Porsche Adds ‘718’ to Cayman and Boxster, Solves Everything

But will the grumblings of purists still be heard above the quiet four-cylinder engine?

The next-generation Cayman and Boxster will be powered by a turbocharged flat-four engine—this we already knew. What we weren't expecting was for Porsche to rename their smallest sports cars.

But so they have done. The Cayman is now the 718 Cayman; the Boxster is now the 718 Boxster. It seems like a small change, but there's perhaps a little insecurity involved here.

If BMW wants to turf a V-8 for a twin-turbo straight-six, your average Bimmer fan can digest the change. Inline-six? Sure, that fits the BMW brand image. But if the glorious, wailing flat-six that gives a modern Porsche its character is silenced, what then? Will people really want a Boxster if it sounds like a Subaru WRX? Remember that Porsche test-driver Walter Röhrl has gone on record saying, “At least it's not a four-cylinder turbo like in the next Boxster. That sounds like a Volkswagen Beetle, I'm not kidding you! I tell the guys, ‘You're joking with this sound, right?’ But they just say they are working on it. I'm sure they will get it right.”

Maybe. The 718 designation is a throwback to the 718 RSK, the successor to the 550 Spyder. It campaigned with a 1.5-liter flat-four, and Porsche is hoping to spread a little of that creamy heritage over their new Boxster/Cayman combo, like mayo on whole-wheat bread. When it comes to four cylinders, Porsche would certainly rather you remember the 718 instead of, say, the economy-minded VW-engined 914.

Early reports indicate that the base Boxster and Cayman get 240 horsepower, the S models 300 hp, and a range-topping GTS version around 370. The cars will now be more mechanically similar—perhaps no more minor power bump for the Cayman—and the Boxster will now be the more expensive of the two. We just hope they keep the Spyder and the GT4 with six-cylinder power.