Friday, April 22, 2016

Porsche 718 Boxster vs. Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class

The Porsche 718 was once known to be a legend in its motorsport heritage and for 2016, the legendary name was been resurrected as the minor change for Porsche's open-top midship roadster, the Boxster.

2017 Porsche 718 Boxster

So, is this the Porsche fans are looking for? It can be a yes or a no because apart from its similar styling from the previous Boxster 981, the new 718 Boxster had its old naturally-aspirated engines thrown away and in place, this open-top sportscar had this; a choice of four-cylinder turbocharged engines that doesn't sound like what enthusiasts hoped for.

Let's start with the two-litre version, which replaced the old Boxster's 2.7-litre boxer engine, produces 300PS of power and 380Nm of torque. Equipped with the PDK and the Sport Chrono package, it can do 0-100lph in 4.7 seconds and onwards to 275kph. So, if you need to compare the base 718 with that kind of performance, perhaps, let's pick a decent target for the purpose.

2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class

Perhaps, let's go for this. The all-new SLC-Class, the replacement to the twenty-year old SLK. Specifically, let's try the range-topping SLC 300 for a while because I have something in store later on. This model comes with a 2.0L 4-cylinder turbocharged engine, just like the base 718 Boxster, but it produces 55PS less power and 10Nm less torque, but unlike the 718's 7-speed double clutch transmission, the new SLC comes with the brand new 9G-TRONIC gearbox, which sounds too much for an automatic gearbox but at least it's not as jerky as the 718's double clutch gearbox, which shifts fasts but less enjoyable than the 718's manual gearbox.

Okay, enough about the lesser ones, what about the range-toppers? This is where the conversation gets super spicy, indeed. In the range-topping 718 Boxster S, it has the new 2.5L 4-cylinder turbo engine, which produces 350PS of power and 420Nm of torque. With that jerky PDK equipped, it can get through 100kph in less than 4.2 seconds and onwards to 285kph.

2017 Mercedes-AMG SLC43

Onto the brand new Mercedes-AMG SLC43, probably not the best AMG to keep in your garage, it comes with AMG's first ever 3.0L V6 twin turbo engine which produces a more powerful 367PS of power and 520Nm of torque. With the 9G-Tronic mated, it can do 0-100kph in 4.7 seconds and top-speed normally limited to 250kph.

First and foremost, why 43? We get used to the 65s, the 63s, and the 45s of the AMG lineup but with the 43 naming on the hot SLC, which replaces the once graceful SLK55 AMG in the range, looks like the road for an all-turbocharged AMG lineup is complete but at what cost you may ask? Nope, not the downsizing stuff like I saw with the AMG GT and today's C63, it's this 43er that will soon cause misery for the AMG fans everywhere, and with the SLC43 AMG, feels like that the AMG we all know is gone and went into something hard water rather than faith in science.

Switch the engine on and what do you hear on its new 3.0L V6 twin turbo engine? Well, unless you get the roof open, it sounds like any other car rather than a mighty roar that harkens back to naturally aspirated V8s from the past. It's the same thing with the 2.5L version of the new 718 Boxster S because even when you engage in its sportiest setting while driving through the tunnels, nope. You hear nothing but a commoner's engine noise with no roar and no bite at all. Turbocharging for sportscars isn't as what the speedo boys hoped for, perhaps next time, they should learn from the speedo boys who are better at turbocharging cars than the manufacturers so they can get a better noise for their sportscars.

While settling down the noise issue, are these new roadsters cloaked in silence when it comes to dynamics? In the 718 Boxster, its dynamics is what you called "cloaked in silence" because despite its volume lowered in the engine noise, its handling attributes still as sharp as ever. It may have a name derived from the legendary 718 RS in the last century but the way it behaves, courtesy of its improved chassis and suspension, is something you can't deny.

What about the SLC43? Just like the old SLK55, the new V6-powered entry to the AMG clan is going to have a hard time to master its handling capabilities. Underestimate with this car and you'll pay a very painful price when it spun off or going off-course. It's going to remind you of the great V6-powered Jaguar F-Type convertible it sets it sights on. Although beautiful to look at, its dynamic character will be prove too dangerous for the freshmen, unless if they know how to use it.

Should you buy it? The Porsche 718 Boxster starts at 53,646 Euros for the base model while the S model starts at 66,141 Euros . The SLC, in its base SLC 180 meanwhile, starts at 34,927 Euros while the AMG SLC43 starts at 59,887 Euros. Yes, the V6-powered AMG is less expensive to own than the slightly-less enjoyable 718 Boxster S, but truth be told, neither is enjoyable unless these two open-top machines know how to set things right to keep the drivers happy and want to drive one of them as long as they please.

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