Porsche launched the 718 Spyder in China this week with a bit of a surprise in the specs sheets as the retro-flavored convertible eschews the flat-six for a smaller four-banger. Coincidentally (or not), our spies have now caught a prototype of the new flavor testing at the Nürburgring. It could be a sign the peeps from Stuttgart have plans to sell the car outside of the People’s Republic.
How do we know it has a 2.0-liter engine instead of the high-revving 4.0-liter unit? It looks less aggressive than the 414-horsepower Spyder, starting at the front where the bumper has smaller air intakes. The rear bumper has also been tweaked and has the exhaust tips next to each other in the center, mirroring the Chinese version.
As a refresher, the 718 Spyder available in the world’s most populous country is a PDK-only affair and offers 295 hp and 280 lb-ft (380 Nm) or about 120 hp and 30 lb-ft (41 Nm) less than the international variant. It completes the 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) run in 4.7 seconds, thus making it 0.8s slower than the PDK-equipped global Boxster Spyder. Top speed drops by 20 mph to 167 mph (270 km/h).
Needless to say, one of the main differences between the two versions (other than the loss of two cylinders and different styling) is the adoption of turbocharging for the CN-spec Spyder. That removes some of the model’s allure, but it’s an understandable decision for the version in China where there are steep taxes for larger engines.
We’re fairly certain some people wouldn’t mind having a four-cylinder Spyder in the United States and/or Europe as it would be significantly more affordable. The flat-six model starts at basically $100,000 with the manual and from $103,000 with the PDK in the US, so a variant with the downsized engine would drop below the six-figure mark.