I drove the glorious 2020 Porsche 718 Spyder, a high-performance convertible two-seater that goes for a well-optioned $105,780.
The Spyder has a new 414-horsepower flat-six engine that’s devoid of turbochargers and, in my car, mated to a crisp six-speed manual transmission.
The Spyder traces it lineage to the open-air racers of the 1950s.
It isn’t a practical car, but it is the best Porsche money can buy — and, for me, a ticket to happiness.
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“The colors tremble and vibrate.”
That’s a line from the title poem in Frederick Seidel’s 1998 collection “Going Fast,” a work crammed with references to the motorcycles Seidel loves.
Speed is a combination of reality and perception — we understand it as it’s happening — and on a motorbike, you’d better be processing what’s going on and doing it with all available gray matter and muscle memory.
The colors don’t tremble or vibrate quite as much in a car. In many cars, they’re positively immobile. But as I’m not riding these days, I take what I can get from four-wheelers.
A few weeks ago, Porsche lent me a 718 Spyder, model year 2020. Over a week’s time, I didn’t just reacquaint myself with the trembling and the vibrating. I found some new colors.
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I’m not going to show you what the Spyder looks like top up. Some folks might think the roadster looks cool with its sleek semi-automatic cloth roof, complete with winglets that evoke the flimsy covering of the roadster’s heritage. But I don’t.
The Spyder needs to live a largely top-down life, like its legendary antecedent. You know the car I’m talking about: “Little Bastard.” James Dean’s deathmobile, No. 130, a 1955 Porsche 550 that lost a tragic open-road encounter with 1950 Ford. Dean was 24. He’d barely had the car a week.
You can’t not think about the rebel without a cause — his white V-neck T-shirt, the driving gloves, the cigarette, and that ’55 Porsche at a California filling station in the iconic photo, Dean’s last known living image — when you slip into the snug cockpit of the 2020 Spyder. Sixty-five years have changed nothing. (Well, airbags.) You’re in a topless two-seater with a Porsche badge on the hood, engine behind your head, road beneath your 20-inch alloy wheels.
What you don’t have is a flat-four engine making just over 100 horsepower. In fact, you have a flat-six, sans turbos of any sort, a 4.0-liter mill producing 414 horsepower with 309 pound-feet of torque and — get this, get it good — a redline at 8,000 rpm. (The 2021 911 Carrera S, by contrast, tops out a 7,500, with its 3.0-liter six.)
Yessir! Beneath my left foot was a crisply responsive clutch pedal. Beneath my right hand, a six-speed stick. But I really didn’t need anything past three. I’m not sure what anybody is going to do with the forthcoming dual-clutch transmission and its seven. Perhaps shave a few tenths off the Porsche-claimed zero to …read more
Source:: Business Insider