Porsche's entry-level car has received a thorough redo for the 2017 model year, including a new name: the 718 Boxster ("Seven eighteen," not "seven-one-eight," although the British might disagree). The biggest change is the switch to turbocharged flat-four engines. Not only are the new powerplants more efficient than the sixes they replace, but they also deliver more power. Many of the body panels are new, and some of the detailing (including the new head- and taillights) is exquisite.
Changes inside are more subdued, and they include a touchscreen display borrowed from the 911. The new interior offers plenty of room for 6-footers, though over-the-shoulder visibility isn't very good. All the more reason to drop the power-operated top, which folds down in just over 10 seconds. Two small trunks offer adequate luggage space, though golf clubs will be relegated to the passenger seat.
The new 718 Boxster comes with a mid-mounted 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that delivers 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet to the rear wheels, a 35 hp and 74 lb-ft improvement over the old six. Porsche claims a 0-60 time of 4.9 seconds, 0.7 second faster than the outgoing Boxster, and a 170-mph top speed, an improvement of 8 mph. The EPA rates the 2.0-liter Boxster's fuel economy at 25 mpg combined (22 city/29 highway) for the seven-speed dual-clutch PDK automatic, with manual transmission figures 1 mpg lower.
Opt for the Boxster S, and the engine is bumped up to 2.5 liters with 350 hp, an increase of 35 hp over the outgoing Boxster S. Porsche claims the 0-60 run at 4.4 seconds for the manual and 4 seconds flat for cars with PDK and the Sport Chrono package. Top speed is 177 mph, and the Boxster S is EPA-rated at 24 mpg combined (21 city/28 highway) with the PDK automatic. Manuals trail those figures by about 2 mpg.
The old Boxster was one of our favorite cars to drive, and changes to the new car's suspension and steering have only improved matters. The new tires provide better grip, the steering returns all the feedback we could want and the brakes are better than ever. The Boxster S offers an optional Porsche Active Suspension Management, with a lowered ride height and upgraded dampers, but we think the ride is too stiff on roads that aren't glass-smooth. The standard suspension rides better on less-than-perfect pavement and still offers outstanding levels of grip. And we miss the old car's six-cylinder soundtrack — the pops and burbles from the four-cylinder engine's exhaust are no match for the soulful wail that has defined the Boxster driving experience since the original car made its debut.
The Boxster is offered in base and S models, differentiated primarily by their engine. Both models now include more standard equipment, and in keeping with Porsche tradition there are enough extra-cost options to literally double the price of the car. Edmunds can help find the perfect 2017 Porsche Boxster for you.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.