Porsche 718 Boxster roadster review
“The latest Porsche 718 Boxster is more powerful and efficient than ever and remains one of the best cars to drive in any class”
- Quicker than ever
- Fantastic to drive
- Cheaper to run
- Expensive options
- Price has increased
- Engine lacks character
The Porsche Boxster has now been around for more than 25 years – when it was launched the Porsche 911 was the only model it shared showrooms with. Times have changed, and the famous German marque now sells more Macan, Cayenne, Panamera and Taycan SUVs and saloons than it does sports cars.
The Boxster's place in the world has changed, too: the current car is distanced from the 911 by its small, turbocharged four-cylinder engines in all but the top versions. This change brought about a new name – 718 Boxster – which references Porsche's four-cylinder racing cars of the fifties and sixties. That racing heritage comes in handy, because while open-topped sports cars are a dying breed, the Boxster still faces competition from cars as diverse as the Audi TT Roadster, BMW Z4, Mazda MX-5 and Morgan Plus Four, while the hard-top Porsche Cayman fends off coupe rivals such as the BMW M2, Lotus Emira, and Alpine A110.
The four-cylinder engine may not sound quite as exciting as the six-cylinder engines that went before, but there's certainly no shortage of power. Even the entry-level 2.0-litre boasts 296bhp, which is enough for a 5.1-second 0-62mph time. Stepping up to the 345hp, 2.5-litre Boxster S reduces that time to 4.6 seconds. Or, order the seven-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic gearbox and Sport Chrono package to drop those times to 4.7 and 4.2 seconds respectively. Even with the lower cylinder count, the Boxster is still very fast indeed.
Like other Porsches, the 718 Boxster is available in more driver-focused trims; with the handling-focused Boxster T no longer offered, this means the GTS and hardcore Spyder RS. The unique selling point of the GTS is a glorious 4.0-litre six-cylinder engine derived from that of the Cayman GT4, and makes a case for being just about the perfect sports car for UK roads. It's incredibly rewarding with a manual gearbox, and gets from 0-62mph in just 3.8 seconds when a PDK automatic is fitted. When the Boxster goes electric from 2025, the GTS will surely become highly collectable. The 718 Spyder RS even more so – its 493bhp 4.0-litre flat six and heavily revised chassis are both shared with the track-focused Cayman GT4 RS, albeit with a slightly softer set-up befitting the Boxster’s more laid-back image.
As well as distancing the 718 Boxster from its 911 bigger brother, the move to four cylinders also brought improvements in fuel-efficiency. When fitted with the PDK gearbox, the 718 Boxster is claimed to return up to 31.7mpg and CO2 emissions of just over 200g/km, which aren't bad for a sports car with almost 300bhp.
The most recent round of revisions brought a slightly reworked rear spoiler and a neater headlamp design, plus there's a redesigned steering wheel and infotainment system, with Bluetooth compatibility and Apple CarPlay. All models get seats in leatherette and Alcantara Suede, a six-speaker stereo, air-conditioning, 18-inch alloy wheels and LED daytime running lights. The 718 Boxster GTS looks extra mean, with their 20-inch ‘satin-finished’ black wheels, tinted light clusters and black exhaust tips.
The options list is extensive and expensive, so be wary of ticking too many boxes as the price of the car will quickly escalate. The active PASM suspension system is excellent – it makes a big difference to how the Boxster drives but does come as standard on some variants, so it's worth checking. However, while looking at the options list, and the pricey GTS model, it's worth remembering just how enjoyable the 718 Boxster is in its least expensive form.
Unfortunately, Euro NCAP doesn’t crash-test Porsche's sports cars – not enough are sold to warrant the cost – but we expect the Boxster to be very safe thanks to plentiful standard safety equipment and a very strong body. It's tricky to comment on reliability, too, as the latest version has yet to appear in our annual Driver Power owner satisfaction survey.
Overall, the 718 Boxster is one of the most tempting sports cars you can buy. The 718 Cayman beats it very slightly for ultimate driving sharpness, but the Boxster makes amends with open-air thrills. The GTS’ incredible flat-six engine adds an extra shot of adrenaline, but even the entry-level model will show you a good time. Add a fantastic image and solid secondhand demand, and the 718 Boxster stacks up well as an investment to enjoy.