It is hard to believe the Porsche Boxster is already 20 years old, but it is, and in that time Porsche reckons it has stood for "timeless roadster design with two seats, a clearly defined mid-engine concept and a classic soft top".
Not much to argue with there, given the Boxster has delivered handsomely on all those fronts. "The Boxster is the car that really made me want to get into automotive design," says Mitja Borkert from Porsche Exterior Design.
Now, with the release of the new 718 Boxster, Porsche has moved to emphasise this strength of character with even sharper design cues, a more precise appearance and more muscular styling. Larger wheels, short overhangs and a tougher appearance have really muscled up the new Boxster.
"Our main objective was to make it look even more modern, more athletic," Borket says. "We sent the Boxster to the gym if you will, to gain an even more athletic appearance, but our intrinsic design DNA remains vital."
Only the boot lid, windscreen and soft top remain unchanged from the outgoing model, so significant is the 2016 redesign.
"The Boxster must remain instantly recognisable as a Porsche though," says Borket. "As designers, it is our challenge to develop that language further."
As such, the design team worked hard to keep the basic Boxster styling, but muscle it up a little without making the Boxster look physically bigger. The requisite boost in performance (read all the tech specs by clicking the links below) has been matched therefore by a low side profile, serious-looking air intakes and sharp styling no matter which angle you’re looking at the new Boxster from.
The front end of the new 718 Boxster looks lower and tougher, highlighted by the new bi-xenon headlights with integrated LED daytime running lights (DRLs). The headlights are larger than the old model too. LED headlights with four-point DRLs - similar to the Macan - are available as an all-new option.
Much larger cooling intakes at the front-end hint at the increased performance potential on offer from the new turbo four-cylinder engines, and are equal parts style and substance. The front fenders have been lifted through the middle section, which gives the front end a more distinctive appearance.
The new Boxster points are most obvious from side on, with new quarter panels front and rear, new side sills, doors that are devoid of add-on handle shells and tow louvres in each of the air intakes forward of the rear axle. The intakes are as functional as they are aggressive, feeding the engine and the intercooler.
The external rear view mirrors have been redesigned, with new mounting points, and the rear quarters with their lower profile design emphasise the physical width of the new Boxster. There’s a new range of wheel options available for buyers too. The 718 Boxster is equipped standard with 18-inch wheels, while 718 Boxster S is fitted with 19-inch wheels. Optional 20-inch wheels are available to really fill the guards out. Wider cross section tyres help to deliver even more lateral grip and dynamics.
Design tweaks are rounded out by the sharper rear-end styling, all-new tail lights and new, three-dimensional Porsche badge at the rear. The tail lights are both beautiful and functional, with the three dimensional technology visible through the glass especially at night. Reverse lights are integrated into the four lower brake spots.
"We wanted to give the rear of the car a more sophisticated appearance," says Borket.
The rear wing is now wider and has been aerodynamically optimised but also fits neatly into the rear of the Boxster. The drive unit for the wing itself has also been redesigned and it allows for adjustments for optimal aero balance with the roof up or down. With the roof up, the wing can extend up to 45mm and with the roof down, the wing will extend to 55mm. The centrally mounted exhaust outlet, a Boxster signature, remains. Boxster S gets dual tailpipes.
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.