You probably gathered this from the title, but the importance of this move simply cannot be overstated. Is it as big a deal as the 911 Carrera range going turbo? Depends which way you look at it.
Certainly, the effect on noise will be a lot more pronounced; there’s the same exhaust note-sapping presence of a turbocharger (only one turbo however, unlike the twin-turbo Carrera engines), but more importantly we’re dropping two cylinders here. A four-pot is never going to sound as good as a six-pot, and no amount of exhaust trickery can get around that. Then again, the 911 has the burden of a long and illustrious history on its shoulders, something the Boxster doesn’t have to deal with. Fiddle with the recipe, and you won’t get quite the same anger from the purists.
The Boxster is no longer just the Boxster; it’s now the ‘718 Boxster’. Why? Well, perhaps to put a positive spin on all this emissions and economy-led downsizing, Porsche has prefixed the Boxster’s name with 718, the designation given to a four-cylinder racing car the company competed with between 1957 and 1962 (see below).
This is something that was announced a few months ago, along with the news that the Cayman will get the same number prefix. The whole four-pot thing is a bit of a tenuous link, and I suspect most people will just shorten to ‘Boxster’ and ‘Cayman’, rendering the prefix a bit pointless.
What Porsche has taken away in displacement and cylinders, it’s given back with more power and more torque. The base 2.0-litre 718 Boxster puts out 296bhp and 280lb ft of torque, representing a 25bhp and 66lb ft increase over the old 2.7-litre six. The 2.5-litre version in the S also has a 25bhp increase over its predecessor (the 3.4) with a total of 345bhp, with the 310lb ft torque figure representing a more modest 37lb ft boost.
Both are flat-fours - so they will at least sound a little more interesting than an inline-four - and both are powered by a single, variable geometry turbocharger.
Economy has increased significantly, as you’d expect, with the standard car up 5.1mpg to 40.9mpg, and the 2.5-litre in the S getting a 4.3mpg bump to 38.7mpg. Both figures are for the PDK auto models.
With more power comes better performance. With the PDK ‘box and Sport Chrono Package, you’ll get the 718 Boxster from 0-62mph in 4.7 seconds (a 0.8sec improvement), with the equivalent S doing the same in 4.2 seconds (0.6sec quicker than before). Find yourself an empty runway or a nice bit of derestricted Autobahn, and it’s possible to hit 170mph in the Boxster, and 177mph in the Boxster S.
It’s only a matter of time before the facelifted Cayman arrives - expect it to be at Geneva with the Boxster. Porsche has previously confirmed that the cars will have the same engines, and the same power output. This is a departure from the firm’s previous method of positioning the Cayman ahead of the Boxster in terms of power. The Cayman used to be more expensive too, but that’s set to change, with the Boxster being the pricier of the two. Makes sense giving the complexities of having a folding roof, when you think of it.
Porsche hasn’t made a car with a four-cylinder engine since the 968, which went out of production in 1995. To go back to the last time Porsche made something with a flat-four, you have to go back even further to the 914, which stopped being made in 1976. Although if you want to be picky, the flat-four powered 912E was also sold in the US for a short time in 1976.
With all this talk of new engines, it’s easy to forget about the fact that the mechanical changes are part of a facelift. It also doesn’t help that this is a typical Porsche facelift, which means that the changes aren’t easy to spot. We’ll let you try and spot the difference between the old and new cars above (the new one’s on the right, and no, “one’s red and one’s blue” is not a valid answer).
At the rear, the changes are more obvious, with a new diffuser element and a repositioning of the ‘Porsche’ and ‘Boxster’ script. We rather like the way Porsche is integrated into the ‘accent strip’ below the spoiler.
We all know how bonkers used Porsche prices are. We have values of old air-cooled 911s launching into the stratosphere, Cayman GT4s being pushed over the £100,000 mark by desperate buyers who missed out on buying one new, and if you want to buy anything with a ‘GT2’ or ‘GT3’ badge on it, well, good luck unless you’re thoroughly minted.
With this in mind, it should be very interesting to see what dropping to turbocharged four-pot power might do to the values of the very last N/A six-cylinder models, of which there should be a few still kicking around on Porsche forecourts. Values should stay strong, and in the very long-term, who knows.
If you want the new one, however, it’s available to order now, with an RRP of £41,739 for the 718 Boxster, and £50,695 for the S. First deliveries will take place in Spring.