Let’s get one thing straight: the Porsche 718 Boxster is a brilliant open-top sports car. It’s just a shame that its four-cylinder engine lacks the charm of the previous model’s six-cylinder.
The Porsche Boxster is a sports car that makes it clear to others that life has treated you very well. It also happens to be quick, brilliant to drive and even relatively economical on fuel.
Those first two points come thanks in part to an engine that sits just behind your head and rear-wheel drive, which just happens to be the format F1 teams use in their race cars.
The weight of the engine over the back wheels gives the Boxster loads of grip to help you accelerate hard out of corners without spinning the rear wheels.
Add to that brakes that can brush off huge speeds time and time again, plus suspension that keeps the car almost completely flat, and there aren’t many convertibles that can keep up with a Boxster in the bends. And those that can – namely the Lotus Elise and Alfa Romeo 4C Spider – can’t match the Porsche’s comfort in everyday driving.
That’s not to say it’s any kind of cruiser – even the entry-level model has a 300hp 2.0-litre engine that can hurl the car from 0-62mph in just 5.1 seconds. The Boxster S meanwhile, has a 2.5-litre engine and 350hp, dropping that time down to just 4.6 seconds while still returning claimed fuel economy of 35mpg. There’s also a T model with the same power as the entry-level car, but has numerous performance options added, while the range-topping GTS gets 365hp.
Enthusiasts will miss the characterful howl of the old model’s six-cylinder engine though – the latest version sounds pretty ordinary and putting the roof down (which takes literally seconds) doesn’t solve the problem. And while it’s more fuel efficient than the engines in alternative sports cars, in the real world it doesn’t actually save you much fuel over the Boxster’s old six-cylinder.
You can’t knock the 718 for the way it drives. It goes like a stabbed rat and is so much fun to drive hard around bends. It’s just that engine – six cylinders will always be better than four.
On the plus side, the interior looks better than ever with plastic quality that makes the Alfa Romeo and Lotus look pretty shameful. You can choose from a variety of seat styles, upholstery and trim finishes that let you get everything looking and feeling exactly how you want, although options are not cheap.
‘Practical’ wouldn’t be a word you would use to describe the interior, but for a two-seater sports car it’s not terrible. The two seats you do get are spacious and the range of adjustability offered by both the steering wheel and driver’s seat make getting comfortable behind the wheel simple. You also get 280 litres of luggage capacity (about what you’d get in a Ford Fiesta) split almost equally between front and rear boots.
Equipment includes a colourful 7-inch satellite navigation screen, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto that allows you to pair your compatible smartphone and use many of its apps. Porsches sell in too low a volume for Euro NCAP to crash-test them, but they come with the usual assortment of airbags and stability control that should lower the chances a crash ever happening.
Expensive options such as adaptive dampers – which let you adjust the suspension to be firm and sporty or soft and comfortable – and the PDK automatic gearbox make the Boxster an even better all-rounder, if you’re prepared to stump up the cash.
The Porsche 718 Boxster is a have-your-cake-and-eat-it type of a car, then. It doesn’t ask you to make too many compromises, and when the right road presents itself there aren’t many cars you’d rather be in.