Published in the July 2017 issue of “Die Porsche Kassette”

Ⓒ2016 Technolab /

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Happy Porsche'ing,

The Third generation Boxster appeared at the 2012 Geneva Auto Show as model year 2013 and was a new car altogether.  This new generation offered a 40% stiffer chassis, wider front and rear tracks, longer wheelbase and a modest weight reduction, coupled with a new exterior look with bolder design and bigger air intakes which made it more aggressive looking. 

It was given the official designation “981” and kept the normally aspirated, flat six, 91A-type engines in 2.7 (down from 2.9) and 3.4 Liter displacements from the 987.2 cars.  Again, as is customary, Porsche upped the ante by offering 261 and 315  HP respectively for the base and S models.

The MSRPs were: $49,500 and $60,900 respectively.

Both versions could be ordered with a manual 6 speed or an automated manual double-clutch 7 speed (PDK) transmission.  This 2nd. generation PDK was much “smarter” than the previous and is a joy to drive on the streets or on the track.  Not only is the car quicker because of the PDK transmission, but some of the factory options, such as Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) and the Sport Chrono Package that now included active transmission mounts, made the car much quicker than the manual 6 speed to the tune of 0.3 seconds in a 0 to 62 mph run.

The Boxster 981 was offered on a brand new chassis which was 40% more torsionally rigid, with a wider front track (wider by 40 mm), a wider rear track ( by 18 mm), a longer wheelbase (by 60 mm), and Porsche managed to also make them lighter by about 75 lbs. when compared with the 987.2.  The reworked engine packages also offer more power and were more fuel efficient than their predecessors.

For model year 2013 the Boxster S was offered with 311 HP and then bumped to 326 HP for model year 2014.

MSRPs were $50,400 for the base and $60,900 for the S models respectively.

For 2014 Porsche did not make any big changes in the Boxster lineup except for a few new color options and a bit more HP due to tuning. 

MSRPs were $50,450 (265 HP) and $62,100 (315 HP).

The BIG news of 2014 was the offering of the much anticipated Cayman GT4 following with the 2015 Boxster Spyder.  These versions came with the normally aspirated, flat-six, 3.8 L engines found in the Carrera S models, making 385 HP.

Both models offered specially tuned suspensions with the front components coming straight off the Carrera GT3.

But all the hype in 2014 and 2015 would change to mixed emotions for the die-hard Porsche mid-engine lovers. 

In 2016 Porsche announced changes to the lineup: 

1.- Starting with model year 2017 the model designations would change from the 981               the 718. 

2.- The Cayman would now have a lower MSRP than the Boxster and ...

... the Boxster and the Cayman would be offered with Turbocharged flat-four engines, instead of the normally aspirated flat-six that had been in use since the inception of the Boxster 20 years prior in1997. 


The factory promoted that the 718 model cars would make more torque and HP and would be better all-around cars but when the first ones we tested by motorsports journalists and then by the general public, the BIG and almost unanimous complaint was the engine sound  The powerful and intoxicating engine growl to which we had all become accustomed and drawn to when the right pedal was put to the floor now became the put-put sound of a Subaru.  Very disappointing!  Add to that the fact that you can feel the turbo lag from the base Boxster’s 2.0L (300 HP) powerplant.  The “S” sports a 2.5L (350 HP) engine and although there is no discernible turbo lag, the Subi sound comes through loud and clear.

The MSRP for the 718 Boxster was $57,400 and for the “S” it was $69,800.

Sales of both the Boxster and Cayman platforms plummeted. 

As an enthusiast and owner of a mid-engined Porsches I sure hope this is not a trend that terminates production of the platforms. 

I would love to be able to see the 2037 version of the Boxster cellebrate 40 years of production!