Last month, Porsche outlined some big changes for the Boxster and Cayman – namely that they’re losing their naturally-aspirated flat-sixes and being combined under the 718 designation for 2017. But this shouldn’t be a cause for panic, because as we said in December:
… don’t mourn the loss of the Cayman and Boxster just yet. Even with the smaller turbocharged mill, which is expected to be somewhere between 2.0 and 2.5 liters in size, it could end up putting out around 395 horsepower in top trim. With the current flat-six, the most power you’re gonna get is 375 horses. The company says that from here on out, the ‘718 Boxster and 718 Cayman are showing more similarities – both visual and technical.’ Roof aside, if you couldn’t tell the cars apart now, with their marginally different rear haunches and interiors, you’re going to have a much harder time come 2017.
Aside from a teaser sketch, we didn’t know what the cars would look like then. Now we do, and we like what we’re seeing. While photos of the 718 Cayman are still M.I.A., the company has given us a look at the new 718 Boxster and Boxster S, and after decades in the shadow of the 911, the cars finally look like the standalone models they deserve to be.
Compared to the outgoing models, the new cars are wider, with a front end that seems to borrow more from the 918 hypercar than ape the 911, something earlier cars were notorious for. Porsche has done a good job making sure the side profile stays clean and unadorned, and from the rear, new LED taillights and blackout expanse emphasize the car’s wide, aggressive haunches. When you get passed by one on a canyon road, you’ll know exactly what it is.
Perhaps most importantly, we now have details about that turbo-four that’s stepping in to replace the iconic flat-six. The base 718 will have a 2.0 liter mill, good for an even 300 horsepower, while the S will have a 2.5 mounted amidships, good for 350 horsepower. There’s still plenty of room above the two cars, so we wouldn’t be surprised if Porsche ends up making good on that 395 horsepower estimate too.
Porsche is already taking orders for the 718 Boxster (above) now, and will arrive at U.S. dealerships in June. The base-model car will start at $56,000 plus a $1,050 destination charge, though with Porsche’s notorious a la carte options system, we don’t expect many to leave the showroom for less than $60k. It’s about a $4,000 price leap over the ’16 model, but while the current car makes 265 horsepower and 206 pound-feet of torque, the new car’s retuned suspension, new electric-assist steering system, plus that healthy 35 horse and 43 pound-feet boost should make it worth the while. Zero to 60 happens in 4.5 seconds – 0.7 seconds faster than the current car.
For the S (below), you’ll be paying a $12,400 premium for the bigger engine and the faster car. That extra 0.5 liter and 50 horsepower comes with 309 pound-feet of torque. Zero to 60 comes in four seconds even, and top speed is 177 miles per hour. A six-speed manual transmission comes standard, but in order to hit the numbers Porsche is quoting, you’ll have to opt for the PDK dual-clutch auto and the Sport Chrono package, sending you well above the S’s $68,400 base price.
Other than the windshield, hood, trunk, and convertible top, the 718 is all new, and it looks it. With the current Boxster and Cayman, Porsche has made huge strides in creating a separate identity for its mid-engined offerings, moving it farther away from its legendary rear-engined offerings. Nearly two decades after the first Boxster hit the streets, the 718 cars finally look to be dream-worthy on their own, not consolation prizes for people who can’t afford the 911. As long-time Boxster/Cayman fans, we say it’s about damn time.