A new name, less cylinders, and the addition of forced induction as standard. Is this still the same mid-engined Porsche roadster?
We’ll deal with the name first, as that’s potentially the least contentious element here. Back in the 1950s and 1960s, Porsche produced a number of mid-engined sportscars, that were powered by four-cylinder boxer engines, wearing the 718 badge. So whilst there’s an obvious heritage angle to play on instantly, Porsche also argues it brings the Boxster into line with other models like the 911 Carrera and 918 Hybrid. Which leaves us wondering what numbers they’ll pick for the Macan and Cayenne… It does make things a bit of a mouthful, along with adding a fair bit of nomenclature to the back end. Luckily it’s a no-cost option to delete it all should you not want all that lettering.
In keeping with established 718 tradition, the new Boxster loses two cylinders to become a flat-four, after two decades of being powered by a classic Porsche flat-six motor. Does it matter? Well, the standard 718 Boxster features a 2.0-litre unit making 300 bhp, whilst the 718 Boxster S engine grows to 2.5-litres and 350 bhp. Performance is improved with a 0-62 mph time of 4.7 seconds for the Boxster, and 4.2 seconds for the Boxster S. Decreases of 0.8 and 0.6 seconds respectively over the previous model, but only if you specify the PDK dual-clutch gearbox and the Sport Chrono pack. In case you’re wondering, those two options add over £3k to the price tag alone. Top speed is 170 mph for the regular car, with the S adding an additional 7 mph.
Perhaps you’ll be less concerned about money due to the 718’s reliance on turbocharging. Yes, like the latest 911 Carrera and virtually everything else rolling off a production line now, the newest Boxster features a turbo to boost power. The flip side is (official) combined fuel economy figures of 40.9 mpg for the Boxster, or 38.7 mpg for the S. That last number being the same as a Hyundai i30 Turbo, don’t you know. It does mean fuel economy has increased by over 12% from its flat-six, naturally aspirated, predecessors but was mpg ever a major factor for someone buying a Boxster? Styling wise there are minimal tweaks – this is Porsche after all – with the headlights and tail section being the most obvious changes. Whilst the Boxster S promo-car may be painted Lava Orange, it’s not quite enough to win us over here at ESM. With DRLs in both the headlight units and front bumpers, there’s a slight whiff of ‘eBay special’ about the front end, whilst at the rear it looks like someone pinched the clay styling model between their fingers. It could certainly be neater, as could the optional ‘GT sport’ steering wheel with exposed screws.
Prices for the 718 Boxster start at £41,739, whilst the Boxster S kicks off at £50,695. That looks big money on paper, but it’s worth remembering a fully-optioned Volkswagen Golf R hatchback can nudge that £40k barrier. Speaking of options, we played around the Porsche configurator (it’s already live, how very efficient) and came back with a Boxster S priced at almost £64,000. Be careful with the option packs is our advice.
First deliveries will be in the Spring, and you can head along to your nearest Porsche Centre to place an order now. Just remember; you don’t really need to spend £248 on a colour-coded key, and matching leather pouch, to really enjoy a roadster. We’re pretty sure the original 718 didn’t have that as an option and it seemed to do ok.