Welcome to the Hooniverse News! As always, this is a weekly recap of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. This week: Porsche brings RS goodness to the Boxster for the first time, Ford finally gives us the new US-spec Ranger, some teasers from Lexus for two new SUVs, plus your news for the week.
Porsche 718 Spyder RS
As rumors of the next-generation Boxster being all-electric spread further, Porsche is unleashing the most powerful and radical gas-powered version yet. For the first time ever, the mid-engine roadster is getting an RS version just as its hard-top counterpart (Cayman) got last year. The goal was to build a Boxster with the most engaging and audibly pleasing driving experience imaginable. And a direct copy/paste of the Cayman GT4 RS in a Boxster with a manual soft top is certainly the best way anyone could have done it.
Porsche confirms the powertrain is identical to what was created for the Cayman GT4 RS. The Boxster Spyder RS uses the same 4.0-liter naturally-aspirated flat-six engine lifted from the 911 GT3 but slightly retuned to produce roughly 493 horsepower and 332 lb.-ft. of torque. Porsche’s insanely quick seven-speed PDK is the only transmission available, but anyone who’s used one can’t be too upset about that. 0-62 mph takes just 3.4 seconds. And there’s nothing between your ear holes and the wonderful noise it makes through a standard stainless steel sport exhaust system. Just like the Cayman GT4 RS, the Boxster Spyder RS has strategically-placed air inlets just behind the headrests for enhanced and unfiltered induction noise.
Aerodynamics are only slightly changed from what’s seen on the GT4 RS, otherwise the body is basically just like the Cayman’s but with no roof. It still has a standard carbon fiber-reinforced plastic hood with a wide air outlet over the bumper, two NACA ducts for brake cooling, and sideblades for enhanced downforce. But the front splitter is a tiny bit shorter in the Boxster Spyder RS and the big rear wing is replaced by a ducktail-style spoiler.
Other performance improving hardware is largely unchanged from the GT4 RS. That includes standard Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) with RS tuning and a 30mm reduction in ride height, Porsche Torque Vectoring with mechanical limited-slip differential, ball-jointed suspension bearings, and 20-inch forged aluminum wheels. Porsche says they set up the chassis to have razor-sharp steering precision as well as agile and extremely neutral handling. But if you want to, the ride height, camber, track, and anti-roll bar can all be adjusted individually. One thing that does change though compared to the GT4 RS is the Spyder RS’s spring and damper rates which have been reduced to achieve a more relaxed, “characteristically convertible-style” set-up.
Things like pricing and launch dates have not been announced yet.
Ford finally shows US-spec Ranger, Ranger Raptor
One of our fellow off-road experts already covered the details surrounding the Ranger Raptor, which is coming to the US for the first time later this year. Go there for all the glorious details. But the Raptor wasn’t the only thing they talked about. The latest international Ranger that’s been on sale in ‘Straya and Southeast Asia for over a year is finally arriving in US showrooms later this year. We can expect the same all-new styling as we’ve seen already, a bunch of new interior technology, and widened range of EcoBoost engines to power it all.
The Ranger is built on a strengthened and fully-boxed steel frame that’s been torture tested down under. The wheelbase and track have been extended two inches compared to the last model. Towing capacity is nearly best-in-class at 7,500-pounds (Chevy Colorado just beats it by 200 pounds) and it has a payload capacity of 1,805 pounds (which seems to be class-leading, for now) – for the most part, those numbers are similar to what the outgoing Ranger could do, depending on equipment and specification. When it comes to body configurations, that’s been decided for you. Every new Ranger is a SuperCrew cab configuration with a five-foot bed and I don’t expect that to change, except maybe for future Ford Pro contractor versions.
What hasn’t changed is the standard 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder gas engine which still produces a respectable 270 horsepower and 310 lb.-ft. of torque along with a ten-speed automatic to put that power down to the ground. What is new however is the addition of the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 from the F-150 and Bronco which produces 315 horsepower and 400 lb.-ft. of torque. That’s not some special engine reserved for the Raptor or anything either (Raptor has a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6), you can get that in the regular Ranger. That’s a ton of power for such a small truck.
Moving inside, it’s just about the same as what we saw in the international truck last year. There’s a big screen for infotainment in the middle, two available digital gauge cluster sizes, and more storage solutions like an upper glovebox, bigger door pockets, rear storage bins under the seats, and fold-flat rear seat backs. The bed will be easier to access through side steps integrated into the body just behind the rear tires (which are wide enough to fit two feet). An available 400-watt power inverter with an outlet in the bed will prove to be useful as will the widened cargo area between the wheel wells which is now more than four feet wide.
The Ford press release did not talk pricing or launch dates, but I’ve seen a base price of roughly $34,000 mentioned and ordering books should open within the next two months.
For more info on the rad as hell Ranger Raptor, check out our earlier coverage here.
Other coverage from the week
In addition to the Ranger Raptor coverage, there were also teasers from Lexus for two new vehicles – one of which is something entirely new. Lexus teased the TX, which our best guess has it as the fancier version of the Toyota Grand Highlander.
There’s also the GX, a replacement to their old-school body-on-frame 4WD SUV which might as well be considered ancient by today’s standards, however awesome it may be (so, every Toyota). The GX has earned a reputation for being a serious off-roader disguised as an upper class suburban family hauler – just ask Ross. So this could be a chance for Lexus to lean into that further and deliver a more rugged, adventure-ready SUV straight from the factory, as suggested by the mud featured prominently in the teaser shots.
What’s your news for the week?
So that’s all I’ve got for you this week, so now it’s your turn. If you saw anything, fixed something, broke everything, or otherwise did anything even remotely car related that you want to share with your fellow hoon, sound off in the comments.
Have a good weekend.
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