Competes with: BMW Z4, Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class, Chevrolet Corvette
Looks like: A more muscular take on the Boxster
Drivetrains: 300-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder or 350-hp, turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder (S models); six-speed manual or dual-clutch automatic transmission; rear-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: June 2016
Starting prices: $57,050 (718 Boxster), $69,450 (718 Boxster S)
The Porsche Boxster, which has featured a flat-six-cylinder boxer engine since its introduction in 1996, has given up on the traditional engine arrangement with the announcement of the arrival of a new pair of turbocharged flat-four-cylinder engines. Along with the new motors come styling updates inside and out, and a new name: The two-seat droptop sports car will now be known as the 2017 Porsche 718 Boxster and 718 Boxster S for the more powerful version.
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The new 718 Boxster is immediately identifiable despite its resemblance to the outgoing model. The biggest difference is the larger air intakes that feature multiple fins and stretch the car’s width. The air intakes, which are under the bumper, make the 718 look much wider than the outgoing Boxster, and they are accented with the distinctive four-point LED daytime running lamps that have become a Porsche signature. The side-mounted air intakes are also larger and deeper, stretching downward to meet the bottom of the doors.
The windshield, folding top and trunk lid are unchanged, but the back end gets a dark taillight treatment and a straked logo panel spanning the area under the trunk lid. The overall look is more muscular and wedgy than the previous model.
Inside, the new 718 gets a mildly revised instrument panel and console, bringing a cleaner look, while a new Porsche Communication Management multimedia system is standard. PCM allows for smartphone integration and can be outfitted with an optional navigation system.
Under the Hood
The biggest changes from the outgoing Boxster to the 718 Boxster are under the hood, or more precisely, under the engine cover behind the passengers. The mid-engine layout is, of course, retained, but replacing the flat-six-cylinder engines are a new turbocharged 2.0-liter flat-four-cylinder in the 718 Boxster and a turbo 2.5-liter in the 718 Boxster S.
The base engine makes 300 horsepower and 280 pounds-feet of torque, and shaves 0.7 seconds off the 718 Boxster’s zero-to-60-mph times, according to Porsche. In the S model, the bigger 2.5-liter engine makes 350 hp and 309 pounds-feet of torque for an acceleration improvement of 0.5 seconds to 60 mph.
Both engines have seen a 14 percent improvement in fuel economy (in the European cycle), according to Porsche, but U.S. fuel economy numbers are not yet released.
A retuned sport suspension is also present, with a retuned electric steering system that the company says is more direct. Porsche Active Suspension Management is again optional, and drops the ride stance by 10 millimeters on the 718 and 20 millimeters on the 718 Boxster S. The optional Sport Chrono Package now includes an Individual setting in addition to that Normal, Sport and Sport Plus settings, with automatic transmission-equipped cars getting a Sport Response Button that Porsche says sharpens responsiveness of both engine and transmission behavior. Nineteen-inch wheels are standard, with optional 20-inch rims available.
The new 718 Boxster and 718 Boxster S are now on sale in the U.S., but they’re not expected to arrive at dealers until June. Starting price for the base car is $57,050 including a destination fee, rising to $69,450 for the S model.