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 mid-engined 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 nit-picking. The 718 Boxster might now be an expensive sports car, but it’s also a brilliant one.
4.0 OUT OF 5 STARS
LIKE: Amazing chassis and handling; new torque
DISLIKE: Getting expensive; engine noise compared to the old flat six
2017 Porsche 718 Boxster S specifications
Engine: 2497cc flat-4, DOHC, 16v, turbo
Power: 257kW @ 6500rpm
Torque: 420Nm @ 1900-4500pm
0-100km/h: 4.6sec (claimed)