Two decades after Porsche released the successful Boxster, Stuttgart is not only changing the name of the series to 718 Boxster with the updated model, but also what powers it with the introduction of turbocharged flat-fours.
From this generation - or rather, this model, since it’s not entirely new- and onwards, Porsche’s entry-level Boxster roadster and Cayman coupe will bear the numeric designation 718, as a nod to the four-cylinder-powered 718 mid-engine sports cars that won numerous races back in the 1950s and 1960s.
The new 718 Boxster will be revealed at the Geneva Motor Show in the beginning of March, possibly joined by the 718 Cayman at Porsche’s booth.
At the heart of the new 718 models is Porsche’s newly designed turbocharged flat-four engine, available in two displacements, at 2.0-liters and 2.5-liters. The same units should eventually make their way into the Macan SUV.
In the base 718 Boxster, the 2.0-liter unit produces 300PS (296hp) and 380Nm (280 lb-ft) of peak torque available from 1,950 rpm to 4,500 rpm, representing gains of 35hp and 100Nm (74 lb-ft) respectively over the naturally-aspirated 2.7-liter flat-six it replaces. When combined with the optional PDK dual-clutch transmission and the Sport Chrono package, the base 718 Boxster sprints to 100km/h in 4.7 seconds, shaving 0.8 seconds from its predecessor, while topping out at 275km/h (171mph).
The 718 Boxster S gets the larger displacement 2.5-liter four featuring a turbocharger with a variable turbine geometry that’s rated at 350PS (345hp) and 420Nm (310 lb-ft) from 1,900 rpm to 4,500 rpm, offering an increase of 35hp and 60Nm (44 lb-ft) respectively over the 3.4-liter naturally-aspirated flat-six of the previous Boxster S. According to Porsche, when paired to the PDK transmission and the Sport Chrono kit, this model hits 100km/h (62mph) in 4.2 seconds (0.6 seconds faster) and reaches a top speed of 285km/h (177mph).
The new engines are not only more powerful, but also more efficient with Porsche claiming fuel economy improvements of up to 13 per cent.
Both versions come with a standard six-speed manual, with Porsche adding that the updated and optional PDK dual-clutch transmission now features the brand’s “fuel-saving virtual gears” that allows the system to partially engage two adjacent gears to create an intermediate gear to further improve fuel efficiency at cruising speeds.
Porsche says it has also modified the chassis with a re-tuned suspension to accommodate the new engines and keep its weight distribution, and a new electro-mechanical power steering that is now “10% more direct”. Those looking for better handling, can opt for the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) that includes a 10mm reduction in ride height.
On the design front, Porsche says that the 718 Boxster “was completely revised except for the luggage compartment lids, the windscreen and the convertible top”, though, you might be hard pressed to tell all the changes without actually comparing it with the outgoing Boxster. On the outside, the 718 variant looks sharper and has more contemporary details, like the new head- and tail-lamp fixtures, while inside, the Germans gave it a revised steering wheel and the latest gen of their PCM infotainment system, complete with a new touchscreen.
In the States, the new 718 Boxster models will arrive in showrooms in June, with the base model priced from $56,000 and the ‘S’ variant from $68,400, excluding the $1,050 destination charge.