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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Review: 2017 Porsche 718 Boxster

Though the 911 has always taken the lion’s share of attention in Porsche’s lineup, one cannot underestimate what the Boxster has achieved. After its appearance in the carmaker’s lineup in the late 1990s, it enabled Porsche to rediscover the magic of a mid-engined sportscar. Through gradual development and enlargement in both power and engine capacity over three generations (986, 987, and 981) it closed the gap ever so dangerously close to the venerable 911. And now, there’s the 718 Boxster. Designated internally as the 982, it enters the market with an engine almost half the size of the previous top-of-the-line Boxster. Normally, this would be unthinkable in the sportscar horsepower race, but in this case, less is more.

In terms of styling, the 2017 718 Boxster is decidedly evolutionary, a design that can actually trace its origins all the way to the 1950s 550 Spyder. The curvaceous ends, bulging wheel arches, low-slung driving position, high side windows, and center exhaust pipes all nod back to its famous ancestor. Yet, it sprinkles in modern Porsche cues like the larger air intakes (something shared with the other turbocharged cars in the lineup), new doors, standard 19-inch wheels, and a rear end that’s visually widened thanks to a dark hued accent strip.

Inside, the same evolutionary story continues with just a dab of changes here and there. In fact, it’s limited to a smaller diameter steering wheel, reshaped air vents, and a new touchscreen infotainment system. Still, Porsche has done well to leave it well enough alone since it’s always been comfortable, ergonomic, and well-constructed.

The seats themselves are comfortable and wide enough, offering ample support even for long stints behind the wheel. There isn’t a single button, dial, or knob on the steering wheel—a polar opposite of the 718 Boxster’s button-filled dashboard. It may make overall operation confusing at first, but it’s easily adjusted for. Some controls though, such as the climate control and the infotainment’s main knobs, remain obscured by the shift knob’s position. Still, kudos to Porsche’s touchscreen interface which is navigable and crisp. It also offers Bluetooth hands-free and a decent enough sound through its standard 110-watt 6-speaker system.

Like previous Boxsters, the engine bay doesn’t open up, limiting the view of the engine to just the fluid containers in the process, but it does mean twice as many luggage spaces available. The 718 Boxster swallows a combined 275 liters of luggage through its front and rear cargo holds.

Not being able to pay homage to the engine is a shame because this is the 718 Boxster’s raison d'être. Just like racing Porsches of the 1960s of the same numerical identity, it uses a horizontally-opposed 4-cylinder engine. With 2.0-liters of displacement, it generates a healthy 300 horsepower and 380 Nm of torque.

Anyone concerned that by going 4 cylinders may make the 718 Boxster more of an anonymous boulevard cruiser than outright sportscar can be reassured the moment the ignition is turned. The single, non-variable-geometry engine offers all the attitude one expects from a boosted engine. It’s more characterful than the outgoing 2.5-liter with a modest bass note and a slightly cantankerous edge even at idle. It moves off from a standstill with more convenience making it easier to control and less raggedy when stuck in stop-and-go traffic. Inevitably, there’s some dash of lag and surge, but it’s fairly minimal. In fact, power delivery is linear and measured even at higher revs or gears.

The 7-speed dual clutch automatic (PDK) is equally up to the task, however, when left in city traffic, it might lurch forward unexpectedly. The slow speed ride could use some improvements though as it tends to chop through pothole ridden roads. Overall, driving the 718 Boxster in traffic feels like taming a caged animal, a constant reminder that it’s best enjoyed on the open road.

And it’s on the open road where it shines. Taking over where the previous Boxster left off, the 718 Boxster’s dimensions are little altered. It’s within 5 millimeters in length and 2 millimeters in weight with the same width and wheelbase. Yet, Porsche added precision to the handling by stiffening the coil springs and thicker stabilizer bars along with larger dampers, a strong rear subframe, and wider rear wheels. And with a curb weight of just 1,365 kilograms, it’s fairly light for a modern open two-seater sports car. All of this makes the virtues of a mid-engine layout shine. The quicker steering means it changes direction sweetly with what feels like endless grip and poise.

In the end, by going small, Porsche has managed to make the 718 Boxster shine even more. Though going for a 4-cylinder layout may not inspire confidence in some people when it comes to performance, a short drive is enough to erase any of that doubt. It remains an awe-inspiring machine that’s now faster, more efficient, and better handling than ever before. More than anything, it closes the gap to the base 911, especially for those who’re looking for a serious sportscar fix.

2017 Porsche 718 Boxster
Ownership 2017 Porsche 718 Boxster
Year Introduced 2016
Vehicle Classification Sportscar
The Basics
Body Type 2-door Convertible
Seating 2
Engine / Drive M/R
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 2.0
Aspiration Turbocharged
Fuel Delivery Direct Injection
Layout / # of Cylinders F4
BHP @ rpm 300 @ 6,500
Nm @ rpm 380 @ 1,950-4,500
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / 95~
Transmission 7 DCT
Cruise Control Yes
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 4.85 km/L @ 13 km/h,
9.90 km/L @ 42 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,379
Width (mm) 1,801
Height (mm) 1,281
Wheelbase (mm) 2,475
Curb Weight (kg) 1,395
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Front Brakes Vented and Cross-Drilled Disc
Rear Brakes Vented and Cross-Drilled Disc
Tires Pirelli PZero 235/49 R 19 Y (f),
265/40 R 19 Y (r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 6
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Front and Rear
Other Safety Features Tire Pressuring Monitoring System
Hill Hold Assist
Exterior Features
Headlights HID
Fog Lamps Yes, Front and Rear
Auto Lights Yes
Rain-sensing Wipers No
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment Partial Electric (front)
Seating Surface Leather
Folding Rear Seat No
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes
Climate Control Manual
Audio System Stereo
# of Speakers 6
Steering Controls No


  1. Soft top convertible is probably the worst choice you can make when spending on multi-million car here in the Philippines. Drive it top down and you probably get robbed every month and smell like jeep exaust when you get home.
    Leave it parked and your just a box cutter away from loosing personal stuff inside.
    Not to mention how fast those soft top cover degrade in such short time.

    1. True. Unless you use it as a sunday car only.

    2. you can opt for the Cayman


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