Once upon a time an entry level car to a prestigious brand was seen by fellow owners as something to be segregated. Whilst many got the chance to own and fall in love with their new pride and joy, there were still those who mocked. This was very true of the original Porsche Boxster as it was unfairly dubbed “the poor mans Porsche”. In reality it was a very fine car indeed and won critical acclaim amongst motoring journalists. Today, evolving much like the 911, the Boxster is at the top of its game and now even tempts some Porsche owners away from other models. This is the new 2016 Porsche 718 Boxster S and its changes go beyond three extra digits in the name.
It might look similar to its predecessor, but almost every body panel on this Boxster is brand new. Nips and tucks have created a slightly taught body as the metals now appear to stretch over an athletic frame. The large rounded headlights and side-mounted air intakes are pure Boxster DNA and very much like this model to the family. Black details and alloy wheels contrast the blazing Lava Orange paintwork. The 718 is handsome car with the roof up or down, and new details such as its black plaque that now sports the model name pushes it further upmarket.
Inside you sit low and snug but the cockpit feels far from claustrophobic. Well bolstered sports seats hug your ribs and the manual gear leaver falls to hand nicely. A Porsche 918 inspired three spoke steering wheel offers itself to you. A 7 inch touchscreen infotainment system provides you with all of the media you desire whilst occupants are bathed in high quality materials. It feels well built, ergonomic, and suitably upmarket. Visibility for this type of car is also very good. The convertible fabric roof is electrically stowed at speeds of up to 30mph. Being mid-engined the Porsche 718 Boxster has two luggage storage compartments providing a total capacity of 375 litres which makes it really rather practical.
Now, the big talking point of this generation Boxster is its engine. Gone is the flat-six and in its place is a turbocharged flat-four. Why? A bid for better economy primarily but the “downsize and turbocharge” method is now common practice within the industry. Before the people start kicking off about it only having four cylinders, check your history book as the company has got plenty of previous. This Boxster S produces 345bhp, and thanks to said turbos, 420Nm of torque. 0-62mph takes 4.6 seconds and its top speed is 177mph. On the move this new car firmly shrugs off the title of “poor mans Porsche” and proves itself still to be the purest car the company makes. Sharp intuitive steering allows for accurate placement and a rapid change of direction. Sublime composure around corners with hardly a hint of body roll highlights how well engineered this chassis is. It has a real confidence to the way it goes about its business making it an exploitable machine. A six speed manual transmission is the drivers choice and it suits the character of the little 718. Row through the short throws and witness your smile growing. Put the car in its sportiest setting and everything sharpens up providing a truly involving car to play with. The surge of torque lower in the rev range is notable and makes the Porsche 718 Boxster much more flexible. In terms of how that turbocharged 2.5 litre engine sounds, well, engage that sports exhaust and listen to the newfound growl emanate from its boxer. It sounds angry and it is a good noise, however, I think purists would rather silky naturally aspirated tones. Don’t get me wrong… It pops and bangs and will have you shifting down for no reason other than to make it cause a ruckus. The ride is a bit firm, but that primarily comes down to the larger 20 inch alloy wheels of our test car.
An entry level Porsche 718 Boxster costs from £41,739 and this Turbo S from £50,695. It is still every bit as capable as its predecessor but now claims 34.9 MPG combined. In every measurable way it is better than the old car, but which you prefer will come down to a matter of taste.