Happy 20th birthday to Porsche’s lovable Boxster roadster. And to mark this auspicious occasion, Porsche is unwrapping a new and improved version it’s calling the 718.
And the really big news about this racy new 718 Boxster is what’s under the hood: A four-cylinder motor.
Gone is the trademark flat-6 engine. In its place is a brand new turbocharged four-cylinder that will offer even more power than the previous ‘six’ and, more important, much-improved fuel efficiency.
While the engines are new, that 718 badge isn’t. Back in the late 1950s, Porsche built a handful of bare-bones racecars called the 718 RSK, powered by a flat-4 engine. One sold recently at auction in Florida for a non-trivial $3.3 million.
1959 Porsche 718 RSK
For the technophiles among you, the base 718 Boxster will feature a new 2-liter turbo-4 cranking out an impressive 300 horsepower. The more potent 718 Boxster S will have a 2.5-liter version developing 350 horseys.
That’s a 35 horsepower boost for both engines compared to the previous flat-6 models, and a solid 14 per cent improvement in fuel economy.
But the real improvement here is in torque which, as all sports car lovers know, is what delivers the real fun in driving.
So, the new 2.0-liter puts out a muscley 280 lb-ft of twist available from just 1,950rpm. That’s a 74 lb-ft, or 36 percent increase compared to the previous ‘six’. The new 2.5-liter in the 718 Boxster S cranks out an even more impressive 309 lb-ft.
In the new S, that’s good for 0-to-60mph sprinting in just 4.0 seconds, while the base 718 Boxster will hit 60 in 4.5 seconds.
To add even more driving fun to these new Boxsters, Porsche has retuned the suspension to enhance cornering performance, sharpened the car’s electric-assist steering by 10 per cent, and beefed-up the brakes.
If the previous Boxster was a blast to drive, this new version should be the equivalent of a two-seater go-kart.
Naturally, if you are going to improve the car mechanically, you’d better make it look different. So while this new 718 Boxster doesn’t look radically changed, there are just enough visual nips and tucks to impress the guys at the Saturday morning Cars and Coffees.
Up front there are bigger, air-gulping cooling intakes and redesigned Bi-Xenon headlights – LEDs are an option. Along the sides, there are new sill extensions, bigger intakes and new-style 19-inch and optional 20-inch alloys.
Perhaps the biggest change comes at the rear where there’s a new inset strip between the redesigned rear lights which now feature three-dimensional LED technology.
You’ll have to wait till June before you can get your hands on these new 718 Boxsters, which will have MSRP stickers of $57,050 for the entry model, and $69,450 for the 718 Boxster S. That’s an increase of $3,900 and $4,500 over the previous models. Naturally, 718 versions of the hardtop Cayman shouldn’t be far behind.