The Car Connection Porsche 718 Overview
The Porsche 718 Boxster and Cayman are a mid-engined, two-seat convertible or coupe that sit below the 911. The 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman were renamed in 2017 to more closely align with the mid-engine 718 from the 1950s and early 1960s. The 718 adopted a turbocharged flat-4 in 2017 that replaced a flat-6. A flat-6 has since been added.
Ranging in price from about $60,000 to more than $100,000 for a Cayman GT4, the Porsche 718 is a less-expensive alternative to the 911 but more expensive than sports car rivals.
In 2020, Porsche added the Cayman GT4 and Boxster Spyder that draw power from a 414-hp flat-6. They're hardcore editions of the two-seaters, with engines that purists clamored for in the new 718. For 2021, Porsche adds new GTS models, which use a 394-hp of the 4.0-liter flat-6 and come loaded with features.
Rivals for the 718 Boxster and Cayman include the BMW Z4/Toyota Supra siblings, Chevrolet Corvette, Jaguar F-Type, Nissan Z, and Porsche's own 911.
MORE: Read our 2021 Porsche 718 Boxster and Cayman review
The Boxster has been offered since the 1997 model year and the Cayman arrived for 2006. The Boxster was redesigned for the 2013 model year. The new Cayman arrived a year later, and it was named Motor Authority's Best Car To Buy 2014.
The 2017 model year saw a major rework for both body styles. The main change for 2017 was the addition of turbo-4 engine. In 2018, Porsche added GTS versions with a more-powerful version of the 2.5-liter turbo-4.
The base engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter flat-4 that makes 300 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. That engine is also used in the 718 T models, which were added for 2020 and come with a spate of performance parts and some items to lighten the cars.
The Porsche 718 S models get a 2.5-liter flat-4 with a turbocharger that uses variable turbine geometry to help put out 350 hp and 309 lb-ft of torque. Both engines have 35 more hp than the old 6-cylinder engines, and the 2.0-liter has 74 more lb-ft of torque while the 2.5-liter churns out an extra 43 lb-ft of torque. The 718 GTS models originally had 365 hp from the turbo-4, but now they make 394 hp from the 4.0-liter flat-6.
With the optional 7-speed dual-clutch PDK transmission (the other transmission choice is a 6-speed manual) and Sport Chrono Package, Porsche says the 718 Boxster accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds. With these same features, the 718 Boxster S hits 60 in 4.5 seconds. Top speeds are 170 and 177 mph, respectively.
The 394-hp GTS models cut the 0-60 mph time to 4.3 seconds and the GT4 and Boxster Spyder can hit 60 mph in 4.2 seconds.
Compared to the pre-2017 models, Porsche has tuned the suspension, improved the brakes, and made the electric power steering 10 percent more direct. The Sport Chrono Package adds an Individual mode that lets drivers adjust the various vehicle systems to taste. A Sport Response button for models with the PDK sharpens the responsiveness of the engine and transmission.
Two versions of the Porsche's adaptive suspension are offered. The base version has a 10-millimeter lower ride height and the Porsche Active Suspension Management Sport Suspension for the S, T, GTS, and GT4/Spyder models has a 20-millimeter lower ride height.
Every part of the 718 Boxster’s body, except for the front and rear luggage compartment lids, the windshield, and the convertible top, were massaged for the 2017 model. The front end has larger air intakes and redesigned bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights. LED headlights are available. Along the sides, the air inlets are larger. The 718 Boxster S gets 19-inch wheels, and 20-inch wheels are optional. At the back, the taillights have LEDs as well.
Inside, the dash was given a new design for 2017, with clean lines and smooth surfaces broken up only by the center stack and its button-filled controls. Porsche's infotainment interface was also updated. When ordered with the navigation system, it features an array of online services.
In most other ways—key dimensions, packaging, etc.—the 718 cars carried over the basics of the Boxster and Cayman, unchanged from 2016.
The 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman deliver the fun balanced handling that has been the hallmark of these cars. Both cars excel at tackling curves, but they are also quiet and comfortable when the pace is less frenetic. The well-appointed interiors, comfortable seats, and the Boxster's convenient power soft-top combine to create a pleasant driving experience that can range to raucous in the GT4 and Boxster Spyder.