Hu­ra­can LP 580-2

New 718 Boxster S is pricey but worth it

Motor (Australia) - - FIRST FANG -

Delet­ing a Lam­borgh­ini's front drive­shafts sounds like a great idea in the­ory... but in prac­tice?

EN­GINE 2497cc flat-4, DOHC, 16v, turbo / POWER 257kW @ 6500rpm / TORQUE 420Nm @ 1900-4500rpm / WEIGHT 1355kg / 0-100KM/H 4.6sec (claimed) / PRICE $143,100

WHEN PORSCHE an­nounced that it was fi­nally fol­low­ing con­ven­tion and re-po­si­tion­ing the 718 Boxster above its hard-top Cay­man cousin it was in­evitable the price would creep up­wards, but an as-tested sticker of $176,390 for a Boxster S with­out metal­lic paint, a PDK gear­box or car­bon-ce­ramic brakes cer­tainly raises an eye­brow. Yes, it is now eas­ily pos­si­ble to spec a $200,000 Boxster.

That is an aw­ful lot of money for a car that started at $128,900 in its pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion, but there are a cou­ple of mit­i­gat­ing fac­tors. First, most of the op­tional equip­ment isn’t strictly nec­es­sary. You could very fea­si­bly or­der a stan­dard $143,100 Boxster S and be very con­tent, though a few mo­ments with Porsche’s on­line con­fig­u­ra­tor adding worth­while kit like 20-inch Car­rera wheels ($2710), PASM adap­tive dampers ($2710), torque vec­tor­ing with lock­ing dif­fer­en­tial ($3190) and sports ex­haust ($4300) soon has the price spi­ralling to­wards $170K once again.

The sec­ond, more im­por­tant, mit­i­gat­ing fac­tor is it’s worth it. We’ve driven the new Boxster at both the in­ter­na­tional and lo­cal launches but this is the first op­por­tu­nity we’ve had to cover long dis­tances on our favourite roads and in the process the 718 has ce­mented it­self as a sim­ply sub­lime sports car.

Of course, the new en­gine is still a con­tentious is­sue. Any­one com­ing fresh to the Boxster will won­der what the fuss is about, as the 2.5-litre turbo flat-four sounds okay in a gruff kind of way, but cur­rent own­ers in love with the flat-six scream may be in for a shock. Per­haps we’re feel­ing more kindly to­wards the new four-pot as mem­o­ries of the old six fade, but there is com­pen­sa­tion in the form of masses of ex­tra speed.

Out­puts of 257kW/420Nm might not grab too many head­lines, but this is eas­ily a mid-12-sec­ond car, which on the road feels in­cred­i­bly fast. Fur­ther­more, the mas­sive in­crease in torque changes the way you drive the car; fi­nally the Boxster has the grunt to tax its chas­sis and thanks to the beau­ti­fully cal­i­brated Sports ESP set­ting you can use the throt­tle to steer the car in tight cor­ners.

The chas­sis re­acts per­fectly to your ev­ery in­put – though the mi­dengined lay­out won’t nec­es­sar­ily suf­fer fools – and has that uniquely Porsche char­ac­ter­is­tic of be­ing able to take ev­ery­thing you throw at it. It’s im­pos­si­ble to imag­ine the Boxster los­ing its com­po­sure or wilt­ing un­der the strain at road speeds.

Gripes are few. The PASM sus­pen­sion could use a lit­tle more com­pli­ance in com­fort mode, the gearshift doesn’t feel quite as sweet as it once did and there should be a but­ton to turn off the auto rev-match func­tion, but this is al­most nit­pick­ing. The 718 Boxster might now be an ex­pen­sive sports car, but it’s also a bril­liant one.

718 in­te­rior as good as they come, with great ma­te­ri­als and a per­fect driv­ing po­si­tion

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