We’ve driven it at the international press event, and got up close with it in Malaysia, which leaves the official launch. And price. The Porsche 718 Boxster was launched this morning in KL and you can have one from RM480k. The 718 Boxster S is yours from RM620k. From, because as with all local Porsche prices, the sticker denotes the base price without options, and there are plenty of things you’ll probably want.
The 718 Boxster replaces the 981 that made its debut in 2012. With mostly new body panels and new engines, it is not a facelift, Porsche stresses, and even the name is new. Seven-eighteen is the “family name” here (like 911), and “Boxster” denotes the roadster bodystyle (like Targa).
By the way, the 718 Boxster is no longer the cheapest Porsche one can buy – the 718 Cayman, revealed in April, has swapped places with the roadster and is now the slightly cheaper alternative.
What does 718 mean? The old timer being referenced here is the Porsche 718 race car from the late 1950s, the successor to the famous Porsche 550 Spyder that partly inspired the original Boxster. The 718 association was previously used for the 1,960-unit limited edition Boxster RS 60 Spyder in 2007. Check out our gallery of the Targa Florio-winning Porsche 718 RS 60 Spyder.
The 981’s dashboard has been largely carried over, but there’s a new range of hollow-spoked steering wheels in the design of the 918 Spyder. The four air vents have a new flat-bottomed circular shape, while the Sport Chrono stopwatch has been pushed further front. Less obvious is the fact that the whole dash plus centre console is now covered in leather and contrast stitching.
Porsche Communication Management (PCM) is available with optional modules such as Connect (tray with wireless connection between smartphone and car, Apple CarPlay), Navigation (with voice control, 3D maps possible) and Connect Plus (everything).
The engines are newly-developed downsized and turbocharged flat-four units packing a lot more firepower than before. The 718 Boxster gets a 2.0 litre with 300 hp and 380 Nm of torque from 1,950 to 4,500 rpm, which is 35 hp and 100 Nm up from the naturally-aspirated 2.7 litre flat-six in the base 981. With PDK and the Sport Chrono package, it sprints from 0-100 km/h in 4.7 seconds, which is 0.8 sec faster than before.
The 718 Boxster S is moved by a 2.5 litre engine with variable turbine geometry (VTG) turbo, generating 350 hp and 420 Nm of torque from 1,900 to 4,500 rpm. That’s 35 hp and 60 Nm more than the old Boxster S’ 3.4 litre six-pot despite being nearly a litre down on capacity. Your neighbour’s pick-up truck has it too, but Porsche is still the only manufacturer to use VTG technology in production vehicles with petrol engines. 0-100 km/h in 4.2 seconds, six tenths faster than before. Top speed is 275 km/h and 285 km/h, respectively.
The new engines are closely related to the 3.0 litre flat-six twin-turbo units found in the latest 911 facelift, and they share many parts and ancillaries, but the flat-fours feature a single turbo (more effective in this application) and what Porsche calls indirect intercooling.
The air intakes behind the doors (larger now, with two louvres) provide process air and now air for indirect intercooling as well. Temperature is reduced by an auxiliary loop of the cooling system, which involves the use of a heat exchanger above the engine. Here, the compressed air from the turbo gives off some of its heat to the circulating coolant. The liquid then flows through one radiator per air intake.
The reason for downsizing is efficiency, and the new Boxsters are up to 13% more fuel efficient, making it a win-win for the opposing parameters. To be exact, the new Boxster PDK is rated at 6.9 litres per 100 km in the NEDC, which is 0.7 litres less than before. The new Boxster S’ 7.3 l/100 km is a 0.9 l/100 km improvement.
The new engines are matched with a retuned chassis. There’s a quicker steering from the 911 Turbo and Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) with a 10 mm lower ride height is standard for both 718 Boxster variants. The active chassis, which has also been retuned, offers an “even broader spread between long-distance touring comfort and dynamic sporty stiffness,” Porsche says.
The optional Sport Chrono package now comes with an Individual programme in addition to Normal, Sport and Sport Plus. In cars with PDK, the Sport Response button gives an extra shot of boost for overtaking.
So, there you go, the new Porsche 718 Boxster and Boxster S. No more flat-six engines, but still the best open-top roadster in town – read our full review to learn more about the new model.
GALLERY: Porsche 718 Boxster driven in Portugal