It is no secret that manufactures are beginning to move the efficiency of their vehicles to the top of the priority list. In the past few years, pretty much every automotive manufacture has partaken in this focus on efficiency by reducing the displacement of their engines, cutting the number of cylinders, and incorporating forced induction.
Rumors of a new 4-cylinder Porsche engine have been sputtering around for over a year now. Many Porsche “purists” consider the 4-cylinder blasphemy (even though 4-cylinders have played a major role in Porsche’s history). To them, Porsche is known for their high revving, flat-6’s. To the Porsche “purist”, a 4-cylinder belongs in cars like the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, etc… Not a Porsche!
Now I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t stand these Porsche “purists”. Yes, I’m a firm believer in “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, however I also believe in “keeping with the times”. Porsche’s flat-6 motors are my favorite 6-bangers; however, they do seem a little out of place in todays efficiency oriented auto market. To the dismay of purists, Porsche has finally transitioned these rumors into reality with the introduction of the new Porsche Boxster, or how it is now called, the 718.
Nothing much has changed on the design front, with the exception of some slight nip-tucking in the lighting systems and front fascia. The interior is also pretty much the same as the outgoing Boxster. I found the outgoing Boxster to be quite the looker, and the interior of Porsche has always been a favorite of mine, so I really have no complaints or further comments regarding the design.
The only major changes to the 718 are the engines, and the name. Let us start with the name “718”. For those of you who are not as well rehearsed with Porsche’s rich motorsports history, the 718 was the name given to the open-top racecar that Porsche raced from the late 1950s to the early 1960s. The original 718 featured a mid-mounted, naturally aspirated flat-4 which produced anywhere from 160hp to 240hp, depending on the variant used for the race. The 718 won a class win at LeMans, as well as a podium sweep in Formula 2. It also partook in a lot of events ranging from hill climb to Formula 1! And it was also driven by legendary racecar drivers Graham Hill and Sterling Moss.
The 2017 718 doesn’t have that great of a track record (yet?), however it is the first mid-mounted flat-4 Porsche in a long time. The 718 features a 2.0L turbocharged flat-4 producing a healthy 300hp and 280 lb/ft of torque, and the 718 S has a 2.5L turbocharged flat-4 which packs a punch with 350hp and 308 lb/ft of torque! The 2.0L will hit 60 in 4.5s while the 2.5L does that in 4.0s. For comparison, the old Boxster and Boxster S, with the flat-6, did 60 in 5.2s and 4.5s. On top of not only being a lost faster, the 718 is also 14% more efficient than the outgoing model.
I don’t know about you, but after writing/reading that last paragraph, I really am starting to like the new 718. Some “purists” may say that the flat-4 won’t sound as good as the out going flat-6 or won’t run as smooth as a 6, which may be true. However, I can tell you that this new motor will be brilliant because of one, simple fact. It is a product of Porsche.
Porsche isn’t the type of company that would “half-ass” something. In fact, Porsche is the type of company that would over-engineer something, even if it’s for a simple task. If you need an example, look at the roof mechanism used in the 911 Targa. Knowing Porsche, the new turbo flat-4 will definitely live up to hype, and serve the 718 nameplate honorably.
The 2017 Porsche 718 goes on sale this summer. It starts at $56,000 for the regular version and $68,400 for the “S” version.