Driving Opposite Ends Of The Porsche 718 Spectrum

My only real hangup with the six-speed is its tall ratios in the lower gears: In the 718 S, second gear takes you all the way to 78 mph and third goes to around 100 mph. Couple that with a non-overdrive six-speed and you end up with a gearbox you don't need to shift all that much. You'll shift anyway because it's fun, but it's hard to run the car to redline on the street.

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Photo credit: Mark Urbano/Porsche

While the engines represented a big unknown for the 718, no one worried about the handling. The previous Boxster and Cayman were considered some of the best handling sports cars, regardless of price, but with the 718, Porsche made notable chassis improvements. Notably, a revised rear subframe and steering from the 911 Turbo.

Both the Boxster and Cayman offer all the handling goodness you'd expect from a relatively lightweight (2994 lb to 3054 lb, depending on trim) mid-engine sports car. My two testers were equipped with Porsche Torque Vectoring–which brakes the inside rear wheel in cornering for sharper turn-in–and PASM adaptive dampers. The Cayman S had PASM Sport suspension, an option on the 718 S that lowers ride height by 20mm over the standard, non-adaptive suspension.

Both cars handle beautifully, with quick, intuitive responses, and a trustworthy, planted rear end. I didn't get to push either to their limits, but the Cayman S felt just a little sweeter than the Boxster. Owing to some combination of its Sport Suspension, lighter weight, and larger 20-inch wheels, the Cayman S was ever so slightly sharper than the Boxster, but not by a huge margin.

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Photo credit: Marc Urbano/Porsche

With the 718, you get the ever-satisfying sensation that the car pivots right behind you, even at low speeds. Steering is electric, so it doesn't offer much feel, but it's about as good as modern steering gets. It's a quick ratio, 15.0:1 on-center to 12.5:1, and regardless of what mode you're in, the weighting feels uncannily natural. Honestly, unless you're some insane sort of pursuit that believes Porsche went downhill when it added radiators to its cars, you won't feel shortchanged by the steering.

Even with the adaptive dampers in their stiffest setting, the 718's ride is perfectly compliant. The difference between Normal and Sport chassis settings are slight at best, offering a nice balance between ride comfort, with good handling. Engineers at Porsche are wise to recognize the "sporty" doesn't equal harshly stiff.

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Photo credit: Marc Urbano/Porsche

Porsche also fit larger brakes to each 718 model–the base 718 gets the same units as the previous S model, while the 718 S shares its front rotors with the 911 Carrera. Pedal effort in both cars was surprisingly light, but you get used to it. All of the other controls are light, so you wouldn't want a stiff brake pedal, anyways. You can order carbon ceramic brakes as an option on the 718, but at $7400, that seems like overkill, considering the standard brakes are perfectly fine.

So, take all that sports car goodness, and then add in the fact that the Boxster and Cayman remain as practical and usable as ever. This has always been the fundamental appeal of these cars: No, they might not be as hardcore as their Lotus or Alfa Romeo competitors, but they're infinitely more livable. What good is a sports car if it's a pain to use?

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Photo credit: Marc Urbano/Porsche

The 718 has a lovely, well-built interior, a new infotainment system–which I honestly didn't play with much; too busy driving–and two decent sized trunks. That the 718 Boxster and Cayman look gorgeous is just the cherry on top.

Do the Boxster and Cayman lose something by abandoning natural aspiration? Yes. The flat-fours aren't the sweetest sounding engines in the world, and some might miss the old motor's high-revving nature. All told though, it's a minor loss because these are still some of the finest sports cars you can buy.

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Source : https://sports.yahoo.com/news/driving-opposite-ends-porsche-718-161940960.html

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