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Driven: Porsche 718 Boxster

2016-05-10 09:36

NEW 718 DRIVEN: TopCar drives Porsche's new 718. Image: TopCar

  Video

The City of Gold aka Johannesburg is shown off in Porsche's new advertisement of the 718 Cayman. Porsche SA confirmed that filming took place in Braamfontein, on the Nelson Mandela bridge and in Soweto near Soccer City. Sit back and enjoy this proudly SA clip.

Top Car

Cape Town - The 718 Boxster signals the return of the four-cylinder Porsche. More power, better economy but no sweet music.


Let's face it, the sound of the naturally aspirated flat-six engine in Porsche's (981) Boxster wailing away was pure gold. 

It’s gone, replaced by a pair of blown flat-fours charged with reshaping Boxster perceptions.

‘Sanity-robbing helicopter throb’

The sonic boom is inescapable, a monosyllabic drone that has hottest Impreza with fettled exhaust written all over it. Saving grace is the 718 does without the Scooby’s added layer of sanity-robbing helicopter throb.

The steering, 10% quicker now thanks to the adoption of the 911 Turbo’s set-up, is more than just about weighting and precision, it’s the symbiotic relationship between steering input and front wheel response, bar a few degrees of central slack, necessary to avoid fidgety freeway progress. 

But that’s only half the corner glory story; half-inch wider rear tyres, a stiffer rear subframe and firmer dampers all sharpen the dynamics, gifting the Boxster impeccable chassis balance and grip. 

Power

Throw in a much more explosive engine and the result is an engine that revs to 7500r/min but you’ve hit peak power by 6500r/min, and while there’s more twist on tap, the real urgency only begins around 2000r/min – evidence perhaps of Porsche’s attempt to emulate the high-revving nature of the unblown motor. 

In a 718 S PDK with the optional Sport Chrono Package, the speedometer needle blows past the 100kph mark in 4.2 seconds. Even a bog standard 718 six-speed manual does the sprint in 5.1 seconds. The new turbocharged (variable turbine geometry on the S), intercooled four-cylinder engines have their naturally-aspirated six-pot predecessors soundly beat. And there’s an impressive set of outputs to prove it: 220kW and 380Nm from the 2.0-litre (up 25kW and 100Nm over the old 2.7-litre engine); 257kW and 420Nm for the 2.5-litre Boxster S – an increase of 25kW and 60Nm over the old 3.4-litre six-cylinder. 

Officially the 718 is as much as 13% more fuel efficient, equating to a saving of almost one litre of fuel per 100km and a CO2 reduction of 25g/km for the 2.0-litre engine – the most obvious reason for the downsized engines.

New design

Styling wise, a quick scan deceives you into thinking not much has changed and yet, the boot lid, windscreen and soft top are the only bits carried over. Doors, bumpers, fenders, side mirrors, rocker panels, inlets, head- and tail-lights are all new. The details are exquisite, starting at the rear where a full-width gloss black panel links the LED rear lamps – with new four-point brake light signature – and proudly houses three dimensional ‘Porsche’ lettering. Other changes include cleaner door handles, larger side intakes and a more contoured front bumper incorporating slim indicators and parking lights. Dynamic full-LED headlights with four-point LED DRLs are a must-have option.


Inside

The 718 has a beautifully made cabin, forgiving this particular example’s German fetish red leather upholstery, but with a 918 Spyder-inspired steering wheel. Tick the (frankly essential) Sport Chrono Package and you get a dial on the wheel for switching between Normal, Sport , Sport Plus and Individual drive modes.

Some things have been lost: aural artistry, raspy throttle response; others added: mid-range thrust, chassis grip, steering sweetness, design jewellery. The 718 Boxster is undoubtedly still precious metal, you see it everywhere, and in more places than ever, you just can’t hear it anymore.

For the full first drive feature story be sure to grab a copy of the June 2016 issue of TopCar, on sale now. 

Porsche Boxster
Price: R797 000
Engine: 1988cc, 16v, 4cyl petrol turbo, 220kW @ 6500rpm, 380Nm @ 1950-4500rpm
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch auto PDK, RWD
Suspension: MacPherson struts front and rear, optional adaptive dampers
Performance: 0-100km/h in 5.1sec, 275km/h, 6.9l/100km, 158g CO2/km
Length/width/height: 4379/1801/1280mm
Kerbweight: 1365kg
On sale: now

Porsche Boxster S
Price: R870 000
Engine: 2497cc, 16v, 4cyl petrol turbo, 257kW @ 6500rpm, 420Nm @ 1900-4500rpm
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch auto PDK, RWD
Suspension: MacPherson struts front and rear, optional adaptive dampers
Performance: 0-100km/h in 4.4sec, 285km/h, 7.3l/100km, 167g CO2/km
Length/width/height: 4379/1801/1280mm
Kerbweight: 1385kg
On sale: now




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