His confidence as an engineer, and relief after such an accomplishment, is palpable, and the figures are borne out during our test. From the passenger seat, a look at the rev counter reveals that the 2.0-litre flat four is running stress-free
to 7400rpm, right below the redline.
As a result of the additional parts needed for the turbo system, the overall weight of the base Boxster has increased from 1315kg to 1400kg. Top speed is nonetheless more than 174mph and the 0-62mph sprint takes a claimed 5.5sec. The Boxster S hits 62mph in just 5.0sec.
Our first look at the car doesn’t reveal much in the way of exterior changes, but examine it more closely and you can see upgrades such as newly shaped wings, side panel air intakes and rear spoiler. Inside, the materials, feel and finish are improved to an astonishing degree. You’ll be able to order an optional 918 Spyder-style steering wheel, too. On cars equipped with a PDK dual-clutch automatic gearbox, there will also be a Sport Response button that primes the drivetrain for maximum response for about 20 seconds at a time.
You don’t need to be in the driver’s seat to feel the power from the 2.0-litre turbocharged flat four. Performance – channelled by either the seven-speed PDK or a six-speed manual gearbox – is more than satisfying, and any loss of smoothness needn’t be a concern, with turbo lag kept to a minimum thanks to the small size of the turbocharger. In the more powerful Boxster S,
lag should be mitigated by the VTG system.
Neither should you be worried that the Boxster has lost its aural appeal, because a distinct, powerful baritone sound from the rear is quite audible. The four-cylinder engine’s vibrations are well tempered by the four active engine mounts, too.
Significant changes to the Boxster extend well beyond its technical make-up and deep into Porsche’s marketing strategy, with the model names officially changing to 718 Boxster and 718 Boxster S, an honorary title that references the legendary mid-engined racers based on the 550 roadster manufactured from 1953 to 1957.
Furthermore, it is expected that the Boxster will have a higher price than the next-generation Cayman coupé. Previously, the Boxster was priced below the Cayman. Porsche will need to give the Boxster distinct advantages over the Cayman, including superior performance, to justify the repositioning, and it will be interesting to see
how the market reacts.
The 718 Boxster’s price and other details will be officially announced at the end of January, with the first cars expected in the UK towards the end of April, soon after its debut at the Geneva show.