Ah, the Porsche 718 Boxster, a very interesting car to say the least. Back in 1997, this was the cheapest Porsche money could buy. It also wasn’t very fast, it didn’t look all that great, but it was a joy to drive. It originally came powered by a 2.5 liter flat 6 that made about 201 hp, which is a rather conservative amount if you ask me, but it did sound pretty good. Anyway, as the years went by the engine became bigger, those ugly fried egg headlights disappeared, and the Boxster grew up to become very respectable, fun to drive sports car. Then in 2016, Porsche did arguably the worst thing one could do to a sports car, they exchanged the 981 generation’s beloved flat 6 in favor of a turbo charged flat 4, creating what we now know as the 718 Boxster. To be completely honest with you, I hated it. I thought Porsche had ruined the Boxster. Sure it was faster, but there was no emotion, no passion behind a flat 4. It seemed that Porsche had given up its pursuit of the ultimate driver’s car in favor of chasing 0-60 times and gas mileage. I seemed to have forgotten what my friend Billy had always said, “Anyone who hates a sports car, has obviously never driven one.” Well, I finally drove one, and it was a hell of a lot of fun to say the least.
Since everything seems to be a numbers game these days, let’s start off with the specs. In S form, the 718 Boxster is powered by a turbocharged 2.5 liter flat 4 that churns out a very respectable 350 hp and a muscly 309 lb/ft of torque. With all this power, a 7 speed PDK gearbox, and curb weight of 3054 lb, the 718 Boxster S sprints from 0-60 in 4 seconds flat (0.1 seconds slower than a Carrera GT might I add) and tops out at a 911-like 177 mph. Don’t let the hate fool you, the 718 is a fast car, like a REALLY fast car; much faster than the previous generation Boxster too.
One of the biggest drawbacks of the 986 (first generation) Boxster was its interior quality, or lack thereof. The interior was cheap, rattly, and just a bad place to be even for a 90s car. Thankfully, one of the biggest improvements of the Boxster over the years-aside from its power gain-has been the quality of the interior. The 718’s interior is filled with high quality leather and contrasting stitching, all the buttons are in the right place, and nothing is cheap, you feel like you’re in a $80,000+ car. Unlike previous Boxsters, the 718 also comes with enough tech to make you feel old and you can tell the interior was designed with the driver in mind. Everything fits and everything makes sense, typical Porsche.
How it Drives
Now the 718 may have killer looks, a boat load of power, and a comfy interior, but honestly, who cares? This is a sports car, and by definition it’s sole purpose is to be driven for “performance at high speeds.” As I said before, the 718 does not disappoint. The car just grips and grips and grips, there’s no better way to put it. The power, the balance, the chassis, it all feels right when going through a turn. You don’t have to wrestle it through high speed corners like you have to do in my 986 and you don’t have to worry about any under or oversteer like you would in a 911.
Not to mention, the brakes are amazing too. These things stop you almost as fast as the car accelerates. They really give you the confidence to push the more powerful engine.
Aside from being my first time driving a 718, this was also my first time driving a Porsche with a PDK. Long story short, I was VERY impressed. The PDK was so engaging and so blisteringly fast, I honestly didn’t think a manual would have made the drive any better, especially with that kind of power. Having a PDK meant I could focus on driving, on going even faster, it also meant launch control. And let me say, all that torque from the turbo does a really good job of turning your 718 into a racing yellow cruise missile; it’s really out of this world.
Going in, I thought that the 718 would be a lackluster car mostly due to the sound. But after driving it, I’m glad to say that the sound did not bother me at all. It’s really not that bad if I’m being honest. I know it’s not a flat 6 but it’s not a Honda either and hearing the turbo blow off through the side intake really put a giant smile on my face. But do I wish it had a flat 6? Yes. Will it keep me up at night though? Not at all.
Now nothing is perfect, we all know that. But when the only drawback of a car is the steering feel, you know you’ve got something special. The 718 is a real joy to drive, plain and simple. Everything feels right, everything looks right, and everything drives right. It has a 4 cylinder, so what? That just means you get a whole lot more torque thanks to that turbo. I’m happy to say that Porsche really got it right with something that could have gone so horribly wrong. Long live the sports car and long live the 718!
A special thank you to @siramg_ for letting us review his gorgeous yellow Boxster S, and for just being a really cool guy overall. Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to make mine one of the best I’ve ever had, it really means a lot.
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