A China-only affair could turn into a global offering after all

Porsche surprised the folks of China when it revealed a four-cylinder 718 Spyder in China on the sidelines of the Shanghai Auto Show. Dropping the legendary flat-six for a four-banger might seem a little out of place for something as driver-centric as the 718, but with emissions regulations getting ever tighter it makes sense to have such a compliment in the 718 lineup – at least in the People’s Republic, anyway. However, what was once thought to be a Chinese-only affair could soon land in Europe and maybe even the United States. How do I know? Well, these spy photos are a pretty strong indication.

Porsche 718 Spyder Four-Cylinder – Going to Europe and Beyond?

New Evidence Hints That The Four-Cylinder Porsche 718 Spyder Could Be Offered In Europe and the US Exterior Spyshots
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China has steep taxes for larger engines, and Europe isn’t exactly a paradise when it comes to registering cars with engines larger than two liters, either. This is the main reason that Porsche has done something unexpected with the 718 Spyder, to begin with. The new four-cylinder model is lacking two cylinders but makes up for it – to a certain extent – with the addition of forced induction.

Thanks to turbocharging, the four-cylinder in the new entry-level 718 Spyder will deliver 295 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque (380 Nm), about 120 ponies and 30 pound-feet shy of the 718 Spyder currently on offer.

Despite the smaller engine, less power, and marginally less torque, this model can still hit 62 mph (100 km/h) in 4.7 seconds and reaches a top speed of 167 mph (270 km/h). That makes it 0.8-seconds slower to 62 mph and 20 mph slower in terms of top speed.

New Evidence Hints That The Four-Cylinder Porsche 718 Spyder Could Be Offered In Europe and the US Exterior Spyshots
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So, with this out of the way, and forgoing the usual “it’s not as aggressive on the outside” rant, what leads us to believe that a four-cylinder 718 Spyder will be offered in Europe and maybe even the United States? Well, the spy photos that we have here show that very model – a prototype, to be specific – being tested on the Nurburgring. Why would Porsche be putting it through the paces at the Nurburgring if it’s a China-only offering? Well, it could just be standard procedure, but it could also mean that Porsche is looking to offer it elsewhere. And, why not? After all, it might not be quite as fast and it might not be as pleasing to purists, but it could make the 718 even more attainable and ultimately cheaper to register in places where large engines come at a premium in terms of taxes.

New Evidence Hints That The Four-Cylinder Porsche 718 Spyder Could Be Offered In Europe and the US Exterior Spyshots
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So what would a four-cylinder 718 Spyder cost? It’ll obviously be cheaper than the current model, which starts right around $98,300 with a manual transmission before options, taxes, and other fees or $103,000 with the PDK here in the U.S. A four-cylinder model would drop the 718 Spyder out of the six-figure range and ultimately make it a little more attainable to those not willing go six-figure deep on a new sports car. Pricing could even go dangerously close to $90,000 and that’s a pretty big deal. So, what say you? Would you like to see a four-cylinder 718 Spyder land in the United States? Let us know in the comments below.

Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topsped.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
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