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Porsche enhances 718 Boxster and Cayman with performance-oriented T model

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Article by Damon Lowney
Photos courtesy Porsche

If you’ve looked beyond the 718 Boxster or Cayman for an S, GTS, or even higher performance model, you’re not alone. But yesterday Porsche unveiled the 718 Boxster and Cayman T, giving us a new reason to consider a Porsche with the base engine.

The base engine, in this case, is a mid-mounted turbocharged 2.0-liter flat-four making 300 horsepower and sending it to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual or seven-speed PDK automatic transmission. This is Porsche’s least-powerful engine fitted to a sports car at the moment, yet all 718s can dispatch 0-60 miles per hour in less than five seconds. That’s nothing to sniff at.

Porsche took measures to reduce the car’s weight, including fabric interior door-pull straps instead of plastic levers, sport seats with electric backrest adjustment, and, crucially, the removal of the Porsche Communications Management (PCM) unit in the dashboard. In the US, PCM is a requirement because regulations necessitate backup cameras and, in turn, a screen to display what the cameras see. In a European press release, Porsche says the 718 T’s weight (applied to both the Cayman and Boxster) with a manual transmission is 2,976 pounds, which is curiously heavier than a North American-spec 718 by 32 pounds. Porsche says that a new gasoline particulate filter (no word on whether it will be installed on North American models) offset the meager weight savings, meaning that US-spec cars with mandatory PCM units could be even heavier. We’ve asked Porsche what the 718 T will weigh in our market and will update this post as soon as possible. For those who are wondering, with PDK the 718 T tips the scales at 3,042 pounds (again, European market numbers).

So if the 718 T doesn’t offer meaningful weight savings, then why should anyone care? If you were looking at a 718 and had to have options such as larger wheels, sport exhaust, torque vectoring, short shifter (for manuals), electronic or mechanical limited slip differential, active drivetrain mounts, Sport Chrono package with several drive modes, GT sport steering wheel, gloss black trim on the instrument panel and center console, etc., then you’d end up paying more than if you just bought a 718 T, which includes all that. On top of those bits, there are other features standard on the T that can’t be ordered on the base car, such as 20-millimeter lower sport PASM suspension and a dynamic gearbox mount. There are also options for the T that can’t be ordered on a base car, including carbon-fiber bucket seats.

The things that make the 718 T are not going to actually enhance performance in any meaningful way. Just look at the 0-60 miles-per-hour times of 4.9 seconds with the manual, 4.7 seconds with PDK, and 4.5 seconds with PDK and Sport Plus mode engaged — they are exactly the same as a base 718. Instead, the sum of the 718 T’s performance parts will likely enhance the feeling of performance and connection to the road to increase driving enjoyment, much like the rear-wingless 911 GT3 Touring does now with its back-to-basics approach to high performance. For this writer, the 300-hp 718 looks even more appealing as a T. We’re interested to see whether the market thinks the same. No word on North American pricing, but prices start at 65,070 Euro in Europe.

Full Porsche Press Release

The new Porsche 718 T – reduced to maximum driving pleasure

Stuttgart. With the 718 T, Porsche has transferred the puristic design of the 1968 911 T to its range of two-seater sports cars. The new model in the Boxster and Cayman ranges combines the 220 kW (300 PS) turbo four-cylinder flat engine with a particularly emotional Porsche driving experience. The high-performance character of the T models is emphasised by an extensive equipment package, which includes 20-inch alloy wheels, the PASM sports chassis lowered by 20 millimetres – which is being offered in combination with the 2.0-litre turbocharged engine for the first time in this range – the shortened gearshift, on which the gears are emblazoned in red, and the Sport Chrono package. These features can only be enjoyed in combination with the basic engine in the 718 T. Porsche is offering both the Boxster and Cayman variants with six-speed gearbox and Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV), including mechanical rear axle differential locking. Porsche dual-clutch transmission (PDK) is also available as an option. 

Traditionally, “T” stands for “Touring” in Porsche models, and is synonymous with driving pleasure in its purest form. The 718 T will be most at home on winding country roads, offering the joy of dynamic driving as its ultimate goal. The two-seater accommodates this philosophy through a pared down range of features. These include black door pulls in the door panels and sports seats with electric two-way adjustment, black Sport-Tex centre sections and the “718” logo embroidered on the headrests.

The Porsche Communication Management (PCM) module has also been replaced by a large storage compartment, though buyers who do not wish to forego the entertainment system may order it at no extra charge. Put together, these measures balance out the additional weight created by the installation of the gasoline particulate filter (GPF).

In the interior, the character of the 718 T is highlighted through a number of emphatically sporty touches: luxurious padding and leather covering means the convenient, 360-millimetre GT sports steering wheel with Mode switch offers a particularly secure grip. Other “Boxster T” or “Cayman T” logos adorn the black instrument dials. The decorative trims of the instrument panel and central console gleam in a glossy black finish. “Boxster T” or “Cayman T” logos also appear on the door entry strips.

The exterior of the Porsche 718 T is characterised by its powerful appearance. With 20-inch alloy wheels painted in high-gloss titanium grey, combined with the PASM sports chassis with 20-millimetre lowered body, it simply looks outstanding on the road. Agate grey mirror shells and “718 Boxster T” or “718 Cayman T” logos on the sides declare the model variant, which can also be identified from the rear, by the centrally positioned sports exhaust with black, chrome-plated twin tailpipes. In terms of exterior colours, buyers can choose from black, Indian Red, Racing Yellow and white as well as Carrara White, Deep Black and GT Silver metallic colours. Porsche is also offering Lava Orange and Miami Blue as special colours. Adjusted for equipment, 718 T buyers can enjoy a price advantage of 5 – 10% compared to a similarly equipped basic model.

The 220 kW (300 PS) turbocharged flat engine accelerates the Porsche 718 T powerfully and boasts up to 7,500 revolutions. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine reaches its maximum torque of 380 Nm at 2,150/min and has an unladen weight of 1,350 (PDK: 1,380) kilograms. Thanks to a weight-to-power ratio of 4.5 (4.6) kg/PS, it can accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in 5.1 (4.7) seconds. The vehicle’s top speed is 275 km/h.

The Sport Chrono package, included as standard for the 718 T, offers Normal, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual driving modes, which can be selected using the Mode switch on the steering wheel. Sport and Sport Plus activate sportier characteristics in both the engine management system and the accelerator, with the automatic dual-clutch function supporting you as you move down the gears in the manual transmission. Sport Plus further hones the handling of the 718 T by ensuring sportier configuration of the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), Porsche Active Drivetrain Mounts (PADM) adaptive body positioning and the optional Porsche dual-clutch transmission. In combination with PDK, the Launch Control function and the Sport Response button in the centre of the Mode switch are also available for use.

One special feature of this model is its dynamic gearbox mount – the PADM system, which minimises vibrations in the engine/gearbox area and reduces movements that could affect driving dynamics as a result of the total mass of the drivetrain. This combines the advantages of hard and soft gearbox mounts: driving behaviour becomes noticeably more precise and stable during changes in load and on fast curves. Driving comfort is unaffected on uneven roads.

The Porsche 718 Cayman T costs from 63,047 euros in Germany and the 718 Boxster T from 65,070 euros, including value added tax and country-specific equipment. The new models are available to order now in EU28 and other markets applying the same standards.

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