Rumors flew for years that Porsche’s Boxster and Cayman would getturbocharged four-cylinder power at some point in the future. And to place the cars in line with the brand’s historic mid-engined, four-cylinder racing machines, Zuffenhausen announced late last year that the new cars henceforth would be known as the 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman.
And furthermore, that the cars would switch places in the company’s lineup, with the hardtop Cayman anchoring the bottom end of Porsche’s sports-car range, while the convertible Boxster would command a price premium. We now know the price of the Boxster—although not yet its premium, since the figures for the 718 Cayman are not yet out. The base 718 Boxster will start at $57,050, while the Boxster S will begin at $69,450. That’s an increase of $3900 and $4500 over the previous car. The new version arrives in June.
Two Fewer Holes, Portlier Torque Curve
So what do you get for your extra outlay? To start, 35 extra horsepower. The new 2.0-liter turbocharged flat-four makes an even 300 horsepower, giving it near parity with the outgoing Boxster S, while the incoming 718 Boxster S gets a 0.5-liter displacement bump and a variable-vane turbocharger, with the result being 350 horsepower. But the bigger news is in the torque curves. The old 2.7-liter flat-six demanded revs to make power. Its 2.0-liter replacement makes 74 lb-ft more than did the old six (a total of 280) and does it between 1950 and 4500 rpm. The 2.5 makes its peak torque over the same range, only in this hotter application, it’s churning out 309 lb-ft, the exact same figure as the Boxster Spyder’s 3.8-liter six.
Porsche claims the new Boxster with a PDK gearbox and the Sport Chrono package will sprint to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, while an identically optioned S will do it in 4.0. The last PDK-equipped Boxster S we tested got to 60 in 4.2 seconds. Porsche claims the new one is a half-second quicker—and tends to be conservative with its numbers. Might the new Boxster S hit 60 in 3.5 seconds? The last 911 Carrera GTS we tested managed only 3.6 to 60. The new top speeds increase as well, with the 718 Boxster capable of 170 mph, while the S will make it all the way to 177. Porsche has yet to publish EPA fuel-economy figures, but it claims the new engines are 14 percent more efficient on the European driving cycle.
The 718s still don’t get the 911’s seven-speed manual transmission, but they do come with a six-speed manual. As before, Porsche’s excellent PDK transmission is available. The dual-clutch automatic now features “virtual gears,” which means it sometimes will lightly engage both clutches to activate second and third gear simultaneously under minimal engine load so as to split the difference in ratios for maximum efficiency.
Also making the leap to the 718 from the previous car is Porsche Active Suspension Management, which drops the ride height by 0.4 inch. An additional 0.4-inch drop is available with the selection of the PASM Sport Suspension, which will be available only on the Boxster S. Porsche claims the retuned PASM will offer a broader spread between sportiness and comfort, depending on the settings selected.
Porsche’s long-running Sport Chrono option adds an “Individual” program on top of the now-familiar Sport and Sport Plus settings. PDK cars equipped with Sport Chrono also get a Sport Response button to further maximize accelerative brio. Zuffenhausen’s latest version of its touchscreen Porsche Communication Management infotainment system is standard, but those who’d like to add navigation and online services will pay extra.
Like the new 2017 911, the 718 is a comprehensive update, rather than an entirely new automobile. Beyond the numerals on the tail, one can tell a 718 Boxster from its predecessor by clocking the strip between the taillights in the rear. The front-end revision is subtler, with the biggest cue being the larger, horizontally straked lower air intakes. LED headlights with Porsche’s now-signature four-point DRLs are now an option. Although the overall look is evolutionary, Porsche claims that every panel save for the hood and decklid has been changed.
Naturally, we’re looking forward to driving the new Boxster. The car has been a perennial 10Best Cars winner, and we’d go so far as to say it’s one of the most enjoyable vehicles available at any price. Based on our experience with the new 911, the power delivery should be excellent. We just hope it doesn’t sound like a 914 with a Subaru conversion. Turbo Fuhrmann, however? We’d be fine just with that noise. Yes, that’d do quite nicely.
source: caranddriver.com By DAVEY G. JOHNSON