Although the Boxster initially rode on the coattails of the legendary 911 when it debuted two decades ago, Porsche's roadster has since become an icon in its own right. For 2017, Porsche added 718 to its name as a nod to its motorsports pedigree, but otherwise this is still the same recognizable two-seater roadster the Boxster has always been. Significantly, the latest-generation Boxster loses two cylinders yet gains 35 horsepower. Has the magic, embodied by its fantastic handling, sound, and feel, been diluted?
We found the answer to this question to be mixed. While the new car gains in terms of measurable performance and fuel economy parameters, and it retains its spectacular handling agility, immediate responses, easy top operation, and premium cabin ambience, the car's power delivery and sound characteristics have been somewhat adulterated in the transition.
Any concern that a four-cylinder may not broadcast the right bravado is instantly erased, as the mid-mounted engine hums and barks just behind you. Acceleration is brisk; we measured a 0-60 mph time of just 4.4 seconds with our 300-hp base model. But in everyday driving, there's typically a slight delay before the rich torque supplies a big rush. Engage Sport mode, and the car changes its demeanor, sounding as if it is eager for a track day, complete with hearty exhaust "blats" on downshifts.