Porschephiles are notorious for their complete and total fear of change, but they were right about one thing. It’s now damn difficult to distinguish the sound of a Porsche 718 from a Subaru WRX or STI.
When it became official that the new Porsche 718 Boxster and Cayman were switching from naturally aspirated flat-six engines to turbocharged flat-fours, the chorus responded with the usual anxiety and avalanche of complaints. Among these was the worry the classic mechanical rattle of a Porsche engine would evaporate, replaced by the nasty bass tones of a Subaru WRX.
Those worries are now legitimized courtesy of a new video that plays a dirty, dirty trick. First you see the familiar rump of a Subaru WRX, and the world still makes sense and feels right side up as the turbocharged boxer four-cylinder wakes from its slumber with a deep, throaty growl at idle. The camera then pans left, revealing that no, that noise is in fact spewing out the rear of a mid-engine Porsche sports car.
This hardly comes as a surprise, as much as we miss the delicious clatter of Porsche’s flat-sixes. On our first drive of the 718 Boxster we noted how much the new 2.5-liter flat-four sounds like an STI engine, although the Porsche mills feel more refined. In the cabin the sounds you hear are funneled in via an electric actuator and resonator, which results in a loud and fairly drone-heavy experience at least with the optional sport exhaust.
Noise aside, the flat-fours induce a different kind of fun, now that abundant low-end torque lets you break the rear rubber loose more easily with a generous plunge of your right foot. It’s also more efficient than the six-cylinder, but that’s just gravy, right?