Driven: Porsche 718 Boxster S

Our driver is taken back to his youth with the growl of the engine.

Damien Reid May 7, 2017

Some things stick in your head from childhood and one of those for me was the sound of my neighbour’s ‘67 VW Beetle chootling up the street each morning.

I’d forgotten about it until a few weeks back when I started up the Porsche 718 Boxster S and out came the sound of the little Beetle buried in my memory.

It was a quaint reminder of a simple, understated and underpowered car, all of which could not be applied to the new 718 as the sound, thanks to them both carrying four-cylinder engines of the flat-four variety, is the only thing that connects the two. 

A spurt on a mountain road dispelled fears that lopping two cylinders from the previous Boxster and Cayman range would harm its performance credentials. Quite the opposite. 

Our test car got to 100kmh in 4.2 seconds, six tenths faster than old six-cylinder Boxster and according to the specs, had a top speed of 285kmh. It also produces 35 more horses while getting 13 per cent better fuel economy than the old six-cylinder.

Fitted with the optional seven-speed PDK transmission, the 2.5-litre engine develops 350bhp and yet the whole package weighs just 1,355kg.

This is the first four-cylinder Porsche since the Audi-inspired 968 of the mid-1990s but the first using Porsche’s traditional flat-four engine configuration since the gorgeous 912 of more than 50 years ago.

The 718 reference pays homage to Porsche’s early days of racing the 550 Spyder and then the 718 in rallies and road races from 1953 to the mid 1960s including the famous Targa Florio around Sicily in 1955 and in 1960 with the original 718. 

Those giant killers raced against and often beat big V12 Ferraris and Maseratis as well as the six-cylinder Jaguars and it’s the same philosophy of lightweight over brute muscle that makes this 718 Boxster S such a dragon slayer.

porsche.com

Specs

  • Engine: 2.5-litre, flat four-cylinder turbocharged
  • Power: 350bhp @ 6500rpm
  • Torque: 420Nm @ 1,900rpm
  • Transmission: 7-speed auto
  • 0-100kmh: 4.2 seconds
  • Top speed: 285kmh
  • Price: AED 248,100