It only takes one corner to fall in love with the Porsche 718.
For me, it was an exceedingly tight right-hander on an unfamiliar road in the Hill Country outside of Austin, Texas. I approached it thinking, "oh shit, I'm going way too fast," then hoping for the best, I turned the wheel hard, the car dove towards apex with ease, and thundered its way out, making me look better than I really am.Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
This sort of thing is what the Porsche 718 is all about, but much of the discussion surrounding the newly renamed Boxster and Cayman has been about their engines. Gone are Porsche's trademark naturally-aspirated flat-sixes, and in their place, controversially, are two turbocharged flat-fours displacing 2.0- and 2.5-liters.
In an era of widespread downsizing–or in Porsche speak, which sounds a lot like a line from Dilbert, right sizing–this decision is as unsurprising as the backlash that followed. Porsche's naturally aspirated flat-sixes are among the finest sports car engines in the world, and there's no way a turbo four could live up. I just drove a 718 Boxster and a 718 Cayman S, and if you can't get past the lack of two cylinders, you're missing the entire point.Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
The base 718 gets a 2.0-liter flat-four pumping out 300 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque, whereas the motor in the 718 S is bored out to 2.5 liters, producing 350 horsepower and 309 lb-ft of torque. On paper, these engines seem quite similar, and indeed, they share many components, but in reality, they feel quite different.
The standard motor has abundant torque through the rev range (peak torque is between 1900-4500 rpm), but also more turbo lag than its big brother. Lag is most noticeable when accelerating from a stop, but the turbo spools up quick enough to make it more a charming reminder that it's turbocharged than an actual issue.
Both the standard and S motor pull surprisingly hard to their 7500 rpm redlines, but it's the bigger motor that feels more responsive. That's because it uses a clever Variable Vane turbocharger and runs less boost than the 2.0-liter. The standard car feels quick, but never mind-blowingly so, while the S feels significantly quicker than its 350 horsepower suggests.Advertisement - Continue Reading Below Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
These are definitely sports car engines–they just have more torque than you're used to.
In terms of gearboxes, you can't go wrong with the standard six-speed manual or the optional seven-speed PDK dual-clutch. PDK might just be the greatest transmission in the world because it doesn't display any wonky dual-clutch characteristics in normal driving, but rips off quick shifts with authority when you're on it. It has paddle shifters, of course, but the automatic mode is so uncanny, you won't need them.
PDK-equipped 718s are quicker than their manual counterparts, and if you opt for the Sport Chrono pack, you get a Sport Response button that effectively functions as a 20-second push-to-pass. Even with the PDK's many upsides, though, I'd probably stick with the manual if it was my money.
Yes, the PDK is astoundingly good, but a manual suits the character of the 718 better. It's also a slick gearbox, with perfectly weighted action and crisp, well-defined gates. The clutch is light enough not to be a pain in everyday traffic, though it engages very close to the top of its travel. Its bite point is clear, though, so it doesn't take too long to get used to. Sport Chrono-equipped cars get automatic rev-matching in Sport and Sport+ modes, but it turns off in Normal mode or if you deactivate stability control.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Source : http://www.roadandtrack.com/new-cars/road-tests/a31106/porsche-718-test/Thank you for visit my website