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The 718 Boxters are quicker, yes, but will Porsche fans go for four-cylinder engines?

Purchasing a downsized vehicle often means you get less of everything, including space and power. But there’s nothing downsized about Porsche’s new 718 Boxster and Boxster S companion, other than the engines located directly behind their cockpits.

Now into its 20th season (has it really been that long?) the Boxster gets a slightly elongated name that pays homage to the Porsche 718 RSK. That model successfully competed in a number of events, including the 1957 24 Hours of LeMans (France) endurance race.

If there’s one lesson the Stuttgart, Germany-based automaker has learned, it’s that Porsche worshipers embrace their favorite brand’s history and heritage like no other. It’s a lesson that many competitors and others have picked up on, especially when it comes to promoting iconic products that are not just limited to sports and specialty marques.

So, the 718 Boxster — its mid-engine Cayman coupe relation also gets the 718 designation — represents a celebration of past glory, but it’s wrapped in an updated body that remains true to the original. The nose has been slightly reshaped, including new headlight lenses, and the side air intakes have been enlarged. In back, the taillights are also evolutionary.

Lastly, both base and S versions have new 19- and 20-inch wheel designs, respectively. Note that the length, width and the distance between the front and rear wheels is virtually identical to that of the outgoing Boxster. The weight is close, too, having only increased by about 50 pounds.

Inside, the passenger compartment has undergone a minor tweaking, highlighted by new gauges and touch-screen display that houses the audio, communications and optional voice-activated navigation system. These changes only enhance what is arguably one of the most attractive and livable sports-car interiors to be found anywhere.

The “big” change, as you might have already figured out, is the smaller engines. For 2017, Porsche has replaced the six-cylinder powerplants with turbocharged four-cylinder units. Base models run with a 2.0-liter that makes 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. That’s a significant bump from the 265/207 rating of the previous base six-cylinder.

Move up to the 718 S and you’ll get a 2.5-liter turbo-four-cylinder with 350 horsepower and 309 pound-feet (previously 315/266). Note that the new base engine makes about the same overall power as the previous Boxster S engine.

You get your choice of a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed optional automated manual, called the PDK.

Jay Roncetti at Gaudin Porsche of Las Vegas said the dealership at 6800 Redwood St. has two 2017 Porsche Boxter 718 cars available for test drives.

“We’ve gotten a very favorable response and test drivers are pleasantly surprised by the horsepower and torque increases,” he said. “They’re also amazed by the drivability and handling of the car along with the power increases made by the smaller power plant.”

Roncetti said the model will attract a wide variety of buyers.

“The car is engineered for the auto enthusiast,” he said. “It’s a mid-engine roadster that will appeal to enthusiasts and nonenthusiasts alike.”

Porsche claims that the 718 Boxster will hit the 60-mph mark in 4.9 seconds (4.7 with the PDK), while the S does it in 4.4 with the six-speed, and 4.2 with the PDK. The numbers represent improvements over the previous times, but with significant increases in mid-range torque, that power will be more on-demand.

Note that the optional Sport Chrono package, available for PDK-equipped roadsters, further reduces these times with the help of a launch-control program. It interacts with a driver-controlled Sport Plus setting that adjusts the engine, transmission and suspension functions for on-track use.

Fuel economy isn’t a huge concern for Boxster buyers, but for the record, the base 718 with the PDK is rated at 22 mpg in the city and 30 on the highway.

And now comes the hard part. The 718 Boxster rings in at $57,000, including destination charges, which isn’t far off the cost of a new 460-horsepower Corvette convertible. That amount includes plenty of surface-scratching goodies, but Porsche holds back plenty of available content to tempt those with fatter wallets. Along with the $3,200 PDK option, you can add a sport exhaust system, fade-resistant ceramic brakes, genuine wood trim and sportier multi-adjustable seats covered in upgraded leather.

The $69,450 S has a bit more base equipment, but you can also add thousands in options to the sticker price.

Of course, what every 718 Boxster provides, in abundance, is top-down driving enjoyment that, given the car’s impressive skill set, is hard to match at any price.

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