Setting aside the 911’s legendary status and even taking into consideration the 23 different versions currently on sale, that rear-engined sports car is not the best car Porche builds. That title now belongs to the 718 T. Porsche just took its entry-level mid-engine sports car and gave it the ‘Touring’ treatment. They’ve stripped out a few unnecessary extras to save weight, added a few performances parts and created a supremely well-balanced drivers’ car.
Porsche’s Touring trim level, recently reintroduced on the 911, is aimed at putting the focus back into the joy of driving and less on track times and lap records. An empty cargo space replaces the Porsche Communication Management infotainment system as standard (you can opt to have it installed) and nylon straps replace conventional door handles to save weight (admittedly, not much).
The charm of the new 718 T Cayman and Boxster is in full force when the base-level 296 horsepower turbo 2.0-liter flat-four is paired with Porsche’s Sport Chrono package. In a sports car weighing a little over 3,000 lbs, 296 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque are more than enough to keep things interesting for most drivers. But what they’ll need is a better way to control it all. The 718 T is lowered by nearly an inch and puts active suspension and a mechanical limited-slip differential to work in order to power out of turns flat and planted.
The most entertaining cars to drive on real-world roads aren’t the high horsepower headline grabbers. It’s cars like the MX-5, Subaru WRX and Corolla Hatch – well-rounded, compliant performers. The 718’s natural balance is only amplified by the handling upgrades. What you’ll get with the Touring upgrade is one of the more rewarding road-going experiences available: driving a (relatively) slow car, fast.
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