in china, the 718 is porsche's best-selling sports car. frank-steffen walliser, head of sports cars at porsche, once told road & track that without china, the 718 likely wouldn't exist at all. a big reason for the 718's popularity is its base 2.0-liter flat-four. cars in china are taxed by engine displacement, and it's far more expensive to own a car with an engine larger than 2.0 liters, which is why porsche is now offering the 718 spyder with its smallest four-cylinder for the china market.
revealed at this week's auto shanghai 2021, the 718 spyder ditches the glorious 4.0-liter flat-six it gets in other markets for a 300-hp 2.0-liter turbo flat-four paired with a seven-speed pdk. there's also a bit more standard equipment, but the bodywork is identical to the 718 spyder sold elsewhere, except for the bumpers, which come from the gts models.
the chassis is standard boxster—not the motorsport-designed setup you get with the spyder elsewhere . it also has the finicky manual-folding roof, however, which resides under the double-bubble rear decklid. this particular car also has a particularly lurid exterior color, frozen berry metallic, which was introduced with the taycan and is now available in u.s.-market 718 models if you're feeling brave.
what's funny about the china-market 718 spyder is that with a 2.0-liter flat-four, it's now has even more common with its fifties race-car namesake. the original 718 rsk had porsche's famous twin-cam flat-four "carrera" engine.
and don't think this is really an alternative to the six-cylinder 718 spyder with all the looks and less of the cost. it'll start at the equivalent of around $113,000 at today's exchange rates. in the u.s., the 718 spyder starts at a comparatively reasonable $99,650.