Month: January, 2016
Most people know about the famous 718 racecars back in the 50’s and 60’s and some actually began rumors that Porsche would bring that heritage back in the form of its Cayman and Boxster line. It looks like those rumors were mostly true, and Porsche is breathing a bit of life into its Boxster lineup by adding on the 718 badge and making the vehicles more powerful than ever. It’s an exciting time to be a Boxster owner, and these new models are something that many fans are going to be on the lookout for.
The biggest change that comes with that 718 badge is with the engine in the 718 Boxster and Boxster S. They both come equipped with a turbo-flat four. The Boxster comes equipped with a 2.0 liter flat four with 300 HP and the Boxster S has a 2.5 liter V4 offering a total of 350 HP.
Not only do both of these engines pack more power into the unassuming Boxsters, they also boost fuel economy, something most drivers will be thankful for. An efficiency improvement of around 14% will leave the vehicles operating with fuel efficiency levels up near the 30’s. The NEDC European fuel efficiency test reports 34 MPG for the Boxster and 32 for the Boxster S, but the EPA ratings will likely be quite a bit lower than those figures.
While the horsepower improvements were notable, the real power changes come in the form of enhanced torque, especially for the 718 Boxster. It gains a whopping 74 lb.-ft. of torque putting it up at a grand total of 280 lb.-ft. of torque. The 718 Boxster S also saw a more modest improvement of 43 lb.-ft. of torque to bring it up to 309 lb.-ft. of torque overall.
These improvements speed up the vehicles quite a bit as well. Getting to 60 MPH takes just 4.5 seconds in the Boxster and 4.0 in the Boxster S down from 5.2 and 4.5 seconds respectively. They manage top speeds of 170 and 177.
The Transmission and Virtual Gears
The 718 Boxsters still aren’t going to come with a 7-speed manual like the 911 does, but they do get an option for a 6-speed manual. These cars can also be equipped with the PDK automatic transmission and it comes with something Porsche dubs “Virtual Gears”. This system will occasionally engage both clutches at the same time to activate the second and third gears at once to bolster efficiency.
A Revamped Appearance
The 718 isn’t a completely new vehicle by any means and instead is a revamped version of the previous Boxster. The front end of the car comes with larger air intakes than ever before and they stretch farther horizontally giving it a wide stance. The car also comes with a very noticeable Porsche strip between the two taillights that has a lifted and darkened look to it.
The latest Boxster is bringing along with it Porsche Active Suspension. This dynamic suspension system drops the car by about .4 inches under normal conditions and when the Sport Suspension setting is engaged the car dips down another .4 inches toward the ground.
A Capable Infotainment System
The Porsche 718 Boxster comes equipped with a highly capable touchscreen infotainment system that’s sleek, beautiful and highly responsive. It lacks a built-in navigation system however, and if you’d like one added it’ll cost you extra.
Higher Price for the Improved Cars
While these cars are significantly improved over their predecessors you’l have to pay for those improvements. The 718 Boxster comes in at $57,050, an increase of $3,900 and the Boxster S begins at $69,450, a jump up of $4,500. While these aren’t radical price increased for cars in this range, they’re big enough to be noticeable for Porsche fans wanting entry-level vehicles.
If you, like most Porsche fans have fallen in love with the Boxster then this is your chance to get one of the most powerful versions of it sold to date. These cars are highly capable and they come with the mid-mount engine that so many driving enthusiasts love.
In this day and age a manual transmission makes no sense at all, at least not on paper. That’s because a quality automatic, or one of the dual-clutch transmissions can perform at a much higher level than a manual transmission can, even when its being operated at the highest professional level. That’s why many automakers have given up on selling manuals, or they offer them as a niche feature on just a few vehicle types. That’s not the direction that Porsche wants to go with the feature for as long as the automaker can.
Manuals Make Sense Emotionally
Even though manuals don’t make much sense on paper, they make a lot of sense emotionally, and Porsche vehicles are largely an emotional product. Buyers pick up a Porsche because of how they feel about the luxury vehicle when looking at it. They aren’t just buying performance numbers, they are buying a feeling, a lifestyle that they want. Porsche cars need to feel as good as they possibly can to drive around, and according to a whole bunch of driving enthusiasts manual is the way to go for the right feeling. It’s highly enjoyable to motor around in a manual vehicle and to shift through all the gears with just the right timing. There’s nothing that will make you feel like more of an accomplished driver than executing a perfect set of shifts while tearing up the road, and that’s why many buyers will be going to Porsche for the foreseeable future because the automaker plans on releasing manual transmissions for as long as possible.
A Unique Selling Proposition
According to Erhard Mossle, Porsche’s engineering boss, the manual transmission is an important feature that will help the automaker sell more vehicles over time. That’s because most automakers today aren’t bothering offering manuals any longer. Not only do fewer people today know how to drive a manual vehicle, but manual transmissions don’t offer the same perks. Even though they don’t make a lot of sense on paper, there’s just something special about a manual and Porsche wants to harness that for its 911 line for as long as it possibly can.
2028 is the Magic Number
According to Mossle there should be Porsche 911 models equipped with a manual transmission up until 2028. That means you still have plenty of time to get into one of those manual vehicles before they stop producing them, and who knows how the automaker is going to feel about the technology in the 2020’s and beyond. It could realize that the tech is never going anywhere, or it could decide to drop manuals after 2028.
Either way Porsche is supporting an emotional technology that many automakers have already abandoned. Sure they aren’t the fastest or the most efficient, but manuals are a blast to drive and nothing’s going to change that. At least Porsche still gets it.