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Boxster Gets a Facelift…and a Turbo!

Updated February 12, 2016

1841117_718_boxster_718_boxster_s_2016_porsche_ag_1With 20 years of history, the Porsche Boxster is about to undergo a big change. The biggest changes this time around are the numbers, particularly the use of the number four; as in flat four-cylinder engine. The other important number is 718 which harkens back to the 50s and 60s where Porsche raced the 718 with four-cylinder flat engines. Since the racing days of the original 718, Porsche hasn’t used a four-cylinder engine in any of their sports cars. Is this a sign of the times or is Porsche making a mistake?

The resurgence of smaller engines isn’t new to the industry. We have seen it everywhere from the popularity of the SMART to the F-150 donning an ecoboost V6. That trend is finally hitting the performance brands and with all the positives associated with this new four-cylinder flat engine, I don’t see that as a bad thing. Thanks to the wonders of turbocharging, this new Boxster has more power, more torque, and better fuel economy. The new 718 Boxster attains 300hp and 280 lb.-ft. while the 718 Boxster S gets 350hp and 309 lb.-ft. with the new turbo 2.0-liter. These numbers are 35hp/74 lb.-ft. over the previous Boxster and 35hp/43 lb.-ft. over the old Boxster S. So while you sit in your new Boxster at a stoplight next to last year’s model, rest assured you will not only fly to 60mph 0.8s faster (0.6s faster in the new S vs old), but you will do so with an estimated 13% better fuel economy.

Now with all this talk about turbos and fuel economy one might be inclined to think Porsche may be tempted to toss the manual in favor of fuel economy like other brands have done. Fear not, driving faithful! The base model features a traditional 6-speed manual shifter. Of course, if you are so inclined, you can always upgrade to the PDK which now has “virtual gears” which are meant to increase the fuel economy even more.

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Of course, this new naming and new engine come with a facelift as well. Not just any facelift though; inside, outside, and underneath were all transformed for the 718. Porsche states “The vehicle was completely revised except for the luggage compartment lids, the windscreen, and the convertible top”. While this may be true, in typical Porsche form, it takes a bit of looking around to see what the changes are. Though not as noticeable of a styling change as the 2014 to 2015 Mustang, the Boxster still looks good and those new subtle design cues give it a slightly more aggressive exterior.

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Underneath it all the 718 Boxster gets new chassis tuning and stronger brakes for “passionate and sporty driving pleasure” as Porsche puts it. Part of this tuning comes with the optional Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) which allows a 10mm lower ride height in the Boxster and 20mm lower in the Boxster S. Along with the chassis tuning, the steering system is configured to be 10% more direct allowing for easier steering both on the street and the track. Add in the optional Sport Chrono Package, you will get and “individual” setting along with the standard Normal, Sport, and Sport Plus.

Last but not least is the interior of this all new 718 Boxster. The air vents have become rounder and the steering wheel has more aluminum accents giving it a sportier appearance than before. The Porsche Communication Management (PCM) which contains mobile phone prep, audio interfaces and 110 watts audio “Sound Package Plus” is front and center in this updated interior. The PCM has the availability for optional additions in the “a la-carte” style Porsche and other luxury brands are known for. For example, the optional navigation module can be upgraded with Connect Plus which acts as an extension to provide “extended online services”.

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All in all, it’s a new era for Porsche with a new number designation and the first four-cylinder in fifty some-odd years. Beside that there are subtle nuances throughout the new 718 Boxster and Boxster S that tell you it got more than just an engine and a number upgrade. Whether you are a fan of the Boxster or not, it’s impressive when a manufacturer steps up to adopt a new power plant that not only gives the vehicle more power and performance, but also better fuel economy. This fuel economy boost helps not just the Boxster, but the whole Porsche lineup as ever increasing CAFÉ standards push manufacturers to develop more efficient cars without losing performance. A better performer with improved styling and economy…what’s not to love about the entry-level Porsche?

Availability begins in Europe on April 30 with the 718 Boxster starting at €53,646 and the 718 Boxster S starting at €66,141. The U.S. will see the new model late June with starting MSRPs of $56,000 and $68,400 for the Boxster and Boxster S respectively.

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Eric Climer
About Eric Climer

I haven't always been a car fan, but if you ask my wife I never shutup about them. I'm always eager to see what is new while appreciating and admiring the classics. As with every car lover, I dream of having a garage larger than the house!

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