2021 Porsche 718

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Updated: February 9, 2021

2021 Porsche 718

The 2021 Porsche 718 is a rear-wheel-drive, two-seat sports car offered in Cayman coupe and Boxster roadster body styles. It has lovely looks, with a choice of either a turbo-4 or flat-6 engine, and two smooth transmissions, a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic.

We can’t think of a car that’s more fun to drive than the Porsche 718, with its ready power, mid-engine balance, quick steering, masterful handling, and fabulous grip.

For 2021, it adds more standard equipment, including heated seats, adaptive bi-xenon headlights, and Apple CarPlay compatibility. There are two new GTS 4.0 models, both powered by the 4.0-liter flat-6 that makes 394 hp. There’s also a new limited-edition Boxster 25 model with styling cues from the original concept car.

The Boxster and Cayman carry the rounded curves of the legendary Porsche 911, but create their own style, with unique headlights, character lines that lead into large rear cooling ducts. Overall the 718 is smaller and sprightlier.

Inside, the 718 recalls the 911 with an excess of buttons on a wide center console, with a smaller screen.

The 2.0-liter turbo-4 in the least powerful 718 still makes 300 hp, while the most powerful flat-6 makes 414 hp, with 0-60 mph times running from 4.9 seconds down to 4.2 seconds.

The mid-engine layout and low curb weight results in beautiful balance and astounding agility. The tires offer tremendous grip, the steering has great response and feedback, the brakes are strong, and the smiles are unlimited. The 718 can be turned into a track-day athlete with many optional performance goodies, including adaptive dampers, carbon-ceramic brakes, additional drive modes, and lower ride heights.

The base 718, with the 2.0-liter turbo-4 and 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, is EPA rated at 21 mpg city, 27 highway, 24 combined. With the 6-speed manual transmission it gets 20/26/22 mpg.

There’s a larger turbo-4 engine, 2.5 liters, and it gets 19/25/23 mpg with the twin-clutch transmission, and 19/24/21 mpg with the manual.

The 4.0-liter flat-6 GTS models get the same 21 mpg combined with the twin-clutch, and 19 mpg combined with the manual. GT4 and Spyder models get 18/4/20 mpg with the automatic and 17/23/19 mpg with the manual.

The Porsche 718 hasn’t been crash-tested, and won’t be because of the low number of 718s made.

Model Lineup

Made in Germany, the 718 lineup includes base, T, S, and GTS models for both body styles, plus the high-performance Cayman GT4 and Boxster Spyder.

Standard equipment on base 718s includes leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, manually adjustable heated sport seats, auto-dimming mirrors, adaptive bi-xenon headlights, Apple CarPlay compatibility, satellite radio, a 7.0-inch touchscreen, and 18-inch alloy wheels with summer performance tires.

The Boxster T runs $72,350 and Cayman T $70,250. T models come with the base engine but add lots of performance equipment, including adjustable dampers, a 0.8-inch lower ride height, limited-slip differential with torque vectoring, the Sport Chrono package with additional drive modes and an analog and digital stopwatch, a short-throw shifter, and sportier seats.

At the top of the lineup, the Boxster Spyder runs $98,650 and the Cayman GT4 costs $101,550. Both have a 414-hp version of the 4.0-liter flat-6, and the T models’ performance bits, plus lightweight suspension components; adjustable toe, camber, and anti-roll bars; bigger brakes; a fixed rear wing (Cayman only); door pull loops; and leather and Alcantara seats.

Exterior

The 2021 Porsche 718 is heavily influenced by the iconic design of its 911 sibling, with similar curves, yet it has a look of its own. In particular, the headlights are nearly triangular, unlike the classic round headlights of the 911. A center exhaust outlet is another touch that differs from the 911.

The 718 Cayman coupe and 718 Boxster roadster share a wide nose that channels the discontinued 918 hypercar. The nose drops back into flanks that are highlighted by sculpted character lines, which lead into massive functional air intakes to cool the mid-mounted engine. The rounded look crests to create haunches over the wheels, and dips down in the front, middle, and rear.

The Boxster roadster presents a cohesive design whether the top is up or down. The top
comes in a choice of colors.

Interior

It’s one of life’s great pleasures to settle in the sports-car cabin of the 718. It’s comfortable, sporty, and ergonomically sound, with fine fit and finish, high-quality materials and a wide range of trim choices.

The wide center console has many switches and knobs, rising to the dash to create a T shape; it’s a sporty, simple, and timeless look.

The 718 is a pure sports car, with just two bucket seats that are well-contoured and supportive. There are available sport seats that are narrower.

The 718 has both front and rear trunks, but both are small; the front is 5.6 cubic feet for both the Cayman and Boxster, while in the rear, the Cayman has 9.7 cubic feet but the Boxster only 4.4 cubic feet. A golf bag will have to ride along in the passenger seat.

Driving Impressions

The 2.0-liter turbo-4 in base and T models makes 300 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque to motivate the 718 from 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds. The 2.5-liter turbo-4 in S models increases the power 350 hp and 309 lb-ft of torque, while cutting the 0-60 mph sprint to 4.4 seconds. Neither engine provides the signature Porsche flat-6 thrum, however.

The 4.0-liter flat-6 makes 394 hp in the GTS and 414 hp in the GT4 and Spyder models. It makes the right noises and cuts the 0-60 mph time to 4.3 seconds in the GTS and 4.2 seconds in the GT4/Spyder. It also delivers the highest top speed of 189 mph.

All models come standard with a crisp-shifting 6-speed manual transmission, though the 7-speed dual-clutch automatic can shift faster than a human and provide quicker lap times.

The acceleration is thrilling, but the 718 is even more fun in the corners. Its quick, direct steering provides beautiful feedback. Strong brakes stop it quickly, too. The handling gets even better with options such as adaptive dampers, lower ride heights, revised engine and transmission mounts, and sportier driving modes.

Final Word

The 2021 Porsche 718 is one of the most enjoyable cars to drive, period. It’s beautiful with a roof, or without, and the list of available features is lengthy. We’d spend up for the brilliant flat-6 engine and twin-clutch transmission.

 

—by Sam Moses with driving Impressions by The Car Connection