then deleted the turbochargers. In the grand tradition of optional equipment, this one can’t be beat.
The internet of course expected Porsche to take the 991 generation GT3 engine and stuff that into the 718 Cayman and Boxster, but that wouldn’t have worked for several reasons – namely it would make the car too quick. Quick enough to bother 911s.
So the Germans felt it would be better to take the new force-fed ‘9A2’ engine, forget the turbos, and increase the capacity to 4.0 litres from the 911’s 3.0 litres. The result sounds enticing – the new ‘9A2 Evo’ flat-six develops more than 100 horsepower per litre, for a total of 414bhp and 420Nm of torque from 5,000rpm. You’ll have to keep it pinned too, because it revs to 8,000rpm, and there are three pedals in the footwell. The only transmission available is a six-speed manual in order to keep the riff-raff out of the showrooms, you see.
Weissach has now made this engine and gearbox combo available in the new Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 and the Porsche 718 Spyder. The closed car produces 50 percent more downforce than a stock Cayman using a low-drag rear exhaust section, a functional diffuser, and a fixed rear wing.
The open-top 718 Spyder features a lightweight roof that can be stowed in the boot – this model makes do with an automatically retractable rear spoiler, but it’s still the first car in the Boxster family to generate some actual downforce.
Both cars are 30mm lower than stock, packed with Porsche’s chassis electronics tech and a mechanical rear differential lock as standard. If you pick the 718 GT4, you’ll additionally get the Clubsport package to include a rear roll bar, fire extinguisher, and a six-point harness. Ultimately the changes all add up to a hot Nürburgring Nordschleife lap time that’s 10 seconds faster than before.
The Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 and 718 Spyder are already available to order with prices starting from just under AED400,000.