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Porsche’s flat-four-powered Cayman and Boxster will revive the historic 718 nameplate

Currently, the Porsche Boxster and the Cayman are two different model lines that happen to share a long list of components. That will change next year when Porsche gives both models a major mid-cycle update and renames them 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman, respectively.

The 718 name wasn’t chosen at random. It’s borrowed from a victorious race car built between 1957 and 1962 that took first place in Italy’s challenging Targa Florio in 1958 and in 1960, and first in class during the 1958 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. All versions of the 718 were equipped with a flat-four engine, and that’s where the connection with the updated Boxster and Cayman comes in.

While Porsche isn’t ready to publish technical specifications, an earlier leak uncovered by British magazine Car reveals the entry-level models will be powered by a 2.0-liter flat-four tuned to send 240 horsepower to the rear wheels via either a manual or a dual-clutch automatic transmission. S models will up the ante with a 2.5-liter flat-four rated at approximately 300 hp, while the GTS versions will get a 370-hp evolution of the engine.

Both variants of the four will be fitted with direct fuel injection and a single turbocharger. Downsizing is expected to make the 718 considerably more efficient than the outgoing Cayman/Boxster, much lighter, and considerably more fun to toss around a track. That said, special models like the Boxster Spyder and the Cayman GT4 (pictured) will continue to please the purists with a naturally-aspirated flat-six engine.

The smaller engines will be complemented by a minor facelift that will give both cars roughly the same front end design. The cabin will also benefit from updates including the addition of a new infotainment system.

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The 2017 Porsche 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman will likely be introduced to the public next March at the Geneva Motor Show. Porsche has one last surprise up its sleeve: while the Cayman currently costs $500 more than the Boxster, the 718 Cayman will be positioned below the 718 Boxster as the company’s entry-level sports car.