The quintessential entry level Porsche is here – the 718 Boxster. It may play second fiddle to the big brother 911, but when put amongst similar rivals from BMW or Mercedes the 718 packs a punch.
While it might look like an all new car, the new Boxster is a thorough facelift of the third generation (internal code name 981). The chin is more pronounced and the headlamps look so well integrated with the bulging fenders. The rear appears even sleeker with new blacked out taillamps and pop-out Porsche name spelled out under the spoiler. Only the hood, boot lid and windscreen have been carried over. Porsche calls it the 718 – a name that harks back to the race car of the sixties. A 718 RS60 won the Sebring 12 hours and the Targa Florio in the 1960, so there is some racing pedigree to the flat four and 718 name.
With its steering rack borrowed from the 911 Turbo and the rear suspension derived from the excellent Cayman GT4, the new 718 Boxster isn’t to be passed off for its new small engine. The 2.0 litre engine, while down on capacity, has 35bhp and 100Nm more than the 2.7 litre engine it replaces. Inside, it is typically Porsche with good quality materials and well screwed together parts. The upper part of the dashboard is different with circular vents replacing the rectangular ones. The new touch screen unit looks cool with its bezel-free look. The convertible roof folds down rather quickly. You can drive roof down without any buffeting thanks to the air deflector fitted between the rollover hoops.
With 296bhp and 380Nm torque, the standard Boxster now has performance comparable to the earlier S model with the 3.4 litre engine. It is as much fun driving this thing as it is to park it by the side of the road and enjoy its looks. The Boxster is for a different class of buyer, one with finesse and possesses better driving skills. It is about the right size and so easy to drive on narrow roads. The Boxster is also more practical than you think, with its hood and boot, both offering sufficient cargo space. With the smaller engine, it is more efficient and thanks to the lower imports structure, it is better value than ever. With ex.showroom prices starting around Rs.85 lakhs, you can’t do better than a 718.