October 4, 2016 – Boring, is the first word that comes to mind when you hear “fuel efficient”, it’s like asking your friend about the person you’re going to meet on a blind date and the reply is that they have a great personality.
Stereotypes and expectations do exist in the automotive world and Porsche is playing with fire with their new 718 Boxster S. But is it really dull?
For the sake of fuel efficiency, environmental nonsense and a tribute to the 718 racing car of the 50s and sixties which was also powered by flat-four engines, Porsche just released the Boxster and Boxster S with a flat-4, letting go of the iconic signature flat-6 engine.
I expected much less when I first drove the 718 Boxster S, being a 911 purist myself, anything that doesn’t say Carrera on it, made me skeptical. But I was mind blown. The 718’s acceleration is close to lag free. The back-end is more stable, still tail happy but a lot safer. Even though the car is a work of art, I’m only going to focus on the engine and the sheer driving pleasure as they outweigh every aspect of this marvel.
Its turbocharged flat-four engine featuring VTG (variable turbine geometry) comes from the 911 Turbo, yes the iconic 911 Turbo! VTG combats turbo lag at low engine speeds without sacrificing the size of the turbocharger. Dynamic boost leaves the throttle open for up to 2 seconds after the driver lifts off the pedal, similar in spirit to the anti-lag system used in race cars, to keep the engine revs ready for more. The throttle response is cranky and instant when sharply lifting and getting back on the gas.
Having driven it for 2 full days, in traffic, and on mountain roads, I would say that the driving position is very comfy for a sports car. The launch control is phenomenal. When put in Sport and Sport Plus modes, a mechanical orchestra rumbles behind the driver’s seat, some would say it is very close to a Subaru WRX STI. The PDK is as sharp as the turbo, and the car is so responsive, it’s unbelievably fun for what used to be a Boxster.
The “Sport Response” button on the right lower side of the gorgeously trimmed steering wheel activates the powertrain’s Sport Plus tuning for 20 seconds to enable an easier passing maneuver, in “tight” situations, but it doesn’t increase the output or activate overboost.
Give it to Porsche for having the balls to downsize to a flat-4 for the main purpose of reducing emissions and improving fuel economy while maintaining that unique driving bliss. In my opinion, the new 718 series is untainted success. What a daring move by the Germans, who did it meticulously well. Could this new engine design be the leap of faith that will affect the mighty 911? Only time will tell.