After 20 years of six-cylinder, naturally-aspirated power, Porsche is making big changes to the mid-engine Boxster for 2017. The two-seat convertibles are now more powerful yet more fuel efficient. With them, Porsche continues the tradition of the four-cylinder flat engines that were used in the Porsche 718 mid-engine sports cars that won numerous races back in the 1950s and 1960s, among them being the legendary Targa Florio and Le Mans.
The centerpiece of the new model series is the newly developed four-cylinder turbocharged flat engine. The 718 Boxster develops 300hp from two liters, while the 718 Boxster S features a variable-geometry turbocharger and a larger 2.5 liters of displacement to produce 350hp. Top speeds increase to 177 mph for the Boxster S, 170 for the base Boxster. However with these changes come improvements in the fuel economy of up to 13 per cent.
Torque gains with the new boxer fours are also significant. The 2.0-liter gains 74 lb-ft of torque for a total of 280 lb-ft from 1,950 to 4,500 RPM. The 2.5 gains less, 43 lb-ft, for a total of 309 lb-ft over the same rev range. The 2.0-liter car does the deed in 4.5 seconds, a 0.7-second improvement, and the 2.5-liter car is claimed to hit 60 mph in 4.0 seconds, a 0.5-second improvement.
Both cars will come with a six-speed manual as standard and a PDK will be optional for both. Porsche also claims to have made the electrically-assisted steering more direct, and retuned the suspension. An optional PASM package lowers the car by 0.4 inches while providing the benefits of active dampers.
From a styling standpoint, this is an evolution of the current theme. The four-element daytime running lights you see in the photos are LED, and an optional extra. The flanks are set off with redesigned, more pronounced intakes that blend into the doors. Out back, the accent strip contains the Porsche badge and is probably the single biggest point of differentiation between the 718 and the current car.
The 718 Boxster will go on sale in the US in June for the equivalent of $57,050 in base form and $69,450 for the S model, including destination.