What is it?
The seven eighteen. Not seven one eight, apparently. But, then, after 20 years (twenty, not two zero), will we notice? Or will we just keep calling it Boxster?
I’ll tell you something we’ll notice. Three numbers might have been added to Porsche’s roadster’s name, but rather more significant is that two things have been deleted: engine cylinders. Gasp. The old flat six, that glorious, high-revving, naturally aspirated thing of wonder, is no more. At least, not except in GT variants, where it might still crop up. It’s the usual story: downsizing and artificial blowing is in, revving and swept capacity are out.
This is the first Porsche fitted with a flat four, then, since the 914, and even though it’s downsized from 3.4 litres, the Boxster S's is a relatively big unit for a four-pot. Its 2.5 litres puts each cylinder at 624cc, rather larger than the half-litre-per cylinder which most manufacturers perceive as ‘about right’; and as Porsche does in the 2.0-litre, non-S, 718 Boxster, and its new turbocharged six-pot 3.0 911s.
The increased reciprocating masses and the imbalance that comes with them, then, might explain why there are now two, not one, hydraulic engine mounts at the front of the engine. It fires to life – through a sports exhaust on our test car – with an idly woofle that’s not unlike a potent Subaru or even a mild version of my own, large of ‘zorst 1973 VW Baja bug. Given all are flat-four units with unequal length exhaust headers, I don’t suppose it should be a surprise that any of them have similarities. Whether the comparisons are complimentary, though, is another matter entirely. We’ll come back to it.
Other changes, meanwhile, are both less significant and less easy to notice. The design is modestly changed: every body panel bar the rear deck – and even then its high-level brake light is modified – has been changed. The front suspension is mostly borrowed from the Porsche 911 Turbo (big ‘T’ turbocharged Turbo, not little ‘t’ turbocharged Carrera), which means the Boxster’s steering is about 10% sharper than it was. The rear suspension now contains elements of Cayman GT4, most notably to increase its lateral stiffness.
There’s also the option, for the first time on the Boxster S and fitted to our test car, of PASM adaptive suspension, which sits 20mm lower than standard. Our test 718 also wore carbon-ceramic brakes, while retaining a six-speed manual gearbox. It was about as racy a specification as you could imagine from a regular Boxster, in fact. All the better to distract you with? You might wonder.