New Cars

Porsche revives 718 as a Boxster

Designation is throwback to the 718 RS track cars of mid-20th century

Porsche 718 Boxster

Porsche is reviving the 718 brand as it readies the new Boxster for introduction at the 2016 Geneva Auto Show in a couple months

The 718 designation is a throwback to the 718 RS track cars of the late ’50s and early ’60s that were adapted to race in various series, including Le Mans and Formula 1, meeting with varying degrees of success. Like the new car, the original 718 were knowns for their lightness, their mid-engine layout, and their dynamic handling.

From its beginnings 20 years ago, Boxster has been compared to the 718, so it’s not much of a stretch to finally have that connection right there in the name.

The new car will be designated 718 Boxster (and 718 Boxster S for the more performance worthy model), debuting a new range of turbocharged horizontally-opposed 4-cylinder engines. The Boxster 2.0-litre engine makes 300 hp, while the S gets a 2.5 that makes 350. Torque is also increased substantially (by 73 lb-ft in the base car and 44 in the S), with a peak plateau from 1,950 to 4,500 rpm.

To put it into percentages, that’s roughly a 10-13% increase in power (depending on the model), but perhaps more impressive is that fuel economy is also reportedly improved 13%. Porsche credits turbocharging with improving both figures.

In raw numbers, it means zero to 100 km/h acceleration of 4.2 seconds for the 718 Boxster S (4.7 in 718 Boxster), with a too speed of 285 km/h (275 in the base car). Economy is rated at 6.9 combined in the 718 and 7.3 in the S (both with the PDK, Porsche’s double clutch automatic transmission, though a 6-speed manual is standard on both versions).

But the big news is performance, and the new models feature new suspension tuning to make them handle in a superior manner to their predecessors (which was already not shabby at all), while the electromagnetic assisted steering improves response by a reported 10% The Sport Chrono package adds an individual setting to Normal, Sport and Sport Plus modes, while a button on the dial allows the driver to call up maximum response for a 20-second burst.

Of interest is that the body is comprehensively changed … sort of. In fact, the body is completely revised, except for the luggage compartment lids front and rear, the windshield, and the power convertible top. So, basically, the sides are changed.

Inside, the instrument panel is revised, and adds the latest version of the Porsche Communication Management system, including a new state-of-the-art touchscreen.

European deliveries start in spring 2016, with UK prices starting at £41,739 ($84,557 Canadian at today’s conversion rate) for the 718 Boxster, and the 718 Boxster S starting at £50,695 ($102,701 Canadian). Canadian MSRPs are expected to be in the $65,000 to $80,000 range.

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