The 2020 Boxster Spyder remains naturally aspirated, packs more than 400 horsepower

The 2020 Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder is the range-topping version of the 982-generation Boxster. Based on a sports car introduced in 2016, the 2020 Boxster Spyder is the first to wear a "718" badge. Launched alongside the 718 Cayman GT4, its coupe counterpart, the Boxster Spyder features the largest and most powerful engine ever fitted into Porsche’s entry-level model.

The Boxster Spyder, inspired by the 718 race car from the 1950s, came to life in 2009 and returned for the 2016 model year. For 2019, the Spyder remains a limited-edition model that will probably earn collectible status in the near future. But does it have what it takes to compete with other similar sports cars, especially given its expensive price tag? Let’s find out in the review below.

  • 2020 Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder
  • Year:
    2020
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    flat-6
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    414 @ 7600
  • Torque @ RPM:
    309 @ 6800
  • Displacement:
    4.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    4.2 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    187 mph
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:
  • Overall:
    8.5/10

Exterior

  • Sporty body features
  • New rear spoiler
  • Flying buttresses
  • Revised soft-top
  • Race-inspired rear diffuser
  • New exhaust pipe layout
  • Unique wheels
left right
The Spyder benefits from all the updates that Porsche introduced for the 2016-model-year Boxster

A slightly more aggressive version of the Boxster GTS, but with a revised rear deck lid, the Spyder benefits from all the updates that Porsche introduced for the 2016 model year. It features a wider front end with a new bumper section, thinner LED daytime running lamps, and new LED headlamps. Spyder-specific features include a unique spoiler at the bottom of the bumper and larger intakes surrounded by black trim. The Spyder also has an additional vent just in front of the trunk lid. Not available on other Boxster models, this intake is actually borrowed from the 911 GT3. Cool!

Onto the sides, the roadster is identical to the regular 718 Boxster save for the revised rear fender vents and new wheels. Just like its predecessor, the Spyder sports a revised decklid with flying buttresses. These elements give the car a sleeker look. The same is available for the top. While the Boxster looks similar to the Cayman when the soft-top is up, the Spyder boasts a different, sportier profile.

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While the standard Boxster has a single exhaust tip in the center, the Spyder features two round pipes on each side of the diffuser

In the back, Porsche redesigned both the taillights and the decklid for the latest Boxster. The new taillights have 3D LED technology with four-point brake lights and a black strip with integrated "Porsche" lettering between them. The latter was carried over to the Spyder as well, now placed under a bespoke spoiler. The bumper is identical to the regular model, but the new diffuser sets the Spyder apart.

The two-piece element is decidedly more aggressive and features a new exhaust pipe layout. While the standard Boxster has a single, rectangular tip in the center, the Spyder features two round pipes on each side of the diffuser. This is also a significant departure from the previous Spyder, which had a dual exhaust setup in the center of the bumper. The exhaust pipes are also larger. The diffuser contributes to an increase in downforce of about 50 percent compared to the old Spyder.

2020 Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder exterior dimensions
Length 174.5 in
Width w/ mirrors folded 71.0 in
Width 78.6 in
Height 49.6 in
Drag coefficient (Cd) 0.34 Cd
Wheelbase 97.8 in
Front track 60.6 in
Rear track 60.4 in
Turning circle 37.5 ft
Curb weight 3,206 lb
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) 3,792 lb
Maximum load 586 lb

Interior

  • Sports seats
  • Optional bucket seats
  • GT Sport steering wheel
  • Cloth loops for the doors
  • Alcantara upholstery
  • Optional leather package
  • Two-tone trim options
2020 Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder
- image 845893
The GT Sport steering wheel comes wrapped in Alcantara, just like in full-fledged race cars

Inside the Spyder’s cabin, you will find the same features that were introduced as new with the regular the 718 Boxster. It features the same dashboard with revised A/C vents, the updated instrument cluster, and a sportier steering wheel with new spokes and a new center section. Updates in the technology department compared to the outgoing model include a standard Porsche Communication Management system with mobile phone preparation, audio interfaces, a 110-watt Sound Package Plus, and a navigation module with voice control. The Connect Plus module for access to a wide array of online services, navigation, and Apple CarPlay, is optional.

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As far as bespoke features go, the GT Sport steering wheel comes wrapped in Alcantara, just like in full-fledged race cars. The shift lever, which is 0.4 inches shorter than the standard unit, is also wrapped in Alcantara, as is the lower section of the dashboard. The standard seats were replaced by the Sport Seats Plus package, which includes seats with raised side bolsters and Alcantara center sections. If you want an even racier interior, Porsche offers full bucket seats. The Germans are here to help if you want a more comfortable Spyder too, as you can opt for sports seats with 18-way adjustability.

2020 Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder
- image 846624
Unlike the Cayman GT4, the Boxster Spyder is available with a Spyder Classic Interior Package

Finally, the standard interior trim is painted in exterior color, a notable departure from the GT4’s brushed aluminum inserts. Although hard plastic painted as the exterior isn’t as sporty as aluminum, it gives the Boxster Spyder a vintage look. The cabin is rounded off by contrast stitching in either white as standard and red, silver, or yellow as options.

Unlike the Cayman GT4, the Boxster Spyder is available with a Spyder Classic Interior Package. This bundle adds two-tone upholstery in Bordeaux red and Black, extended Alcantara surfaces, and dashboard trim in GT Silver Metallic. The lightweight, manually operated soft-top comes in a black-and-red, two-tone layout, a feature inspired by historic Porsche race cars.

2020 Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder cargo space
Front luggage compartment volume 5.2 ft³
Rear luggage compartment volume 4.2 ft³

Drivetrain

  • 4.0-liter flat-six engine
  • 414 horsepower
  • 309 pound-feet of torque
  • 0 to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds
  • Top speed at 187 mph
  • Suspension and brake system upgrades
  • Limited-slip differential
  • Most powerful Boxster ever
  • Not as quick as the PDK GTS
2020 Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder
- image 845901
Porsche made a surprise move and dropped a 4.0-liter flat-six engine

Surprisingly enough, the 718 Boxster Spyder has a flat-six, naturally aspirated engine behind the seats. When Porsche redesigned the 718 lineup in 2016, it discontinued all naturally aspirated engines, leaving the Boxster and Cayman with a pair of turbocharged, flat-four units. The base model features a 2.0-liter engine, while the Boxster S and GTS variants have 2.5-liter mills. A while ago it was believed that the 2.5-liter flat-four in the GTS would be upgraded for Spyder. However, Porsche made a surprise move and dropped a 4.0-liter flat-six in the convertible. This is the biggest engine ever mounted in the Boxster. Heck, it’s as big as the engine found in the wild Porsche 911 GT3.

2020 Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder
- image 845900
This flat-six cranks out an impressive 414 horsepower and 309 pound-feet of torque

But it’s not the same mill. A new design, although it probably shares some internals with the mill in the 911 GT3, this flat-six cranks out an impressive 414 horsepower and 309 pound-feet of torque. That’s an extra 39 horsepower over the previous Cayman GT4, while torque remains unchanged. As a reminder, the previous Boxster Spyder features a 3.8-liter flat-six from the 911 Carrera.

When it comes to performance, the new Spyder needs 4.2 seconds to hit 60 mph from a standing start. That’s a tenth-second quicker than the previous model. The new Spyder is also faster, as top speed increased from 180 to 187 mph. At the same time, the Spyder is one mph slower than the 718 Cayman GT4.

Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder vs. 718 Boxster GTS
2020 Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder 2018 Porsche 718 Boxster GTS
Engine 4.0-Liter Flat-Six Engine 3.8-liter flat-six engine
Horsepower 414 HP @ 7,600 RPM 375 HP @ 6,700 RPM
Torque 309 LB-FT @ 5,000 - 6,800 RPM 310 LB-FT
Top Speed 187 mph 180 mph
0 to 60 mph 4.2 seconds 4.3 seconds

Compared to the 718 Boxster GTS, powered by a 2.5-liter four-flat that cranks out 361 horsepower, the Spyder comes with an extra 53 horsepower on tap. However, because the GTS has a turbocharged engine, it offers a bit more torque. Specifically, the Boxster GTS hits the pavement with 317 pound-feet, eight pound-foot more than the Spyder. When it comes to performance, the Spyder isn’t the quickest Boxster available. While this version quicker than both the manual- and PDK-equipped GTS models, it’s a tenth-second slower than the GTS fitted with the Sport Chrono package.

2020 Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder vs. Boxster Spyder
2020 Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder 2018 Porsche Boxster Spyder
Engine 4.0-Liter Flat-Six Engine 2.5-liter four-flat
Horsepower 414 HP @ 7,600 RPM 361 HP @ 6,500 RPM
Torque 309 LB-FT @ 5,000 - 6,800 RPM 317 LB-FT
Top Speed 187 mph 180 mph
0 to 60 mph 4.2 seconds 4.3 sec/4.1 sec (3.9 sec w/ Sport Chrono)
Available with a six-speed manual only, the Boxster Spyder remains an enthusiast's car

More good news comes from the transmission department. Available with a six-speed manual only, the Boxster Spyder remains an enthusiast’s car. This transmission is significantly different from the old Boxster Spyder’s, and it also features an Auto Blip function that automatically matches gearbox and engine speeds during a downshift. You can activate or deactivate this feature by pushing a button on the dashboard.

Porsche also added a sport exhaust system for a throatier exhaust note, as well a track-proven Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) system with adaptive dampers. This new suspension lowers the ride height by up to 1.2 inches compared to the standard Boxster and allows manual adjustment of camber, toe, and anti-roll bar settings.

2020 Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder
- image 846623
The 718 Boxster Spyder shares some features with the 911 GT3

The 718 Boxster Spyder also comes standard with a mechanical limited-slip differential, Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV), ABS, electronic stability (ESC), and traction (TC) control systems. All have been specifically calibrated for this car, while ESC and TC can be switched off in two stages.

Just like the old Boxster Spyder, the new sports car shares some features with the 911 GT3. Porsche used the same front axle from the 2018 911 GT3 and also borrowed the brakes for the small convertible. The race-ready discs measure 15 inches in the front and in the rear. The optional Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake (PCCB) system add larger rotors that measure 16.1 inches in the front and 15.3 inches in the rear.

2020 Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder drivetrain specifications
Engine layout Mid-engine
Design and cylinders Naturally aspirated boxer 6
Bore 102.0 mm
Stroke 81.5 mm
Displacement 4.0 l
Max. power 414 hp
Max. power at rpm 7,600 rpm
Max. engine speed 8,000 rpm
Max. torque 309 lb-ft
Max. torque at rpm 5,000 - 6,800 rpm
Compression ratio 13 : 1
Max. power per liter 103.5 hp/l
Power-to-weight ratio 7.8 lb/hp
Cooling Water-cooled
Top track speed 187 mph
0 - 60 mph 4.2 s

Prices

2020 Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder
- image 846626

Pricing for the 718 Boxster Spyder starts from $96,300. That’s a whopping $14,200 more than the previous-generation Spyder, but the increase makes sense given the new tech and the fact that the old Spyder dates back to 2016. The 718 Boxster Spyder is obviously the most expensive model in the Boxster lineup. The Boxster GTS, for instance, costs $80,700, a solid $15,600 less than the Spyder. The 718 Boxster Spyder is actually more expensive than the base 911 as well, fetching an extra $5,200 over the Carrera.

Competition

Lotus Elise Cup 260

2017 Lotus Elise Cup 260 Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 739737
Fastest-Road Legal Elise to Date

The Boxster’s niche is quite small, with only a handful of sports cars available. But while the standard Boxster competes against the Lotus Elise, the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, and the Alpine A110 (although not yet available as a convertible), the Spyder model has just one true competitor, the Elise Cup 260. Unlike the Alfa Romeo 4C, the Elise comes in many forms. The British firm offers no fewer than six versions of the sports car, and the Cup 260 is the most powerful and the most track capable. The car’s exterior remains familiar, but many components were upgraded in order to improve aerodynamics. Lotus also replaced a few standard parts with carbon-fiber, dropping the curb weight by a few pounds. Around back, a new diffuser with a center-mounted exhaust makes the Cup 260 looks like a full-fledged race car.

The interior is actually a bit more spartan than the Boxster Spyder, so it’s better suited if you want a proper track car devoid of many modern features. Upgrades include carbon-fiber seats wrapped in Alcantara, custom stitching, gold accents, a sports steering wheel, and exposed aluminum and carbon-fiber elements. Power is provided by the supercharged, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine available in many Lotus vehicles, but it’s rated at 250 horsepower and 188 pound-feet of torque in this model. It might not sound like a lot compared to the 718 Boxster Spyder, but the extremely light Elise Cup 260 needs less than four seconds to hit 60 mph, significantly quicker than the German sports car. Pricing is also below that of the Spyder, but the downside here is that the Cup 260 isn’t available in the United States.

Read our review of the Lotus Elise Cup 260.

Alfa Romeo 4C Spider

2016 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider High Resolution Exterior
- image 610397

If you live in the U.S., you’re pretty much stuck with the 4C Spider. Recently discontinued in coupe trim, the 4C remains available as a convertible, but production probably won’t extend beyond 2019. Already six years old as of this writing, the 4C boasts a cool Italian design, and in many ways, it looks better than the Boxster Spyder. Its interior is also a better proposition to the Elise, especially if you’re looking for a bit more comfort and extra features. Under the hood, the 4C Spider comes with a tiny, 1.7-liter four-cylinder engine. The turbo unit cranks out 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, which makes it the least powerful car in this comparison. But even though it’s not as powerful as the competition, it’s not significantly slower, needing around 4.5 seconds to hit 60 mph from a standing start. The good news is that it’s notably more affordable than the 718 Boxster Spider. Priced from $66,900, it costs a whopping $30,000 less than its German counterpart.

Read our full review of the 2019 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider

Conclusion

2020 Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder
- image 846614

The Spyder’s return to the market after three years of absence is great news. Sure, it’s a bit more expensive than the competition, and you can definitely find quicker sports cars out there, but the Boxster Spyder is the ultimate embodiment of the race-bred convertible. And Porsche made sure that purists won’t be disappointed by dropping the turbocharged four-flat engines to return to the classic naturally aspirated flat-six. Porsche also ditched the PDK in favor of the fun-to-drive, enthusiast-oriented, three-pedal manual. Output-wise, the Boxster Spyder raises above its predecessor, as well as above anything else in the 718 lineup right now. The Spyder is living its best years, and it will take a while until a more powerful version will be offered. Granted, it’s as expensive as a base 911 at almost $100K, but it’s the price you have to pay for a limited-edition sports car like this.

  • Leave it
    • Expensive
    • The Lotus Elise Cup 260 is a solid option in Europe

Spy Shots

January 10, 2019 - Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder caught playing in the snow

2020 Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder
- image 813530
2020 Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder
- image 813524

September 26, 2018 - Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder is Ready for Production

2020 Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder
- image 797047
2020 Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder
- image 797051

June 15, 2018 - Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder caught with its top down

2020 Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder Spyshots Exterior
- image 783230
2020 Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder Spyshots Exterior
- image 783233

April 16, 2018 - Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder caught testing at Nurburgring

2020 Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder Exterior Spyshots
- image 777466
2020 Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder Exterior Spyshots
- image 777472

March 15, 2018 - Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder caught playing in the snow

2020 Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder Spyshots Exterior
- image 774028
2020 Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder Spyshots Exterior
- image 774029

References

Porsche Boxster

2017 Porsche 718 Boxster High Resolution Exterior
- image 663470

Read our full review on the 2017 Porsche 718 Boxster.

2010 Porsche Boxster Spyder
- image 333950

Read our full review on the 2010 Porsche Boxster Spyder.

2016 Porsche Boxster Spyder Wallpaper quality
- image 624538

Read our full review on the 2016 Porsche Boxster Spyder.

Update History

Updated 06/15/2018: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming 718 Boxster Spyder out for a new testing session, but this time with its top down.

Updated 04/16/2018: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Boxster Sypder out for a new testing session around the famous Nurburgring track.

Updated 03/15/2018: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder out for a new testing session, this time during cold winter conditions.

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