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Car review: More or Less?

The New Porsche 718 Boxster S has two less cylinders and a lot more Horsepower and Torque, but is it a better drive?

Tested by Tischen Franklin

Porsche 718 Boxster S

Although hard to believe it is in fact true, Porsche has fitted the new Boxster with a 4 cylinder engine. Heresy you might say but let’s be objective and give Porsche a chance. Sometimes they make big changes to their cars. That may seem like they are moving in the wrong direction but somehow they make it work. Having said that, I am a bit concerned about one of my favorite cars the Boxster S.

The Boxster S

It has 350 hp and 310 ft lbs which means 0 – 60 in about 4.4 seconds, 0 – 100 in well under 10 seconds onto a top speed of 170 mph. Now that is pretty fast! The car has put on a little weight and with some new suspension components it generally feels a bit firmer than before.

However, from the driver’s seat though I am troubled by this new car. Although Porsche made my favorite little sports car that is undeniably faster and a touch better judging by the way the chassis comes alive with the extra torque. I can’t deny that for a turbo charged engine the throttle response is brilliant. The end result in terms of how it pushes you up the road is impressive nonetheless. I absolutely feel like I have lost one of my best friends in the process.

This new car does not feel like it belongs in the same league as the previous car.
I have fond almost magical memories of that lovely six cylinder engine that used to howl, growl, scream and shout. Giving you decidedly different music depending on where you were in the rev range. All the music and character have left us in much the same way that it has lost two cylinders.

Porsche 718 Boxster S
Porsche 718 Boxster S

This car feels almost lifeless it is so devoid of emotion which means you kind of have to drive it in a way that produces speed. Whereas before speed was a by product of a beautiful emotional relationship. So what we have here is a car that despite looking the same and having a very similar name has in fact become something altogether different.

It has gone from being this delicate, scalpel like mid engined work of art to being rather heavy handed. This is in fact something more typical of a high performance BMW than a Porsche. The problem is that you walk up and get into a Porsche but when you crank that engine up it  feel like someone has replaced the engine with that of a beetle. Or think about it this way.

“I have fond almost magical memories of that lovely six cylinder engine
that used to howl, growl, scream
and shout…”

Imagine telling a friend all about your beautiful new Porsche taking them for a ride and having them tell you this thing sounds just like my Subaru. This is beyond disappointing given how brilliantly sonorous the old 6 cylinder engine was.

Porsche 718 Boxster S
Porsche 718 Boxster S

What is even crazier is the difference in sound top up versus top down. Mind you the feeling is the exact opposite the outgoing car. Top up is where any meaningful sound can be had whereas before top down was an event. Listening to the roar and at times shriek of the wonderful flat six with the wind rustling in the background.

Now unfortunately with the top down you lose all the fun and the wind has taken over the soundtrack. Don’t get me wrong, with sport mode turned you get a lot more banging and popping but it is kind of a manufactured sound as opposed to a concerto.

Porsche 718 Boxster S

As for the way it drives well being a Porsche it is still an amazing car to drive?

The steering is magnificent as they have added more support into the chassis so that it corners flatter and magically the ride hasn’t deteriorated. The brakes are also above reproach. They’ve indeed made the Boxster a lesser car than its former self but it is still rather marvelous. I just wish they had not lost the things that made the car so great.

If the obvious shortcomings to the new engine are a lack of precision from throttle response compared to the previous flat six motor and some loss of purposeful sound. There are some obvious achievements too! The new car has moved the game on beyond the likes of the Cayman GT4 and to be honest any other competitors it had before.

So what can I say? There has been a great deal of improvement in the quality of the cabin, the steering, the brakes and the chassis being the revelation that it is I still cannot help missing my dear friend. I guess there are times when more is more and times when less is more but in this case it is a little bit of both. It is a shame because the previous car was just about perfect!

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