2015 was a hard year for the Porsche purist. First, the company killed the brilliant naturally aspirated boxer six in the 911. It was replaced by a turbocharged boxer six that makes more power and torque and consumes less fuel but has undoubtedly lost the lovely top end rush of the old engine. Now, 20 years after the debut of the original, Porsche has unveiled the Boxster replacement and it gets a new name - the 718 Boxster. It may look like a mild revision but the 718 Boxster and Boxster S pack a very big change. The horizontally opposed six-cylinder we so loved has been replaced with brand new 2.0 and 2.5-litre engines as against the old 2.7-litre and 3.4-litre six-cylinder engines respectively. The new engines are still horizontally opposed but now have just four cylinders. Naturally, power and torque are both up but we can't help but feel that this is the end of an era.
Aggressive new style and downsized but more powerful flat four cylinder engines make up the new 718 Boxster
Still, there is some heritage behind this engine configuration as well thanks to the successful 718 race car that won the Targa Florio in 1959 and 1960.Both engines produce 35PS more than before and considerably more torque. The base 718 Boxster uses the smaller 2.0-liter, flat four-cylinder turbocharged engine. It generates 300PS and 380Nm, which is 100Nm more than before and peak torque is available all the way from 1,950rpm to 4,500rpm. Porsche claims a 4.7s run from 0-100kmph when combined with the optional PDK dual-clutch transmission and the Sport Chrono package. Top speed is 275kmph.
The rear end looks particularly tasty thanks to the new line between the redesigned tail lamps that houses the Porsche badge
The 718 Boxster S boasts 350PS 420Nm from its 2.5-litre, flat four-cylinder turbocharged engine. That's a jump of 60Nm from the previous 3.4-litre engine. Like the base Boxster, peak torque here is also available from low in the rev range, 1,900rpm to 4,500rpm. In the S version, the turbocharger uses variable turbine geometry, a technology Porsche says no one else uses in a production petrol engine. Equipped with PDK and the Sport Chrono pack Porsche claims a 0-100kmph run in just 4.2s and a top speed of 285kmph.
The 718 models internationally come with a six-speed manual transmission as standard but we expect the India spec cars to come only with the 7-speed PDK dual clutch automatic. Porsche says chassis revisions have been made too, with reworked suspension that has been tuned to 'offer an even broader spread between ride comfort suitable for long road trips and stiffness necessary for spirited driving'. Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) is offered as an option and that drops ground clearance by 10mm. Porsche is also offering PASM Sport suspension as an option for the first time on the Boxster S that further reduces ground clearance by 20mm. The Boxster's electric steering system is now 10 percent more direct, which improves both agility as well as ease of driving in city. The Sport Chrono pack mentioned earlier offers Normal, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual modes. In cars equipped with PDK, a Sport Response button sharpens the responsiveness of the engine and transmission to offer the hardest possible acceleration.
Visually, the new 718s feature immediately identifiable design cues. The front looks wider and meaner thanks to larger air intakes and the optional LED headlamps in these images that feature four point DRLs just like on the 918 Spyder. The side is instantly identifiable by the large air intake that feeds the mid-rear mounted motor. At the rear, there's a new strip with an integrated badge that sits between the redesigned tail lamps. The cabin is familiar but with a new steering wheel that incorporates the drive mode rotary button. In all, the 718 looks mean and pretty awesome to our eyes.
A new 918 Spyder style steering wheel in the otherwise familiar cabin
Expect the 718 Cayman and 718 Cayman S to follow soon with similar upgrades and perhaps a bit more power.