The rebranded Porsche 718 Boxster and 718 Boxster S were revealed this morning sporting more powerful new four-cylinder engines, and significant revisions both outside and in.
However, Australian buyers will pay steeper prices for the privilege when the range launches in mid-2016. The entry prices are up by between $8400 and $12,300.
As we already knew, the headline news is the fitment of two new mid-mounted flat-four turbo engines which, it turns out, offer significantly more power and greater economy than the flat-sixes they replace.
The addition of forced-induction brings the Boxster (and will soon bring the MY16 Cayman coupe) into line with the new 911 range, reviewed here.
The Boxster gets a 2.0-litre unit with a healthy 220kW and 380Nm (available between 1950 and 4500rpm). This is 25kW/100Nm up in the old 2.7-litre atmo six, available at lower engine speeds to improve tractability.
The Boxster S gets a 2.5-litre turbo unit with 257kW and a sizeable 420Nm between 1900 and 4500rpm, up 25kW/60Nm. Both engines come standard with a six-speed manual gearbox, with the PDK dual-clutch auto an option.
The new engines mean the Boxster (in faster PDK guise with Sport Chrono’s launch control) dashes from 0-100km/h in 4.7 seconds, down 0.8s. The Boxster S in the same configuration is now 0.6s faster to 100km/h, given it takes only 4.2s.
As you’d expect, the flat-fours significantly cut fuel use, with the Boxster’s claimed NEDC combined-cycle figure 6.9 litres per 100km (down 1.0L/100km) and the Boxster S managing 7.3L/100km (down from 8.2L/100km).
The wholesale makeover of the Boxster — heralding the shift from ‘981’ to ‘718’ designation — naturally brings a revised chassis tune too, said to bring about even sharper cornering performance, if that’s actually feasible.
The electromechanical steering system is configured to be 10 per cent more direct, too. The optional Porsche Active Suspension Management system on the Boxster S can now drop the ride height by 20mm.
The popular Sport Chrono package gets a new Individual mode in addition to the existing Normal, Sport and Sport Plus engine, gearbox and suspension modes. With the PDK, there’s also a new race-inspired Sport Response button. We look forward to trying that one….
Porsche has also added stronger brakes.
The two-seat cabin is familiar Boxster, but upgraded with new elements included in the instrument panel. The new-generation Porsche Communication Management unit sports standard sat-nav and Sound Package Plus with 110 watts.
A Connect Plus module is available as an extension of the navigation module and allows various iPhone functions and apps to be used in the PCM via Apple Car Play. Auto-dimming mirrors and digital radio are also standard on Australian models.
The design of the new model line is apparently “comprehensively advanced”. Porsche says the roadster has been completely revised except for the luggage compartment lids, the windscreen and the convertible top. The 718’s design is familiar, in a typically evolutionary manner.
The front has a wider and more masculine appearance. The much larger cooling air intakes at the front are billed as “a distinct exterior expression of the new turbo engine concept”. The front end of the 718 Boxster is rounded out by the new design of the bi-xenon headlights with integrated LED daytime running lights featuring Porsche Dynamic Light System (PDLS), standard on all Australian models.
From the side view, identifying features of the new model line include the new, independently styled rear side panel and sill. Larger air inlet panels with two fins feature. The doors are now designed without door handle recess covers. New 19-inch wheels are standard on the 718 Boxster S while 20-inch wheels are available as an option.
The redesigned rear body of the 718 Boxster is intended to have a wider look – due in part to the accent strip with integrated Porsche badge between the tail lights. The entirely redeveloped tail lights are distinguished by their three-dimensional LEDs and four-point brake lights.
What’s in a name?
The Porsche 718 was a mid-engined race car that won numerous races back in the 1950s and 1960s, among them the legendary Targa Florio and Le Mans.
The connection? The super-lightweight open-top ran four-cylinder flat engines.
Australian buyers will pay for the privileges when the car launches in mid-2016.
The 718 Boxster and Boxster S models will be priced from $113,100 and $143,400 respectively, both plus on-road costs. These figures represent price increases of $8400 and $12,300 respectively.
Order books are now open.