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The facelifted Porsche Boxster has been officially revealed ahead of its debut at the Geneva motor show in March. The mid-engine roadster is armed with a new name and turbocharged four-cylinder engines that phase out the naturally-aspirated flat-six units.

The 718 in the name refers to the Porsche 718 four-cylinder mid-engine sports cars that won numerous races back in the 1950s and 1960s, among them being the legendary Targa Florio and Le Mans. Porsche had last used a four-cylinder engine in the 968 from the early 1990s.

Plenty of torque on tap. The Boxster’s 2.0 litre turbo makes 300 hp and 380 Nm of twist, available from 1,950 to 4,500 rpm. That’s a huge gain of 100 Nm compared to the outgoing 2.7 litre flat-six.

Porsche 718 Boxster Studio-03

In the new Boxster S, a 2.5 litre flat-four develops 350 hp and 420 Nm of torque, available from 1,900 to 4,500 rpm, a 60 Nm boost from today’s S, which uses a 3.4 litre flat-six. The bigger engine uses a turbocharger with variable turbine geometry. Porsche says that it is the only manufacturer to offer VTG in production cars with petrol engines, both in the 911 Turbo and the 718 Boxster S.

Both cars are faster than before. The 718 Boxster – with PDK and the Sport Chrono package – does the 0-100 km/h sprint in 4.7 seconds, which is eight tenths faster than before. The 718 Boxster S with the same equipment completes this sprint in 4.2 seconds, 0.6 seconds faster. Top speed is 275 km/h and 285 km/h, respectively.

The reason for the move from six to four is efficiency, and the 2.0L turbo delivers with NEDC fuel consumption of 6.9 litres per 100 km, a significant 1.0 litre per 100 km less. The 2.5L turbo does 7.3 litres per 100 km, which is 0.9 litres less for every 100 km travelled.

Both 718s come with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, with Porsche’s seven-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic as an option. The PDK has new “fuel-saving virtual gears”, which are supplemental virtual intermediate gears that reduce engine speed during constant cruising when the next higher gear would reduce engine speed too much.

This function is achieved by partially engaging two adjacent gears simultaneously while slipping both clutches slightly to achieve an effective added ratio. When one steps on the gas, the PDK downshifts out of this mode. Porsche says that as its DCT is bathed in oil, this new virtual gear function does not bring added wear.

The PDK also has enhanced stop-start which shuts off the engine when coasting to a stop. Additionally, the coasting function disengages the clutches when coasting at speed, leaving the engine at idle and the car in neutral. This boosts cruising economy.

Porsche 718 Boxster Studio-11

Other drive-related changes include a retuned chassis that enhances cornering performance, a 10% more direct electromechanical steering system, the optional Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) with a 10 mm lower ride height (20 mm lower in the S) and an Individual programme in the optional Sport Chrono pack. A Sport Response button has been added to PDK cars.

Not too hard to tell a 718 apart from the pre-facelift. The front end has a wider appearance with larger air intakes, and there are new design bi-xenon headlights with integrated LED DRLs. LED headlights with four-point DRLs are optional. New wings and side sills, plus larger air inlet panels with two fins, can be found on the flanks. New 19-inch wheels are standard on the Boxster S and 20-inch rims are on the options list.

The redesigned rear gives a wider impression due to the accent strip with integrated Porsche badge between the new tail lights, which feature three-dimensional LED technology and four-point brake lights.

Inside, a newly designed dash panel frames the Porsche Communication Management (PCM) unit with mobile phone preparation, audio interfaces and Sound Package Plus with 110 watts of audio power. The PCM can be extended with optional modules such as navigation with voice control and Connect Plus for extended online services.

Next up, the turbo four-cylinder 718 Cayman. There should be a 718 Boxster GTS in the works, too.