#LetsDriveThe718T – A roadtrip through Andalusia

718 T-82Traditionally, “T” stands for “Touring”in Porsche models, and is synonymous with driving pleasure in its purest form. This trip ahead is Touring at its best!

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A roadtrip across the Spanish country side, starting off in Sevilla and getting to know the 718 T Cayman as well as the Boxster – let’s go…

Having learned proper driving, I mean racing on circuits and those curvy open roads, on a Cayman, I will always have a soft-spot for this superb mid-engine sportscar. Back in 2013 when I started proceeding my dream of racing and gaining my racing license, at the Nordschleife of course (my second home growing up), I had the great chance to practice on a Cayman. A friend of mine was kind enough to support my dream and let me borrow his car for the time being, as I for sure have had nothing worthy of driving fast, or to practice on.

Back then, I must admit, that I did not expect a lot of the Cayman prior to having a go in it. It was just not my car, that’s at least what I thought and when I had a GO – it blow my mind! This car is INCREDIBLE, it is possible to do whatever you want with it, pretty much. It is so easy to handle and you know exactly how it will behave in the next corner, when it breaks out and so on… very, very different to the rear-engine 911 I was more used to. For me, clearly, the perfect car to get to know the Nordschleife again, after haven’t been driving on it for around a year, and that at very different, much higher speed.

I must admit, I fell in love with the whole mid-engine concept and I am still today. Hence, me being rather excited for this roadtrip on open-road… not much experience with neither of the 718 T models and open to get my mind-blown away once again!

PURITY & Weight saving

Now, the first thing which has really caught my attention is the fact that the 718 T has NO infotainment (the 718 S does come standardized with an infotainment system). I think a lot of you are confused as to why I am happy about that fact. Well, quite simply because it saves weight and not too little either, roughly 15 pounds!!! You get to listen to the engine, environment and enjoy the Porsche feeling in its purest form and of course have a better weight – power ratio, that’s what you get in return to loosing a sat nav, radio and the whole infotainment system. If you are on the side of comfort over driving experience, than of course you can add all of this back in, at no additional costs – but come on really?!

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The people who know me will know, that I am all on the side of “naked” cars, less is better. Years and years now I am frustrated that no car manufacturer, not even a super sports car manufacturer would offer a car WITHOUT all this luxurious extra stuff. (I am not talking about custom cars, the “better” GT cars etc.). Don’t get me wrong, it is nice to have this “extra stuff” for long journeys and a day to day commute, but on a sports or super sports car – NO!! I don’t wanna start a conversation about marketing strategies and customer satisfaction… I mean at least you should have the POSSIBILITY to strip you car down to, well an engine, a brilliant chassis and a good body form.. without a seated heat & steering wheel, the greatest sound system and electric seats and all the other extra stuff which does not benefit the driving experience only the comfort. I drive a Lotus Elise S1, and you know why I love this car so much? Because there is NOTHING to it, it is just a bit of aluminium & glass fabric combined with an engine and a chassis… Done. Is it noisy when driving? Yes! Are the seats comfortable for long journeys? No, but not uncomfortable either and I am happy to drive 800km straight with a back issue… Is there wind blowing in from everywhere and does it look rather cheap from the inside?! Hell yes, but no one cares when driving the Elise. This car is about the pure driving experience.

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Going back to the 718 T, it is a start in the right direction and Porsche returning to its roots – YESS! Thank you Porsche for making a step into the right direction with the more standard cars, and I love the idea of being able to spec it up at no additional costs – that’s the perfect combination and every customer will be able to stay happy. Also, if you are all for weight saving another little add on will be the huge box/storage compartment in the middle of the center console, which is now available.

I have talked to Jonas Bierschneider, the Porsche PR Manager for the 718 model series and he shared my opinion. Jonas says „I think we should go even further, offer a fully naked car while the customer will be able to spec it up to standard at no additional cost.“, and I was the happiest finally hearing someone sharing my opinion. In this matter the 718 T is a way into the right direction and hopefully we will be able to spec our cars down more often and extreme in the future!

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Name and Heritage

Yes, the name “718” is purposely referencing to Porsches hypercar “918”. To differentiate, they’ll be called 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman, though for the first time, the Boxster soft-top will cost more than the Cayman coupe.

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The 718 is now being released the fourth time with the extra letter “T”. So what does the T even stand for? The T model range sits between the basic models of the 718 range but below the S & GTS versions. So what does that really mean? Basically you get the lowest-powered engine – a 296bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo – but with Porsche’s nicer options boxes ticked.

The first Touring variant appears in autumn 1967 when the 911 T makes its début. As a new basic model in the company’s range of sports cars, it is distinguished by a particularly strong price-performance ratio and a standard equipment configuration that focuses on the essentials, just as the Porsche 912 (with four-cylinder boxer engine) does.

Exterieur

The puristic vehicle concept combines reduced equipment with sporty accents such as 20-inch Carrera S rims, a sports exhaust system, 360 mm GT sport steering wheel and opening loops in the door panels.

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In terms of colours, you can choose from Lava Orange and Miami Blue as special colours, black, Indian Red, Racing Yellow and white as well as Carrara White, Deep Black and GT Silver metallic colours.

Interieur

One of my fave interieur highlight is actually the stitching on every leather trimmed piece. Especially of course the head rest looks super elegant & sporty with the “718” stitching in the colour chosen.

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Handling

The 718 T will be most at home on winding country roads, offering the joy of dynamic driving as its ultimate goal.” – Porsche

One can truly feel the benefits of the combination of hard and soft gearbox mounts. The driving behaviour becomes noticeably more precise and stable during changes in load and on fast curves. While the driving comfort stays the same.

Experience outstanding lateral dynamics potential and highly agile handling thanks to a range of performance components which are also available for the first time for a 2.0-litre turbo engine in the 718 T: PASM sports chassis with 20 mm lower positioning, Sport Chrono package including PSM Sport, PADM adaptive drivetrain mounts, and Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) including mechanical rear differential lock. 20-inch tyres are fitted as standard, instead of the 18-inch tyres of the basic model.

Engine

The 4-cylinder-engine is one of the biggest discussed subjects around the 718, both in negative and positive form.

Loving to talk heritage and opposing the opinions of some of you, the 4-cylinder engine is GREAT! Just remember one thing, all the famous classic Porsches such as the 356, or even the 550 Spyder (you know, the one James Dean famously died in), are powered by a 4-cylinder engine – so let’s not start critizing. And really, aren’t 300 PS more than enough?!

Let me honestly tell you the 718 has enough horse power and you will be able to use every single pony, in ways you will not be able to comprehend at first. 

The 220 kW (300 PS) turbocharged flat engine accelerates the Porsche 718 T powerfully and boasts up to 7,500 revolutions. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine reaches its maximum torque of 380 Nm at 2,150/min and has an unladen weight of 1,350 (PDK: 1,380) kilograms. Thanks to a weight-to-power ratio of 4.5 (4.6) kg/PS, it can accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in 5.1 (4.7) seconds. The vehicles top speed is 275 km/h.

Reverse Gear

I must admit, I am not the biggest fan of criticizing for the sake of it but if something really hassles me I sure enough feel the need to share my impression and give you an honest review. This time around I have had my premiere with Porsche as something really troubled me. As much as I love the manual driving and would always go and choose manual driving over any PDK / automatic transmission, I have had my problems with manoeuvring my way backwards with the 718 T.

The reverse gear quite honestly was not to become my friend, nor anyone else’s for this matter. The transmission itself is excellent, short gear ratios, easy and short distances when shifting and excellent feedback in terms of shift points and feel. However, to select reverse one needs to properly pull the gear stick to the left before moving upwards. I mean with pulling, I have been using both hands trying to select the gear. I will blame this on my lack of muscles, being a woman and having a weak right, no problems, but considering the easy going rest of the gear shifts, the reverse gear marks quite frankly the other end of the spectrum. I wished for this to be a little more smooth, easier to handle and building more of a symbiosis between the other gears. Having moaned about this minor issues, as you mainly do drive forward, up windy mountain roads, I will get back to the more important impressions of this excellent car.

Chassis

So 20mm-lower sports suspension, usually only available on the S and above, is fitted as standard, as are 20in wheels and Sport Chrono, bringing with it auto rev-matching for the manual gearbox and some more slippery stability control settings. Two things that would have improved our 718 Cayman long-termer quite nicely.

Day 1 – Driving the 718 T Cayman in Miami Blue

After arriving in Sevilla, Spain and spending the evening in the oldest Tapas Bar of the city, a well deserved night of rest, we are beyond ready for the handover of the cars the next morning.

Porsche 718 Boxster T und 718 Cayman T in Sevilla

Fahrveranstaltung des neuen 718 Boxster T und 718 Cayman T in Sevilla (Photo by Hoch Zwei / Juergen Tap)

My co-driver this time around is Stephan Gerick, a friend I got to meet through Porsche last year, and I am beyond happy to get to share the car with him. He has just traveled around 3000km , road tripping the 718 S from Germany all the way to Sevilla to now jump behind the steering wheel of the T and feel the differences. Check out his impressions and feedback on his youtube or Instagram channel. The cars are all ready from 8 am. As soon as we got handed over the keys to our car for the day, a Miami Blue 718 T Cayman with a Six-speed manual gearbox, including Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) with mechanical rear differential lock, we jump in and find ourselves on leg one of a two day road trip across Andalusia.

It is Stephan’s go first and I am happy to get my first impressions of the car from the passenger seat, being able to direct my attention to little details as the stitching, buttons, door handle or strap in this matter (something for all the purists among us), side views and so on. I was admiring the car in such detail that Stephan clearly had enough of it and accelerated as soon as we left the outer string of the city, entering those windy roads Andalusia is famous for.

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Maybe he also just wanted to finally FEEL the Cayman, feel it’s potential, power and the go-kart like driving performance. A power-to-weight ratio of 4.5 kg/PS ensures that the puristic 718 T goes from zero to 100 km/h in less than 5.1 seconds – something we both instantly got to feel and left the biggest smile on our faces. The 2-litre-4-cylinder-engine with Turbo (mono charging) creates an output of nothing merge 300 PS and managed to bring the vehicle up to 275 km/h top speed.

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Our journey starts and ends in the heart of Seville: the capital of Andalusia, world-famous for its flamenco scene. The city has 700,000 inhabitants, and breathtaking landmarks including the Moorish palace the Royal Alcázar of Seville, the largest bullfighting arena in Spain (Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza), and Santa Maria de la Sede cathedral with its Giralda – a square bell tower that was once a minaret. Sadly, as per usual, there is not enough time for me to get to explore much as the schedule is tight and one needs to keep up with the day-to-day work.

The 205-kilometre journey takes us from the foothills of the Sierra Morena, past the little town of Constantina, beside the Cascadas del Huéznar waterfalls and through the village of San Nicolás del Puerto. It doesn’t take us too long that we decide to stop on the roadside for some photos and enjoying the setting which is of course followed by “purposely getting lost”. 

Stephan and I have the same mindset and we both love exploring new territory, getting lost and finding our own little secret spots, so we do. We got lost in between old cork oak trees, get barked at by a few dogs and then head a way we have no idea where it leads to. We end up at a little place with a few houses, all looking a little like we just arrived in Cuba.

We keep swapping between the drivers & passenger seat, both of us having enough time to enjoy the feel of the car. And it is such an enjoyable ride, no matter whether quick bends across the country side, traffic filled Sevilla or some long straights – the car is quite simply A LOT OF FUN!

After our little excursion we head towards the lunch stop located at Cazalla de la Sierra, a fine town in the centre of the Parque Natural de la Sierra Norte natural park, with its ancient cork oak trees. I use the extra time we have to start playing with the drone, still practicing and exploring the location from a totally different view. It is just magical to change perspective as easy as starting the drone and within 5 minutes you fly around like a bird, well through the little iphone screen of course :D 

We try to finish lunch quick in order to get an extra spot in prior to continuing the planned road map. Last night we spoke to Rocky and Jürgen, the two photographers on site, and we got to find out that there is a stunning location about 20 minutes from our lunch spot. It is a water reserve, meaning we can drive over the damm having water on one side and the beautiful green forests on the other.

Of course, we ended up spending way too long over there taking plenty of shots and playing with the drones. You wanna see more of these “playtimes”? Head over to my IG account or even better the youtube account I just started to share some of my drone footage :) 

After this excursion a 285-kilometre stretch is awaiting us,  that takes us through Badajoz, the southern province of the Extremadura region. It’s a lonely place with a hugely varied landscape, where Mediterranean forests, pastures and reservoirs are set against mountain landscapes and fertile valleys. The Alcazaba de Reina fort soon comes into view at the roadside; this leg in the foothills of the Sierra de San Miguel also passes through the Llerena (historic centre) and Fregenal de la Sierra (Templar castle).

The Andalusian province of Huelva, which shares a border with Portugal, is where we come across the town of Jabugo (Tiro Pichón hunting lodge) and the partially flooded copper mines at Minas de Riotinto. The La Dehesa biosphere reserve is characterised by lush forests and pastures, while Campofrío is known for being the location of the fourth-oldest bullfighting arena in the world. Aracena, our destination for today, is home to impressive stalactite caves, a historic town centre, and a ham museum (Museo del Jamón) – it is just a ten-minute walk from the hotel, but closes at 7.30 pm, which we sadly missed. Of course we stopped here and there, had a few play times with drones & camera gear which lead us to arriving JIT at 7:30 pm. The “apperitivo”, how the Italians would call it, is served and we are speechless by the breathtaking entry hall of our hotel to tonight. An old chapel / church, whatever you wanna call it, has been turned into a beautiful hotel.

Day 2 – Experiencing the first summer vibes in the 718 T Boxster

Waking up to the noise of thousands of birds welcoming the morning, watching the sunset rise over the white city of Aracena and enjoying a fabulous breakfast in the walls of the Convento / Church (our hotel), we are all set to ride open-roof across the next roads layed out for us. A stunning 718 T Boxster in “Indisch Rot” is awaiting us, with yellow brake callipers, seat belts and stitching – quite a colourful contrast which is inviting summer right in.

We chart a 165-kilometre route through the province of Huelva, giving the Porsche 718 T a welcome opportunity to stretch its wheels, so to speak. This time, we wind through sparse forests in the opposite direction, passing Minas de Riotinto before we make our way back to Aracena. We continue on through natural parks and past Zalamea la Real, a village that is home to 3,000 people and a small bullfighting arena. We finish our morning route with a siesta in Valverde del Camino, where 12,000 inhabitants live between the Rio Tinto and Odiel rivers.

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The last 182 kilometres back to Seville

As we leave San Bartolomé de la Torre, the landscape changes: the land becomes more densely populated as we head south, and farming dominates the region. The southernmost point of this final leg – just 30 kilometres or so from the coast – grazes Huelva, the province capital, where the Rio Tinto and Odiel rivers merge and flow into the sea.

The municipality of Niebla, in a hilltop location to the left of the road around 20 kilometres east of Huelva, has 4,000 inhabitants and a fully preserved historic city wall with over 30 towers – of which it is justifiably proud. That means we are just a few kilometres away from Seville. 

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We finish up on the Autovía del Quinto Centenario and across the Guadalquivir river into the city centre – for a second chance to stroll through the historic city.

Videos

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLxtXZ5MKL8

 

PRICE Tag

Porsche is currently selling the 718 Cayman T priced from 63,047 euros in Germany and the 718 Boxster T from 65,070 euros, including value added tax and country-specific equipment. The new models are now available to order in Europe, and other countries with EU emissions legislation.

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