The Boxster has always had a special place in my heart.
I remember the feeling of excitement and anticipation I felt when the company produced the concept car back in the early 90’s. It was a genuine throwback to the Speedsters of the 50’s, but with all the promise of a 911.
In the twenty years since its début, the Porsche Boxster has gone on to established itself as the benchmark roadster. Today, a new generation of the mid-engined two-seater has been unveiled, powered by a newly developed range of flat four-cylinder ‘boxer’ engines with turbo-charging. At the same time, a new designation is introduced; 718 Boxster and 718 Boxster S.
These new models continue the tradition of the Porsche 718 mid-engined sports cars that won numerous races in the 1950s and 1960s, powered by four-cylinder ‘boxer’ engines. It also sits neatly beside the established sports car icons with numbered identities – 718 Boxster, 911 Carrera, 918 Spyder, 919 Hybrid.
More powerful yet more fuel-efficient, the centrepiece of the new model series is the 718 Boxster which develops 300hp from its turbocharged 2.0-litre engine. The 718 Boxster S has a 2.5-litre engine, which develops 350hp, its greater power literally boosted by its use of a turbocharger with variable turbine geometry. In fact, Porsche is now the only manufacturer to offer this technology in production cars with petrol engines, both in the 911 Turbo and 718 Boxster S.
Complementing the more powerful engines is new suspension tuning and uprated brakes, ensuring the characteristically dynamic and emotive Boxster driving experience remains distinctive.
The exterior design of the new model line has also advanced comprehensively. The vehicle has been completely revised, except for the luggage compartment lids, the windscreen and the powered convertible roof. Inside, a newly designed dash panel frames the cockpit. In addition, the latest generation of Porsche Communication Management (PCM) with state-of-the-art touch-screen and mobile phone preparation included as standard. The navigation module is available as an option.
The launch of the new 718 Boxster represents a return by Porsche to building sports cars with flat four-cylinder ‘boxer’ engines. Four-cylinder flat engines have a long tradition at Porsche – and they have enjoyed incredible success. In the late 1950s, the 718 – a successor to the legendary Porsche 550 Spyder – represented the highest configuration level of the four-cylinder flat engine. Whether it was competing at the 12-hour race in Sebring in 1960 or at the European Hill Climb Championship that ran between 1958 and 1961, the Porsche 718 prevailed against numerous competitors with its powerful and efficient four-cylinder flat engine. The 718 took first place in 1959 and 1960 at the famous Italian Targa Florio race in Sicily. At the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 1958, the 718 RSK with its 142-hp four-cylinder engine scored a class victory.
The 718 Boxster, with the right options, can sprint from 0 – 62 mph in 4.7 seconds. The equivalent 718 Boxster S accomplishes this in 4.2 seconds (0.6 seconds faster). The top speed of the 718 Boxster is 170 mph, and the 718 Boxster S now has a top speed of 177 mph.
Porsche would like you to know that these new engines are far more fuel-efficient and better for the environment. Some people (the purists) will be spitting feathers over the launch of the Boxster & Cayman models without six cylinders. All I know is that the tuners will be squeezing huge amounts of power out of these engines by plugging in a laptop and mucking about with ECU maps. Add to that a sports exhaust and one or two other minor modifications, and you could easily have a Boxster with 400hp!
The 718 Boxster is now wider and lower, subtle changes, but enough to distinguish itself at first glance. The 718 Boxster is fitted with the new design of the Bi-Xenon headlights with integrated LED daytime running lights. LED headlights with four-point daytime running lights are available as an option.
The rear of the 718 Boxster has an accent strip with integrated ‘Porsche’ badge between the tail lights. The tail lights were completely re-designed, and are distinguished by three-dimensional LED technology and four-point brake lights.
Porsche claims that the car’s driving dynamics follow in the tracks of the original 718. The re-tuned chassis enhances cornering performance, and the power steering system is configured to be ten per cent more direct. This makes the 718 Boxster even more agile as well as easier to steer, both on circuits and in everyday traffic.
As in the 911 models, the optional Sport Chrono Package now comprises the Individual programme in addition to the three settings Normal, Sport and Sport Plus. In combination with the PDK transmission, the Sport Response Button is added, which is in the middle of the Mode switch. Inspired by motor sport, it enables the driver to get the maximum responsiveness of the car for 20 seconds.
The new Porsche 718 Boxster and 718 Boxster S are available to order today from Porsche Centres in the UK. First deliveries will be in the Spring.
The 718 Boxster is priced from £41,739.00 RRP and the 718 Boxster S from £50,695.00 RRP.
Customers will also be invited to explore the potential of their new car, and further develop their own skills behind the wheel, by participating in a bespoke driving experience around the tracks at the recently extended Porsche Experience Centre, Silverstone.
I doubt I’ll get an invite, I’ll have to pop along to my local dealership and take a test drive with a man in a suit!