Porsche 718 Boxster and Boxster S
Porsche has released official images and specifications for the new 718 Boxster and 718 Boxster S. The mid-engined sports car is moving up market and getting a power bump in the process. Where previous generations of the Boxster have been Porsche’s entry level model, the roadster is now moving above the Cayman (which is being rebranded as the 718 Cayman) in the model lineup. This also means that the Boxster will now have the same power as the Cayman (so if you want a 718 Cayman read the drivetrain section for the specs that we will also see in the coupe sports car).
As opposed to previous generations the 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman will have the number designation in their model name. Past cars were publicly called the Boxster and Cayman with their numeric designations, such as 986, 987 and 981, being used only internally.
The other huge change is the engine. Since its inception in the mid-90’s the roadster featured a naturally aspirated flat-six engine. The 718 will feature a flat-four engine that is turbocharged and produces more power than the six-cylinder engine that it replaces.
The 718 nameplate was previously the model that followed the 550 Spyder and it was a successful competition machine. The 718 Boxster certainly has huge shoes to fill in living up to its namesake.
At first glance the outside of the 718 Boxster looks much like the outgoing model. Start taking a closer look at it and you start to notice the reworked front fascia. It has a wider appearance and larger air intake openings below the front bumper. This gives it a purposeful and athletic look as do the reworked Bi-Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights.
From the side you still find the large air intakes located behind the door that first appeared in the 981. These intakes are a little more pronounced and now feature two horizontal fins.
From the rear the first thing you notice is the Porsche letter sitting on the strip between the taillights above the 718 Boxster designation. The taillights have been redesigned featuring a darkened look with a center red strip. The entire rear end is finished with the traditional Boxster center exhaust. The dual exhaust along with the rear diffuser lets people know that this roadster is ready to take on any curvy road.
The interior will look familiar to anyone that drives a newer Porsche. Good quality materials are used all around and it gets a few upgrades over the outgoing model, such as the new instrument panel. This includes a white faced center tachometer which highlights the engines RPM and being turbocharged you can now monitor the boost.
The 718 also includes the Porsche Communications Management system. This includes a reworked navigation system with voice support, a 110 watt sound system and the option to add Connect Plus. The option allows for additional on-line content and services.
Located behind the driver is the mid-mounted engine that is easily the biggest news about the 718. The 718 Boxster will now be powered by a flat-four turbocharged motor.
The base model gets a 2.0-liter engine that produces 300 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft. of torque which is available from 1,950 rpm to 4,500 rpm. When equipped with the optional PDK and the Sports Chrono Package the standard car can launch from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds and it can keep going up to 170 mph.
If you opt for the Boxster S you get a 2.5-liter flat-four power plant (same displacement as the first 986 Boxster although it looses two cylinders) that produces 350 horsepower and 309 lb.ft. of torque between 1,950 rpm and 4,500 rpm. This helps the S launch from 0-60 mph in 4 seconds flat when equipped with PDK and the Sports Chrono Package. Flat out the Porsche 718 Boxster can go all the way up to 177 mph.
Of course the move to the four-cylinder engine is one largely made due to stricter government fuel economy regulations. While the final EPA figures have not yet been released, Porsche is claiming that the new engines are 14% more efficient than the outgoing flat-six based in the European tests.
Many would have preferred that the Boxster retained its naturally aspirated flat-six, however this new turbocharged engine offers more power and better performance while being more efficient. Sure the sound won’t be quite the same, but from what we have heard it is still very good. Plus the 718 should be very tuner friendly.
To help get all that power to the rear wheels the 718 comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission. That will give you the most pure driving experience.
If however, you want the fastest possible shifting (or you drive in a crowded city) then the PDK transmission is the better option for you. This version of the Porsche’s dual-clutch transmission offers virtual gears which further improve fuel economy. When you add on the Sports Chrono Package, which now comes with a programmable individual mode as well as Normal, Sport and Sport Plus, it has a Sports Response Button inspired by motorsports. The feature increases the responsiveness of the engine and transmission to assure the best possible acceleration.
The 718 Boxster S rides on standard 19-inch wheels and a 20-inch option is available. The rubber is aided in keeping on the road with the reworked suspension that allows for faster cornering. After all, the well balanced Boxster may have become quick in a straight line, but it was meant to be fast in the corners. The electronic steering has also been re-worked and is now 10 percent more direct than the outgoing version of the 981.
The Porsche Boxster is moving up market ahead of the Cayman, so just what will a new 718 Boxster cost you? The standard car starts at $56,000 which is about $4,000 more than the current Boxster and about $3,000 more than the current Cayman. For those wanting to get the better performance of the S model then it will start at $68,400.
The Porsche 718 Boxster has increased performance over the outgoing model while improving efficiency. The move to a turbocharged flat-four may leave many current Boxster owners wondering if they would ever upgraded to a 718. Having said that, Porsche appears to have made all of the right moves in the change and the 718 Boxster looks like it will be a very good driver’s car.
We also like the move to add an external numeric designation to the Boxster and Cayman. By doing such the company’s traditional sports cars (911, 718 and any future supercars like the 918 Spyder) are better separated from their SUVs and sedans.
The move of the Boxster ahead of the Cayman also means that the roadster will finally get the higher performance that it deserves. It is now like the 911 Carrera Cabriolet is to the 911 Carrera. You will now get the same performance between the Cayman and Boxster, it is more a question of if you want the wind in your hair or if you would rather have the additional structural support of a hardtop.
We can’t wait to get our hands on the 718 and get a feel for how it drives in the real world. While part of us will miss the song of that naturally aspirated flat-six, we can’t wait to see what the tuners do to these new turbocharged cars. Just how long do you think it will be until we see a tuned 400 horsepower Boxster S?