£40,108 - £56,778 Price range
31 - 35 MPG
It seems that Porsche has done it again: the new Boxster is something of a masterpiece, improving upon its already-excellent predecessor in virtually every area.
Porsche upped the ante in 2016 with the launch of an extensively updated Boxster, now called the 718 Boxster. Check out our comparison between the old and new model to see what’s changed.
To top it all, most agree it even looks better than the previous model, freed from the constraints of sharing body parts from its big brother, the 911.
One of the criticisms of the previous Boxster was that at times, it didn’t feel quite special enough inside. Porsche has worked hard to change that and all agree that the new interior looks better, and feels classier than the old model. It also brings the gear stick closer to the steering wheel, ideal for enthusiastic driving, particularly with the manual gearbox.
The seats are mounted lower and have more adjustment, so there’s both more space, and more comfort. It’s also refined with the fabric hood up, and when the sun comes out, it takes a class-leading 9 seconds to stow. If there’s one, tiny criticism of the cabin, it’s that with the roof down it gets a bit windy – but surely that’s part of the experience!
If we told you the Boxster was virtually perfect to drive, we wouldn’t be exaggerating. Every single review is absolutely full of praise for ever aspect of the way it drives, save for one area: the steering.
Although the steering’s weighting and response are spot-on, some experts do say the new electro-mechanical rack has less feel than the old hydraulic system. Most drivers won’t notice, and many won’t care (as several testers admit), but for a hardcore few, it may be a little disappointing.
Meanwhile, balance and rigidity are praised, and the ride quality and damping are described as “exemplary”, even on the optional 20-inch wheels (19-inchers are standard). The brakes are excellent, in both pedal feel and power.
Initially, the Boxster is available with two engines – a 2.7-litre flat six, and a 3.4-litre version in the S model. Once again, there’s nothing but high praise for the new engine.
It sounds great, particularly with the optional sports exhaust, recommended by a few testers. It’s incredibly responsive, drivers say it pulls hard throughout the rev range, and it’s even more economical than before – almost 37mpg with the twin-clutch PDK transmission in the non-S Boxster. The PDK is quicker than the manual, but purists will appreciate the six-speed manual’s excellent shift quality.
Initial impressions suggest so. Like the 3.4 it uses a flat-six engine mounted amidships, producing 261bhp rather than the 300bhp-plus of the 3.4. There’s a little less torque too, but testers say it’s as happy to sing to the higher rev range as its more powerful counterpart. It’s equally responsive too, so you get all the same sensations as you might if you spend a little more.
It does lack the outright shove of the 3.4 (though 5.5 seconds to 60mph could hardly be considered slow), which means that it doesn’t test the incredible chassis quite as hard, so some drivers might prefer the more powerful variant.
However, the more powerful version also uses more fuel. There’s more to sports cars than economy, but not spending your life at the pumps is a bonus and with the dual-clutch PDK transmission, you can expect as much as 36.7mpg on average. That drops to 34.5mpg with the excellent six-speed manual gearbox.
It’s easy to recommend the 2.7. If you don’t need the outright performance of the 3.4 and instead want to sample all the Boxster’s other talents, the 2.7 is still one of the best cars available for any money.
So how does it drive? Do you really have to ask? Well, several reviews note that the engine feels more mature now, with a stronger mid-range, and a more relaxed feel. That’s not at the expense of the classic flat-six response and character though, so really the engine seems to offer the best of both worlds. One option worth considering is the optional sports exhaust, the sound of which one reviewer describes as “absolutely fantastic”. If that sounds like your sort of thing, then get ticking that option box.
Given the better economy, which also has advantages in the tax department, the Boxster is already a better value choice than its predecessor.
You’ll pay a little more for a Boxster than you might for some rivals, but just take a look at that wowscore – no rival gets close, so you may pay more but you’re getting talent to show for it. Equipment levels are generous too, so you won’t have to spend a lot on options.
The current Boxster starts where the old model left off – at the top of the class. If you fancy a slightly rawer experience (and what is regarded by some as the best handling car on sale today) then you could try a Lotus Evora. If you have some money to spare, then the Jaguar F-Type may be worth a look.
If you have your heart set on the Porsche though. you’re unlikely to be disappointed with it. Most reviews are unanimous – if you’re in the market for a sports car, get a Boxster.