Porsche Boxster roadster
Price £38,810 - £52,879
- Super-sharp handling
- Powerful engines
- Surprisingly low running costs
- Doesn't look much different to last Boxster
- Expensive servicing
- Automatic gearbox takes away some of the fun
At a glance
"The entry-level Porsche Boxster is arguably the best all-rounder in the range. It remains one of the best-handling cars money can buy."
The Porsche Boxster sets the standard in the small roadster class, as it's sharper and more enjoyable to drive than rivals such as the BMW Z4, Mercedes SLK and Nissan 370Z. The powerful six-cylinder engines are placed in the middle of the car, behind the driver and passenger, which makes the handling very sharp. The interior has been inspired by the larger Porsche 911, so it's modern, upmarket and thoughtfully laid-out.
This is the entry point to Porsche ownership, yet it's arguably the best all-rounder in the manufacturer's range. The model range consists of the standard 2.7-litre Boxster, the 3.4-litre Boxster S and the more powerful 3.4-litre Boxster GTS. The fabric roof folds down in nine seconds flat, while a pair of luggage areas in the front and rear make it pretty practical for a sports car. Roof up, the interior is quiet, but the stiff suspension reminds you that you're at the wheel of a pure driver's car.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Dealer servicing is expensive
Traditionally, strong second-hand values have made the Boxster a good ownership prospect, while good economy and low emissions mean fuel and tax bills are pleasingly low for a high-end sports car. It’s worth keeping the relatively pricey servicing costs in mind, and as the engine is tucked away in the middle of the car, it needs to be taken out for some major jobs. However, Porsche offers a three-year, unlimited-mileage warranty, and there’s three years of breakdown recovery should you need it.
Engines, drive & performance
Not many cars are as entertaining to drive as a Boxster
It isn’t just the attraction of open-air motoring that makes the Boxster such a joy to drive. The precision and accuracy of the Boxster is amazing – once in a bend, the balance between front and rear grip is perfect, while the superb body control and plentiful grip make it easy to corner with confidence. An optional Sport chassis provides even sharper responses, but the trade-off is discomfort over bumpy roads. The entry-level 2.7-litre Boxster has 261bhp, while the bigger 3.4-litre S offers even more performance, with 311bhp. Although both models are more than fast enough for most drivers, those who want the absolute fastest version need to look at the 326bhp GTS model.
Interior & comfort
Remarkably comfortable for a pure sports car
Considering it's a sports car, the Porsche Boxster is quite comfortable, especially if you choose the optional Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) system. This allows you to adjust the suspension at the push of a button, selecting either a comfortable or sporty setting depending on your preference. An excellent driving position means long-distance comfort is good, and road noise is minimal with the well insulated roof up. It folds down in just nine seconds (you can even do this while driving at low speeds) and there's virtually no buffeting once it's been lowered.
Practicality & boot space
There are two boots and the interior is roomy for two
Practicality isn’t a big priority for open-topped sports cars, but with luggage areas in the front and rear, the Boxster is surprisingly handy. You get a deep 150-litre compartment in the nose and a 130-litre boot behind the engine. The cabin is spacious, there's a decent-sized glovebox and central storage bin, plus you get a pair of clever cup-holders that fold out of the dashboard. A reasonably large glass rear window also means there's a good view out the back with the roof up.
Reliability & safety
Advanced engineering puts the Boxster at the cutting edge
Porsche is famed for its advanced engineering know-how and the Boxster is a beautifully built car. Extensive use of aluminium in the body has reduced its weight, but the car is still a lot stiffer than the old model. With lots of technology being carried over from the 911, the Boxster's engine, chassis and electronics are well proven. Interior quality is excellent, while the taut fabric hood has fleece cushioning to improve sound insulation.
Price, value for money & options
Cheapest car in Porsche range is still expensive
The Porsche Boxster is the entry point to the range, but it's still an expensive car, especially if you get carried away with the options list. However, the 2.7-litre has a sub-£40,000 price tag, while £50,000 will get you a Boxster S with a few decent options. The ultimate Boxster, the GTS model, starts from £52,000 and includes a sports exhaust, Sports Chrono Pack, PASM, styling upgrades and 20-inch alloy wheels.
Choosing the extra equipment included with the GTS as options on the S model would cost more than the price difference between the two cars, but if you don't want all of them the S will be fast enough for most buyers. It’s worth remembering that few similarly priced cars offer such an accomplished blend of handling, performance and style. Even the GTS seems like reasonably good value when you consider it only has 25bhp less than a Porsche 911 cabriolet, which costs nearly £30,000 more.