- Looks the part
- Plenty of tech
- Impressive performance
- Better than expected fuel economy
Blasting a super-powered Porsche roadster at high speed through pitch black upland lanes in the dead of night might sound a foolhardy enterprise.
Especially when the road surfaces are damp, greasy, and covered in a carpet of fallen leaves.
But there is a twinkle of light, literally, at the end of this hour-long white-knuckle adventure.
We negotiate a dam traversing the largest man-made lake in the UK, pulling to a halt in a haunting and deserted Kielder Water and Forest car park.
It can also prove bitterly cold at this time of year, and plainly time to replace the fabric roof on a mid-engined sports car that even Porsche admits is ‘everything your everyday life doesn’t need, but your heart yearns for”.
And yearn it does, for the 718 Spyder is a phenomenal piece of engineering.
At its heart is a 4.0-litre 6-cylinder petrol engine developing 420bhp, capable of revving to 8,000rpm and mated to a 6-speed manual transmission.
The Spyder has the potential to accelerate from 0 to 62mph in a fleeting 4.4 seconds and is capable of reaching 187mph.
With this amount of power on tap, you would expect fuel consumption to be minimal. However, the Spyder also features adaptive cylinder de-activation at light throttle load, helping achieve a claimed 25.7mpg.
It is basically the same car as the 718 Cayman GT4, the only real difference being that its stable mate is a hard-top coupé.
But while the GT4 represents the entry-level GT street car from Porsche with credentials suited to the racetrack, the Spyder leans more towards road-based driving.
Both though rely on supreme aerodynamics, a thoroughbred chassis and – essentially-powerful brakes.
The next morning we head off on a succession of long, sweeping and largely empty moorland roads affording spectacular views of the North Pennines and Teesdale valley.
And as we sweep through the bleak landscape, the roaring sound of the 718’s engine is only matched by the nearby High Force, a 70ft waterfall crashing relentlessly from a dark ridge.
The Porsche’s gearbox also has a switchable auto blip function on downshifts, adding to the soundtrack.
After a lunch stop in the picturesque village of Romaldkirk, dominated by the Norman church of St Romald, the route back to our starting point near Hexham takes in one of the most bleak but beautiful roads in Britain, heading north on the B6278 via Stanhope.
Along a stretch of British B-road, the 718 really bares its soul with instant throttle responses, pin-sharp steering and that banshee exhaust scream.
And as we edge closer to normality and rural suburbia the Spyder’s road manners underline that, like many other Porsche models, it really is an everyday supercar – albeit one costing a princely £73,405 at the time of testing.
The Porsche 718 Spyder seriously impressed and looked right at home attacking B-Roads within the Northumbrian countryside. As the entry-level model into the Porsche range, you may expect it to be dialled-down, but the 718 Spyder is far from it, delivering a driving experience to behold.