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Hurrah! Porsche’s 4.0 flat-six has years of life left in it

The nat-asp 4.0 won't just make a fleeting appearance in the Cayman and Boxster

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Yesterday we found out the UK will ban sales of petrol-powered cars by 2035. And yesterday, Porsche confirmed to Top Gear that the 4.0-litre naturally aspirated flat-six it’s just slotted into the Boxster and Cayman could live on for at least half of the time between now and internal combustion’s season finale. Is it bad if we celebrate?

In one of the nicer U-turns in recent motoring history, Porsche has listened to critics of its four-cylinder turbo engine created for the 718 and swapped it for a detuned version of the Cayman GT4’s flat-six, in GTS-badged Boxsters and Caymans, at least. And chatting to Frank-Steffen Walliser and Sebastian Oettel – the men in charge of the 718 and 911 product lines – it appears it’s not a fleeting special edition, despite previous reports that the Boxster and Cayman would soon be going electric.

This generation of 718 will live on until at least 2024, Oettel confirmed, and the 4.0 will stick around as long as regulations allow it. That buys it until at least the middle of this decade, but it could continue on past 2026 if they’re really canny. Porsche must be confident its increasing range of EVs and hybrids can help negate the flat-six’s effect on meeting ever stringent range-average CO2 outputs.

So when will the electric Cayman come? Porsche, like a lot of its rivals, still isn’t certain on when to play its hand in this market and Oettel reckons we can expect an electrified 911 before a 718.

In other news, where the GTS 4.0 launches with a six-speed manual transmission only, a PDK auto will join the range by early 2021, when it’ll immediately dominate sales. But perhaps more surprisingly, the seven-speed paddleshifter will be optional on the Cayman GT4 and 718 Spyder – cars thus far sold vehemently as manuals – at the same time. Porsche really isn’t afraid of changing its mind, huh?

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