- Published: Friday, 19 February 2016 12:35
Downsized turbo engines define the Boxster’s future. And make it faster than ever
THE PORSCHE BOXSTER has been one of CarBuyer’s favourite cars of all time, so whenever a new one comes out it’s always a reason for moist underpants in the office.
This one looks more than a little tweaked, too. It’s got new engines, new looks, and even a new name. Here’s everything you need to know about the 718 Boxster and 718 Boxster S.
Why the name change?
Well, the “718” tag harkens to an old four-cylinder racing car, so Porsche thought it would be appropriate now that the Boxster is switching to turbo flat-four engines from six cylinder power. Also, all the Porsche sportscars have numbers: 911, 918 Spyder. Then there’s the 919 Hybrid racing car. It would have been illogical and un-German to leave out the Boxster. Expect the Cayman to get the “718” badge, too.
Isn’t this just a facelift?
If so it’s a very heavy one. The car looks way different now, with a more sculpted front end. It has edgier lines and new Xenon headlights and LED daytime running lamps. Full LED headlamps are an option.
The other end has been visually widened with an accent strip — that’s the bit with the “Porsche” badge on it — and they’ve added LED lamps with a 3D-effect, like the ones on the 911.
As for the bodywork, only the bootlid, the roof and the windscreen were carried over. Porsche says the 718 looks more masculine than the old Boxster, but if you ask us only dingbats thought the last car was girly.
What about the new engines?
Ah, we come to the heart of the matter. Let’s start with the Boxster. That gets a 2.0-litre flat-four (or horizontally-opposed four or “boxer” four if you like) with a single turbo. It’s good for 300hp, a 35hp gain over the previous Boxster. The boost to peak torque is more impressive, with 380Nm (or 100Nm more) arriving at just 1,950rpm.
If you specify the seven-speed twin-clutch “PDK” transmission and the Sports Chrono Package, your Boxster will crack 100km/h in 4.7 seconds. That’s a substantial improvement — it used to take 5.5 seconds.
Now to finish that symphony with all that time saved! What about the Boxster S?
Get this: the Boxster S now does 0 to 100km/h in 4.2 seconds. Yep, a four-cylinder Boxster is quicker than the first Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder. For that you can credit the new 2.5-litre, 350hp engine. It, too, has a single turbo, but it’s a tricky one with variable turbine geometry; basically it’s a clever way of getting the turbo to spool up faster. Result? 420Nm from 1,900rpm.
Both engines come with PDK as standard, and both use less fuel than the previous six-cylinder ones. That’s progress for you.
Any progress on the chassis front?
Plenty, it seems. Porsche says the suspension’s been “completely retuned”, while the steering is 10 percent quicker. Add the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) system and you get electronic dampers and suspension lowered by 10mm, but if you’re truly hardcore there’s a new PASM sport chassis option that’s 20mm lower. It shouldn’t loosen your dental fillings, though. Porsche says it’s worked hard to broaden the gap between comfort and sporty settings.
It is, and so is the Sport Response Button. It’s inspired by racing. Press it and the 718 primes itself for 20 seconds for maximum acceleration. Handy for battle. Or overtaking.
I’m sold! When can I get one?
Both cars are expected here in the middle of the year, so you needn’t wait long.
And, er, how much?
Pricing starts at $258,788 for the 718 Boxster, while the 718 Boxster S costs $316,588. That’s a hefty $57,800 gap, and if you want to actually drive them, you’ll still have to spring for a COE, alas.
Hmmm… that seems pricier somehow.
It is. Convertibles tend to cost more than coupes (witness the 911 range) but the Boxster/Cayman pair were always an exception somehow. With the 718 series, Porsche is adjusting to the norm. Sadly, not by dropping the Cayman’s prices but by raising the Boxsters!
Look at it this way, a 718 Boxster S is still much cheaper than the Gallardo was!
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