Although here at Chasing Cars we’d like to think that everyone would be happy enough with manual sports cars, the fact is that Porsche’s PDK is just so quick and easy to use that most buyers – especially those of GTS variants – will opt for the self-shifter.
For 2021 Porsche has also tweaked the specifications slightly, and revised pricing of the flat-six powered 718 range. The PDK cars will begin arriving in Australia by the first quarter of 2021.
Pricing has barely changed; the manual 718 four-litre cars are now a token $400 more affordable than before. The range still starts with the $172,000 Cayman GTS is and the 718 GT4 rounds it out at $206,000. However, PDK adds about $5,000, depending on the model. A full price list appears at the end of this article.
The 718 range is not affordable, and the options certainly aren’t either, but the dynamic purity a mid-engined Porsche offers is not something that even the BMW M2 CS will trouble. However, that car and the Alpine A110 will be trying their best to sparkle brighter in dealerships.
The more powerful, focused 718 Cayman GT4 and 718 Spyder retain their maximum outputs of 309kW and 420Nm, though when optioned with the seven-speed PDK dual-clutch acceleration times tumble.
Previously claimed at 4.4 seconds for the manual cars, the PDK ‘box drops the time to 100km/h by half a second to 3.9 seconds. Going on to 200km/h, the PDK loses some of its advantage but is still 0.4 seconds faster than the manual reaching that number in 13.4 seconds.
Bots 718 Cayman and Boxster GTS models cut their sprints by the same time, just a fraction behind the track-focused cars at 4.0 seconds and 13.7 seconds respectively.
Naturally, the manual will still be the purist’s option, and in the real world acceleration times don’t mean a whole lot, but it’s impressive to see cars that are otherwise the same slash sprint times with only a gearbox swap.
To achieve this 0-100km/h time in the PDK cars, drivers will need to swap into Sport Plus and activate the launch control system. Similarly, there is a console-mounted ‘Sport Response’ button that primes the engine and transmission regardless of mode for maximum acceleration.
Switching between drive modes in the Sport Chrono equipped GTS variants also alters shift patterns of the PDK ‘box more generally; Sport holds gears to higher RPMs and blips more aggressively, normal keeps it more relaxed.
Drivers will be able to take control manually, of course, with the paddles mounted behind the Alcantara-clad steering wheel.
Speaking of which, for 2021, Porsche has re-trimmed the interiors of 718 vehicles, ditching brand name Alcantara for an allegedly higher quality material: Race-Tex. Porsche says this material appoints the seats used in their GT cars, providing greater breathability and longevity.
Additionally, the updated cars swap some options. The launch colour of the 718 Boxster GTS 4.0 – Python green – has been added to the standard palette for the 718 GT4 and Spyder, while those attractive Aurum (read: Gold) 20-inch alloys are available on the 718 GTS models.
Those who have been waiting for a self-shifting, four-litre flat-six powered Porsche can relax, the marque is taking orders now with deliveries beginning in the first quarter of 2021.
2021 Porsche 718 flat-six pricing
All prices are before on-road costs.
718 Cayman GTS 4.0 MT –$172,000 (down $400)
718 Cayman GTS 4.0 PDK – $177,990
718 Boxster GTS 4.0 MT – $174,800 (down $400)
718 Boxster GTS 4.0 PDK – $180,790
718 Spyder MT – $196,800 (down $400)
718 Spyder PDK – $201,890
718 Cayman GT4 MT – $206,600 (down $400)
718 Cayman GT4 PDK – $211,690