Porsche adds 718 designation to Boxster and Cayman for 2016

Published: 10 December 2015

► 718 is new number for Boxster, Cayman
► Mid-life update brings turbo 4cyl engines
► 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman due 2016

Porsche has announced that its Boxster and Cayman models will soon get a number as well as a name. That number is 718 – which Porsche fans will immediately recognise from the firm’s racing history as the designation given to a series of open-top racing cars between 1957 and 1962.

The name change coincides with a mid-life makeover that is also set to introduce four-cylinder turbo engines. The Porsche 718 Cayman and Porsche 718 Boxster will join the modern line-up in 2016.

Read CAR's first drive of the first Porsche 911 in the CAR+ archive from 1965.

What’s this about turbo engines in the new Boxster and Cayman?

We began reporting on Porsche’s new family of flat-four turbo engines back in 2014, and spotted the updated ‘981.2’ Boxster out testing them in August this year. Our initial information was that the range would span from 1.6 to 2.5 litres, but more recent information suggests the 718 Cayman and Boxster will use 2.0-litre and 2.5-litre variants initially.

We expect the regular Cayman and Boxster to be powered by the 2.0-litre, producing approximately 240bhp, while the S and GTS variants will use the 2.5, with 300bhp and 370bhp, respectively.

The new 718 Boxster out on test

As this suggests, the turbos will replace the current naturally aspirated line-up in its entirety. So no more six-cylinder Boxsters or Caymans – although we’ve got our fingers crossed for a reprieve when it comes to the next GT4 model…

Oh Porsche, what have you done? CAR's first encounter with the 991.2 all-turbo Porsche 911 on CAR+.

And the 718 Cayman is really going to be cheaper than the 718 Boxster?

According to Porsche, absolutely: ‘The Roadster will be positioned at a higher price level than the Coupé – as is done for the 911 models.’

This reverses the current situation, which has always seen the more heavily performance orientated Cayman priced higher than the Boxster. Although to be honest, there’s not very much in at all these days, with present pricing opening at £39,553 for the Boxster and £39,694 for the Cayman. We suspect the difference might be greater come the 718s’ introduction next year…

Has Porsche much history with four-cylinder cars?

Loads. In fact, the very first Porsche car, the 356, was a four-pot, as were early 911s, and there have been plenty of four-cylinder Porsche since then. Bringing things bang up to date, the 919 Hybrid LMP1 racer that won Le Mans and the overall FIA World Endurance Championship this year also uses a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine, albeit in unusual V4 configuration.

The early 718s that have donated their digits to the updated Cayman and Boxster were the direct descendants of the legendary Porsche 550 Spyder, and started life as four-cylinder, two-seater, open-top racing cars. Highly successful in competition, the underlying ‘RSK’ chassis even suited single-seater conversion, which eventually lead to the 718 competing in Formula One. And there was even a 718 GTR Coupé, thus the figure suits the Cayman as well.

By CJ Hubbard

Former CAR magazine associate editor, road tester, organiser, extremely variable average wheel count