- Among the best-handling cars, ever
- Impressive acceleration
- Slick gearboxes
- Huge range and many options
- No version is truly cheap
- Turbo-4 doesn’t snarl like a 6-cylinder
- Not very practical
- Limited safety tech
features & specs
In Porsche-speak, GTS translates to “Goldilocks.” That’s not true, but the 718 makes a lot of sense in well-balanced GTS trim.
The 2020 Porsche 718 may be the entry into the vaunted German automaker’s lineup, but don’t let its (relatively) accessible price point dissuade you from taking one home. This lineup of sports cars delivers astounding handling and performance thanks in part to what makes the 718 so different from the 911: engine placement.
The Porsche 718 Boxster—that’s the convertible version—and 718 Cayman—that’s the hardtop —come in a dizzying array of trims, powertrains, and combinations. Overall, they’re good for 7.0 out of 10 on our scale, with impressive performance that easily overpowers, literally, any shortcomings in utility. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
This year, a new T trim level for both 718s revives a long-dormant letter in Porsche’s history to denote less weight, more performance features, and more money. At the opposite end and priced in the six-figure range, the new Cayman GT4 delivers 414 horsepower while the focused Boxster Spyder has dashing good looks plus the same flat-6 engine. The 718 GTS sits out this year as it is largely replaced by the new 718 T.
All but the 718 GT4 and Spyder make use of turbo-4 performance to deliver anywhere from 300 to 350 horsepower to the rear wheels via 6-speed manual or 7-speed dual clutch automatic gearboxes. Most versions zip to 60 mph inside of five seconds. Banish any lingering thoughts about the Porsche 914.
This year’s new GT4 and Spyder double the displacement and pop in two more cylinders. Their 4.0-liter flat-6 is cribbed from the 911 and is rated at 414 horsepower, because more is almost always better. Admittedly, we haven’t driven these 6-cylinder 718s yet, but we look forward to the experience.
Handling-wise, the 718s are Porsche—not to mention physics—at its absolute best. That turbo-4 is tucked right behind the passenger compartment with the transaxle glued down low, factors that help lower and centralize the car’s mass in ways the iconic 911 can only dream about.
Where the 911 has the edge is in practicality, as if that matters. The 718s seat two passengers, and any cargo bigger than a Manila folder will need to find its way into either of the small trunks located fore and aft. Surprisingly, the 718 is fairly fuel-efficient—it doesn’t weigh much, after all. It hasn’t been crash-tested, but it’s remarkably light on advanced safety features in standard form.
2020 Porsche 718
The Porsche 718 has matured into a stylish coupe or convertible.
The 2020 Porsche 718 samples its 911 big brother and its Panamera cousin for a pleasing blend of design themes inside and out that earn it 9 out of 10 points on our scale.
Available in coupe—718 Cayman—and roadster—718 Boxster—configurations, the car features a wide front end that could be mistaken at first glance for the departed 918 hypercar. Headlights with a nearly triangular shape flank a front hood and sit just proud enough of the fenders to give drivers that classic Porsche view out the windshield.
The car’s sculpted sides feature functional air intakes for the mid-mounted turbo-4 engine. At the rear, a taillight bar added a few years ago provides plenty of visual excitement for drivers behind the 718. The light bar may be this pretty design’s best feature, and that’s saying something. 718 Boxsters can be fitted with a number of soft top hues, so it’s worth branching out from oh-so-common black.
Inside, the cars feature a high, broad center console littered with buttons that may prove overwhelming at first—and that’s before we’ve gotten to the optional button-heavy steering wheel. Still, the look is sporty and timeless, especially the distinctive rounded climate control vents.
2020 Porsche 718
The 2020 Porsche 718 is unbeatable for its balance and poise.
Few new cars are as brilliant to drive as the 2020 Porsche 718, even including the 911 that taunts it from across the showroom.
The 718 nails a 10 on our score for its acceleration, its communicative steering, its amazing balance, its astounding grip, and a whole bunch of other assets that really ought to net it 20 out of 10 points.
Tucked behind the passenger compartment sits a 2.0-liter turbo-4 in the base 718. With its 300-hp and 280 pound-feet of torque, the engine provides ample thrust for nearly any rational driver and can accelerate from 0-60 mph in as little as 4.9 seconds. The standard 6-speed manual transaxle is a model of precision, though we can’t blame you for opting instead for the ultra-fast shifts delivered by the available 7-speed dual-clutch automatic.
The 718 S ups the ante with a 2.5-liter turbo-4 rated at 350 hp, and is predictably quicker. Porsche figures the bigger engine slices half a second off of the already quick 0-60 mph sprint.
S may come before T in the alphabet, but this new 718 version is equipped with the base car’s engine, albeit with a just-right combination of features including the otherwise optional Sport Chrono package that adds an extra sport driving mode, revised engine and transmission mounts, and an adaptive suspension that sits even lower to the ground.
Truthfully, it doesn’t matter what badge is on the back or what 4-cylinder is tucked under the cover—not that you can see the engine, anyway. Porsche’s 718s set an exceptionally high bar for their handling prowess. Sharp brakes bring things to a halt, too. We’re just fine with the standard 18-inch wheels, though the 19s fitted to the 718 S and the 20s on the 718 T are wrapped in ever wider, ever grippier rubber. The electric power steering system is direct and communicative, and it includes a low-speed power boost for parking lot maneuvers.
We’ve not driven this year’s new flat-6 versions of the 718, so we’ll reserve this space for our impressions. With 414 horsepower on tap and buttoned-down suspensions, the 718 Cayman GT4 and 718 Boxster Spyder are bound to impress.
2020 Porsche 718
Comfort & Quality
As long as you pack light, the 2020 Porsche 718 is a comfortable, luxurious choice.
With just two seats on board, the 2020 Porsche 718 lineup is honest about its intentions. We rate the 2020 718 at 5 out of 10 for comfort, adding points for the fine finishes and supportive seats but peeling two back for trunks that won’t accommodate much more than a couple of gym bags and for its two-seat layout—admittedly a bonus for the people who want one.
Porsche offers a slew of seat choices in the 718, so try before buying. The base setup is best for a wide range of bodies and offers a good deal of adjustment. A tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel helps ensure most drivers will be able to get comfortable.
Even base versions of the 718 have a high-quality feel inside with good materials on the dash, doors, and center console. Porsche’s endless options list means that just about every surface can be covered in an upgraded material, albeit for a price. Spend wisely.
For cargo, the 718 is not a practical choice. The front trunk holds about 5.6 cubic feet worth of grocery bags. The 718 Boxster’s soft top has to stow somewhere, so it can lug just 4.4 cubic feet of cargo in its rear trunk. The 718 Cayman delivers a little more than double that space, though even it will struggle to hold a rollaboard suitcase.
2020 Porsche 718
The 2020 Porsche 718 has not been crash tested, and it’s light on active safety features.
The 2020 Porsche 718 prioritizes performance over safety, though advanced collision-avoidance features are available at an extra cost.
It’s not likely that the low-volume 2020 718 will be crash-tested any time soon, so we’ll have to hold off assigning these little cars a score for their crashworthiness.
The basics are there—six airbags, stability control, and anti-lock brakes. Adaptive cruise control is optional and is required for automatic emergency braking, a vital safety feature now standard on nearly every other new car. Blind-spot monitors are also available.
The 718 has relatively poor outward vision over the driver’s shoulder, though the expansive windshield means a clear view forward.
2020 Porsche 718
A huge range of customizability helps justify the 2020 Porsche 718’s sky-high price.
Sports cars tend not to be easy purchases to justify, and the nearly $60,000 Porsche charges for even the most basic 2020 718 is hardly chump change.
That money buys a decently equipped car, at least, and it offers the opportunity to spend even more on lavish optional extras. We rate the 2020 718 at 7 out of 10 for its touchscreen and standard and optional equipment, but deduct one for value.
The base 718 Cayman and Boxster come with a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth connectivity and USB ports, leather upholstery, and a few other goodies. Big-ticket options likely to be fitted to most cars include upgraded audio, heated seats, softer leather, and trim finishes on the dash and console.
If your intentions are to get the most out of your 718, consider bypassing some of the luxuries in favor of functional extras like the Sport Chrono package that adds an adaptive suspension and a Sport+ mode that tailors the car for high-performance driving. Carbon-ceramic brakes are optional and worthwhile for heavy track users but should be skipped for daily driver use.
No matter what, plan to spend a lot of time working through the car’s myriad options. A highly equipped car can top six figures, though every 718 feels worth the coin.
2020 Porsche 718
Fuel economy runs the gamut on the 2020 Porsche 718, though base cars can be reasonably thrifty.
The wide range of engines and gearboxes available on the Porsche 718 mean that almost every configuration is rated differently on the EPA’s fuel-economy scale.
On our scale, the lineup scores a 4 out of 10 based on its most frugal—and most popular—configuration.
Base cars were rated at 22 mpg city, 29 highway, 25 combined with the dual-clutch automatic transmission last year. The 6-speed manual was a little less efficient at 21/28/24 mpg.
The 718 S includes an upsized, more powerful engine, and it sips fuel at a rate between 22 and 24 mpg combined, depending on gearbox.
This year, the 718 Spyder and Cayman GT4 use a bigger 4.0-liter flat-6 that's rated at 16/23/19 mpg for their glorious sounds.
Porsche says to use premium fuel in every version of the 718.