Porsche is reaching deep into its sports car heritage in a plan to re-christen its entry-level Boxster and Cayman as the 718 series for the 2017 model year. The cars’ official names will be 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman, the numerical designation recalling the 718 model that replaced the 550A in 1957.
The new names will coincide with the adoption of a 2.0L turbocharged horizontally-opposed four-cylinder engine to be shared by the cars, a fitting change given the 718 used a 1.5L flat-four cylinder. In its press release, Porsche refers to the 2.0L engine in the 919 Hybrid LMP1 race car, leading us to believe the future Boxster/Cayman four-pot will share some hardware with that racing motor. It’s been suggested the turbo engine will make 240 hp in the base models, and around 300 in S trim, with GTS models to get the same engine tweaked for something like 370 hp. The current cars’ use a 2.7L flat six good for 265 hp in base form, S cars have a 3.4L that makes 315 hp, and the GTS gets a 330-hp version of that 3.4. For the record, Porsche says the 919’s turbo four is good for more than 500 hp, so 370 sounds feasible.
Another change will be a swap in the model hierarchy of the two models: the Boxster will become the premium choice relative to the coupe. The two cars’ prices have converged in recent years–the Cayman is now just $500 pricier than the Boxster–but at its introduction in 2005, the Cayman was thousands more expensive.
Porsche says it plans to tease us with details of the 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman over the course of 2016, so stay tuned.