FIRST FANGS

Jaguar F-Type SVR Porsche 718 Boxster Lo­tus Evora Abarth 595 Lam­borgh­ini Hu­ra­can Spy­der BMW 440i Gran Coupe

Motor (Australia) - - CONTENTS -

EN­GINE 1988cc flat-four, DOHC, 16v, turbo / POWER 220kW @ 6500rpm / TORQUE 380Nm @ 1950rpm / WEIGHT 1335kg / 0-100KM/H 5.1sec / PRICE $113,100

IF THE pre­vi­ous Porsche 781 Boxster shared genes with the 911 GT3, the 718 now feels like it has a com­mon an­ces­tor with the 911 Turbo. The 718 is a far less highly strung car, one you surf a wave of tacho-wide torque rather than neck-wring to the very last howl­ing rpm like be­fore.

Hav­ing driven the new car in Aus­tralia for the first time, we are get­ting our heads around the new Boxster’s ma­jor en­gine – and per­son­al­ity – trans­plant.

You may have al­ready read about the Boxster re­plac­ing its revvy nat-atmo flat-six en­gines with a pair of torquey turbo flat-fours – in the base, a 220kW/380Nm 2.0-litre re­plac­ing the old 2.7-litre six and in the S, a 257kW/420Nm 2.5-litre tak­ing over from the old 3.4-litre.

Ef­fi­ciency has im­proved, as you would at least hope, the PDK base Boxster need­ing 6.9 litres to cover 100km and the PDK S 7.3 litres, sav­ings of one litre and 0.9 litres re­spec­tively.

The styling has been tweaked in tra­di­tional Porsche fash­ion. We quite like the new pris­matic, dark tail-light set-up, although many would strug­gle to tell the new car from old.

Chas­sis and sus­pen­sion re­vi­sions have been kept to a min­i­mum, though the steer­ing is now 10 per cent quicker.

Porsche has also swapped Cay­man and Boxster around, the drop­top now po­si­tioned as the more se­nior model. A base man­ual Boxster has jumped from $104,500 to $113,100, the man­ual S also up from $130,100 to $143,400. (A base man­ual 718 Cay­man is now $110,000, the man­ual S $140,300.)

De­spite the down­siz­ing, your money still buys some­thing truly spe­cial to drive.

Whereas the old Boxster was un­doubt­edly quick, to go prop­erly fast you had to think about main­tain­ing mo­men­tum and keep­ing the revs up for max­i­mum progress. But the new one, with full torque avail­able from about 2000rpm, takes less skill to cover ground at the same pace as the old car. With some sem­blance of abil­ity

In the move to 718, the Boxster has be­come a much more se­ri­ous weapon

ap­plied, the old Boxster would be get­ting a very tem­po­rary look at the 718’s new tail-lights in­deed.

In the move to 718, the Boxster has be­come a much more se­ri­ous weapon. In S-guise, in par­tic­u­lar, it’s so fast you need time to ad­just.

The new low-down torque makes it eas­ier to hus­tle and is even more wel­come with Porsche’s new Sport ESP, per­mit­ting out of slower, tighter corners a quicker ro­ta­tion of the car with the loud pedal – which you couldn’t re­ally do with the old one. To prop­erly ap­pre­ci­ate the en­gine’s ex­tra flex­i­bil­ity, you need only re­mem­ber the old flat­six’s some­times pa­tience-test­ing com­bi­na­tion of taller gear­ing and com­par­a­tive lack of mid-range.

Of course, the han­dling is sub­lime, the 718 Boxster – like its pre­de­ces­sor – a real sweet­heart on a twisty road, the chas­sis seem­ing to get bet­ter and give you more the faster you go. It makes an F-Type – it­self not a bad jig­ger – feel like an old Ford Ex­plorer.

But though com­par­a­tively wob­blier, some cus­tomers will be lost to cars like the Jaguar just for the noise. A boxer-four, even tuned by Porsche’s acous­tic team, can­not beat an on-song six. Some­thing spe­cial has been lost in the move to four cylin­ders.

And, yes, while it has a very WRX­like offbeat bur­ble in the lower revs, it just be­comes loud noise as you rev it right out. Tun­nel hunt­ing? Prob­a­bly not.

Any­one who didn’t know the old Boxster will be blown away by the 718. In this one model up­date, the Boxster has be­come a much more po­tent de­vice, now with the grunt to match a tra­di­tion­ally tal­ented chas­sis, yet still se­ri­ously sat­is­fy­ing to drive fast. It’s gone from be­ing like a very ju­nior, con­vert­ible 911 GT3 to more of a baby drop­top 911 Turbo. It's a change more for the bet­ter than worse, but mostly the Boxster is now just dif­fer­ent.

TWEED COAST, NSW

The num­ber – pro­nounced sev­eneigh­teen – pays homage to the iconic mid-en­gined race car that won every­where from the Targa Flo­rio to the Nur­bur­gring

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