Porsche’s 718 Boxster revives a classic name and flat-four engine

It’s been two decades since Porsche first introduced its entry level roadster, and now the German automaker is making a series of significant changes to its mid-engined model.

The first thing would-be buyers will notice is that the Boxster’s name will now be the 718 Boxster, harkening back to the race-bred sports car that roamed global circuits in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. Like the 718 Boxster’s spiritual ancestor, the reborn model will come equipped with a flat four-cylinder engine. However, 50+ years of engineering means the 718 Boxster will be working with quite a bit more power, due in large part to forced induction.

Of course fans of the naturally-aspirated flat six engine will bemoan its absence, but look for the Cayman GT4 and Boxster Spyder to retain the iconic powertrain.

This translates to the base model 718 Boxster developing 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque from its 2.0-liter turbocharged motor while the spicier 718 Boxster S bumps displacement another 0.5-liter for 350 horses and 309 lb-ft. of torque. The “S” also uses variable turbine geometry for more efficient power. Both 718’s gain 35 hp over their predecessors and are 14 percent more fuel efficient.

Though the new Boxsters look like mirror images of the most recent model year roadsters, Porsche assures us that “every body part except for the luggage compartment lids, the windshield, and the convertible top has been changed.” Inside, the dash has also been given an update and the infotainment system, Porsche Communication Management, has been refreshed.

Enthusiasts will be pleased to hear that both vehicles still come standard with a six-speed manual transmission, but the real performance gains come when you check the PDK double-clutch transmission box. 0-to-60 mph takes just 4.0 seconds for the 718 Boxster S when equipped with the PDK gearbox (an improvement of 0.5 seconds) and top speed rises to 177 mph. The base 718 Boxster accomplishes the same feat in 4.5 seconds and tops out at 170 mph.

As handling goes, Porsche has spent a good deal of time re-sorting the Boxster’s suspension, steering, and chassis. The automaker claims the car’s electric steering system is 10 percent more direct (though we are left to wonder how this was measured). Porsche’s Active Suspension Management (PASM) will lower the car’s ride height 10mm, and its PASM Sport Suspension can be optioned for a 20mm lower stance. For on-the-fly suspension adjustments, Porsche offers its Sport Chrono Package with three driving models: Normal, Sport, and Sport Plus.

When the 718 Boxster/S goes on sale in June of this year, the base model will start at $56,000 while the ‘S’ will check in at $68,400 (both prices exclude a $1,050 destination charge).

Product Review

BMW’s smallest M car is its biggest performance statement

The BMW M2 Competition is frighteningly quick in a straight line, and its short wheelbase lends itself to some hilarious power slides, but it’s the curvy roads and tight tracks where this coupe comes alive.
Cars

2020 Nissan 370Z Special Edition celebrates 50 Years of the Z car

Nissan is celebrating 50 years of its iconic "Z car" with a special edition of the 2020 370Z. The 50th-anniversary model is dressed to look like a 1970s race car, but remains technically unchanged.
Cars

More tech and more space make the Mercedes-Benz GLS the S-Class of the SUV world

Mercedes-Benz introduced the second-generation GLS at the 2019 New York Auto Show. The company's biggest and most luxurious SUV gains more tech features in its quest to become the S-Class of the SUV world.
Cars

2020 Ford Escape gets sleeker styling, greener powertrains, more tech

The 2020 Ford Escape gets redesigned for the first time since the 2013 model year. Ford brought back the hybrid powertrain, and is adding a plug-in hybrid option for the first time.
Cars

Café racer-inspired ebike hits 28 mph quickly and quietly with carbon belt drive

Ebike manufacturer Electra launched the Café Moto Go, an advanced ebike. The Café Moto Go's step-over frame was inspired by café racers. The Café Moto Go is a premium performance ebike built to run smoothly and extra quietly.
Cars

Where to go when your EV is low: Rich neighborhoods have most charging stations

If you're running low on juice in your electric vehicle, head for the rich part of town. A survey by Realtor.com found median home list prices in the 20 U.S. ZIP codes with the most EV charging stations were 2.6 times the national average.
Cars

Ford is keeping hackers out of its cars by putting key fobs to sleep

Ford found a way to stop thieves who try to hack their way into a car by duplicating its key fob. It developed a smart key fob that puts itself to sleep when it's idle for at least 40 seconds. It automatically wakes up when someone picks it…
Cars

This vintage Ford Bronco off-roader has a modern electric powertrain

Zero Labs took a classic Ford Bronco and replaced its gasoline engine with an electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack. So you get the style and off-road capability of a Bronco, but with zero emissions.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Earth Day, indoor container farming, robot submarines

Today on Digital Trends Live, we discuss how technology intersects with Earth Day, a new Tim Cook biography, indoor container farming, robot spy submarines, A.I. death metal, and more.
Cars

Tesla will have ‘autonomous robotaxis’ in 2020, Elon Musk says

Tesla will deploy self-driving cars in a "robotaxi" service in 2020, CEO Elon Musk said at the automaker's Autonomy Investor Day. Musk has promised autonomous Tesla electric cars before, but will he finally deliver this time?
Cars

Startup Smartcar accuses bigger rival Otonomo of stealing intellectual property

California-based startup Smartcar claims its intellectual property was stolen by a much bigger (and better-funded) rival named Otonomo. Otonomo hasn't given its side of the story yet.
Cars

Tesla rushes investigators to China to figure out why a parked Model S exploded

Tesla has sent a team of in-house investigators to Shanghai to determine why an early Model S suddenly exploded and caught fire. The electric sedan was parked before the fire started, and the cause of the blaze remains unknown.
Cars

Google Maps now shows EV owners which charging stations are occupied

Google has just beefed up its Maps app with extra data to help EV owners find the nearest charging station. Drivers can also find out about the number and types of ports available, and whether they're occupied.
Cars

Keep your driving record squeaky clean with these top-flight radar detectors

Nobody likes getting a speeding ticket, but these gadgets can help. Check out our picks for the best radar detectors on the market, from the likes of Valentine One, Escort, and Beltronics.