We’ve know it was coming for a very long time. News of the Porsche Boxster and Cayman moving to smaller displacement turbocharged four cylinder flat engines has been one of the worst kept secrets in the industry. Thanks to the good folks at Auto Express we’ve also known it drives ridiculously well for about two months now. This is it, the new Porsche 718 Boxster, and it’s fantastic! Like the 991.2 911 the 718 transitions from NA to Forced Induction in pursuit of improved economy and performance. Power is up and naught to sixty is down to a scant 4 seconds flat in the case of the 718 Boxster S with Sport Chrono package. Yup, the Boxster is as quick as an M4 and will give an RS5 a difficult time. ‘It’s not all about 0-60’ you say? We couldn’t agree more… though having the gold standard of handling provide acceleration brisk enough to punch you in the gut? We’re fine with that :). It wasn’t more than five years ago that you’d have to go with an R8 V10 for this combination of speed and performance and now it’s readily available in a Boxster!
In moving from NA to Turbo Porsche reduced the displacement of the the engine to 2.0L in base trim and 2.5L in S. Power is an even 300 HP for the base and 350 HP for the S and torque arrives quickly and hangs around for some time at 280 LB FT and 309 LB FT respectively from 1,950 rpm to 4500 rpm. Early reviews, like Auto Express linked to above, have been very happy with the tuning Porsche executed on these new turbocharged power plants. Handling has also been praised, just like the 991.2, an unexpected bonus! As with the 991.2 it feels as though many are coming to the new Boxster hoping turbocharging won’t dampen the character of the car and emerge not only confident the Boxster’s soul remains but are also very pleased with handling and performance.
Perhaps the only foible with the Porsche 718 Boxster model launch is some fussy styling elements and the naming convention. We’ve bemoaned BMW’s preference to use extremely long model monikers and a single glance at the back of the Boxster reveals they’re not alone. Porsche also burrowed a play from Ferrari’s playbook with that rear Porsche badging apparently standing out a bit from the body work. It’s a strange, almost messy touch on an otherwise very sculpted rear. Busy is the prevailing vibe around back.
Up front the new Boxster does an excellent job of blending the 981’s sexiness with the crispness of the 991.2’s design. Pencil thin LED DRLs, a few crisp creases following the inside of the headlights to the windshield, and plenty of horizontal slats below the license plate bracket provide a more evolutionary progression to the Boxster design.
Inside? The big news here is Apple CarPlay support and, honestly, the manual continuing to stick around. We fully expect to Porsche to be the very last automaker to phase out NA and manual options from at least some of their range. Audi has such a wonderful engine in the new R8 V10 Plus, but no manual. BMW has such a potent sedan in the M4, but it’s not NA. There’s nothing NA in the Jaguar F-Type lineup, hell or Mercedes’ AMG division. No, Porsche is the last automaker on earth with tons of NA and manual options left – even if the NA cars continue to climb up the product lines into the GT territory, they’re still there :).
Strange naming conventions (why not just call it the 718? and drop the Boxster badging) aside, Porsche continues to prove there is literally no substitute. $56,000 is a significant amount of money in a world full of options like Audi TTS and BMW M2 but neither will handle remotely as well as this car or sound as incredible. Bravo Porsche, while you may not be immune to the trends at hand you’re certainly staying the truest course.