Did you know that Porsche made mid-engine 4 cylinder race cars in the 50s and 60s? If not, you soon will. Those cars carried the designation “718”. Porsche is honoring those cars by adding a “718” badge to the rear of the new Boxster and Boxster S due in American showrooms in June.
What else is new for these cars? Each gets a turbocharged flat 4 engine — 2.0 liter in the Boxster and 2.5 liter in the Boxster S. According to AutoBlog, the Boxster engine produces 300 horsepower, which is 35 more than the engine in the current car. It also has 74 lb-ft more torque which helps propel it to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds — 0.7 less than before. The Boxster S engine also has 35 more horsepower but only 43 lb-ft more torque. It scoots to 60 in 4 seconds flat.
Despite the more powerful engines, both cars are about 13% more fuel efficient. The Boxster scores 34 mpg in the European test cycle while the Boxster S is rated at 32 mpg. EPA numbers are typically quite a bit lower but have not been released yet.
Cosmetically, both cars get a new face that is slightly more aggressive. Four point LED lights integrated with the headlights are optional. Along the sides, Porsche has enlarged the rear air intakes ahead of the rear wheels and added black strakes that blend into the doors. They are not quite as prominent as those on the Ferrari 348, but do give the cars a more menacing look. At the rear, the most prominent change is the addition of the numbers “718.”
The 718 Boxster is priced at $57,050. The 718 Boxster S begins at 69,450 for the S model. Both prices include destination charges. A 6 speed manual transmission is standard in both cars with an PDK dual clutch automatic available as an extra cost option. Porsche says it has given the electric steering system a more direct feel and incorporated subtle changes to the suspension. An optional active suspension package with variable dampers lowers the car by 4 tenths of an inch.
How many people will honor Porsche’s wishes and refer to their new cars as “my 718 Boxster” or “my 718 Boxster S”? The name change might make more sense if applied to a model more associated with racing. But in any event, a Boxster by any other name is still a Porsche. Now the only question is, will the Boxster get a hybrid or electric powertrain anytime soon?