The Porsche Boxster is one of the German automaker’s most successful and distinctive cars.
And, when it launched 20 years ago, it all but saved Porsche from financial hardship.
Now, the Boxster has a new name and turbo power.
For 2017, Porsche has rechristened the Boxster the 718 Boxster.
The 718 designation is an homage to the company’s original four-cylinder 718 sports cars that raced in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
But the 718 will retain the Boxster’s signature mid-engine roadster form.
In 1986, Porsche was flying high. That year the company sold more than 30,000 cars in the US and Canada.
However, due to changes in Porsche’s product offerings, economic recession and shifts in consumer demand, the company’s sales dwindled to just 3,700 cars by 1993.
It wasn’t until the Boxster’s arrival in 1996 that the company’s sales began to rebound.
In 1996, Porsche sold 7,500 cars the US and Canada. By 1997, that number had nearly doubled to almost 14,000 cars.
The financial windfall from the worldwide release of the Boxster allowed Porsche to make the changes that put the company on the path to long-term success including the development of a new water-cooled engine for the iconic 911 as well as laying the ground work for the Cayenne SUV and Panamera sedan.
In 2015, Porsche sold more than 51,000 cars in the US alone and has some of the highest profit margins in the industry.
Like its namesake, the new 718 Boxster will also be powered a four cylinder engine in place of the outgoing six.
The standard 718 will come with a 2.0 turbocharged, boxer four-cylinder powerplant producing 300 horsepower while the up level S variant will get a 2.5 litre turbo unit kicking out 350 ponies.
For the driving purist, Porsche will continue to offer an old school six-speed manual transmission. However, the company’s Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) manu-matic transmission will be around for those who don’t want to bother with shifting gears.
As a result, the standard 718 is capable of making the run to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds and a top speed of 170 mph. The more powerful 718 Boxster S can do the sprint in just 4.0 seconds and reach a top speed of 177.
In addition, both roadsters will be available with Porsche Active Suspension Management which offers drivers the ability to adjust the car’s performance characteristics.
The 2017 Porsche 718 Boxster starts at $56,000 while the 718 Boxster S starts at $68,400. Both cars are expected to arrive in US showrooms in late June of this year.