Review

Porsche Boxster roadster

Price  £38,810 - £52,879

Porsche Boxster roadster

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Super-sharp handling
  • Powerful engines
  • Surprisingly low running costs
Cons
  • Doesn't look much different to last Boxster
  • Expensive servicing
  • Automatic gearbox takes away some of the fun

At a glance

The greenest
2.7 2dr £38,810
The cheapest
2.7 2dr £38,810
The fastest
GTS 3.4 2dr £52,879
Top of the range
GTS 3.4 2dr £52,879

"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

3.8 / 5

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

5 / 5

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

3.2 / 5

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 (PASMsystem. 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

3 / 5

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

4 / 5

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

3.8 / 5

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.

What the others say

5 / 5
based on 4 reviews
5 / 5
The first thing I’ll say is that our car was fitted with the optional sports exhaust and I implore anyone buying a 981 to fit one. It sounds absolutely fantastic, particularly all the crackling explosions on the overrun at high revs (where the engine is happiest). The other particularly pleasing thing about the spec of our particular car was the manual gearbox in place of (I suspect the more popular) PDK. The six-speed box is an absolute peach (much nicer than the 991's seven-speed) and its new higher position closer to the steering wheel is the cherry on the extremely sweet-shifting cake.
5 / 5
The wheelbase is 60mm longer, the track is wider and the screen has been shifted forward and raked back at a steeper angle. In profile, deep-sculpted doors and large side vents hint at the 918 hybrid supercar, while bigger wheels (18 inches on the Boxster; 19 inches on the S) give a planted stance.
5 / 5
Performance is predictably rapid. The dash to 62mph is over in just 5.0 seconds (4.8 if you choose the Sport Chrono package), but mere numbers don’t do the engine justice. It pulls strongly and smoothly even when the rev-counter has barely awoken, but it does its best work above 5000rpm, where it fairly flies. The soundtrack varies from growl to howl the nearer the redline you venture.
5 / 5
It goes without saying that Boxster handling will be top class, but it's the ride that initially impresses. Sure, the test cars all had PASM active suspension that automatically adjusts the damping according to the circumstances, but this Porsche felt smooth and remarkably comfortably in all conditions. The one area of contention is the steering. Like the new 911, there has been a shift to electro-mechanical power steering. This is not down to fuel savings - there is only a minimal improvement - but because focus groups said they wanted it to be less weighty.
Last updated 
12 May 2014

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