4.5 out of 5 4.5
Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5

Entry-level Porsche is still great to drive

Porsche 718 Boxster Convertible (16 on) - rated 4.5 out of 5
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At a glance

New price £47,006 - £74,015
Lease from new From £659 p/m View lease deals
Used price £21,860 - £67,600
Fuel Economy 25.7 - 33.2 mpg
Road tax cost £200 - £465
Insurance group 46 - 50 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Great fun to drive
  • Fast, compact electric roof
  • Refined and comfortable
  • Excellent build quality

CONS

  • Characterless engine
  • Pricey extras
  • No mpg improvement in typical use
  • Turbo lag from new engine

Porsche 718 Boxster Convertible rivals

Written by Tom Wiltshire on

The Porsche 718 Boxster (yes, it used to just be the Boxster) is the German company’s mid-engined two-seat roadster that’s all about driving thrills and everyday usability in equal measure.

Back in the 1990s, the Boxster was sneered at for being something of a Porsche-lite, but quickly gained a fanbase thanks to its reasonable entry price, perfectly-balanced handling and sheer practicality – for a two-seat roadster, that is. The 718 model retains all of this, but made the controversial move to a four-cylinder engine – something purists were very disappointed by.

The Boxster faces opposition from many talented convertible rivals, such as the Audi TT Roadster, Jaguar F-Type Roadster and BMW Z4, as well as coupes such as the Toyota Supra and Alpine A110 - though in those cases, the hard-top 718 Cayman takes the brunt.

Loses two cylinders, gains a turbo

Where the old model had 2.7- or 3.4-litre flat-six engines, the new 718 Boxster and 718 Boxster S use 2.0 and 2.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinders in their place. Though it’s been three years since the 718 Boxster was launched, the change still stings.

These motors don’t give up much in terms of performance, with 300hp and 350hp on offer from Boxster and Boxster S, respectively. Nor do they suffer for being small-capacity turbos – Porsche’s worked some witchcraft, almost eliminating turbo-lag and providing really impressive power right through their rev range.

To criticise, though, the character of the old six-cylinder units – particularly their exotic howl under revs – has gone. The new models have a burbly thrum that, while not actually unpleasant, doesn’t seem particularly suited to the car.

A flavour for every occasion

Porsche offers plenty of choice within the 718 Boxster range. There’s the standard, entry-level Boxster, with 300hp from its 2.0-litre engine, or the more potent Boxster S, which uses a 2.5-litre engine with 350hp.

If you want a more focused drive, the Boxster T uses the engine from the standard car but the chassis from the S – with a lowered ride height, limited-slip differential and 20-inch wheels. It also comes as standard with plenty of driving kit, and can even be specified without the stereo head unit if you’re a real glutton for punishment.

2019 Porsche Boxster T interior

Related to the Boxster, but somewhat of a different proposition altogether is the 718 Spyder. It’s been seriously fettled, making use of a 4.0-litre six-cylinder engine with 420hp. It’s nowhere near as usable as a regular Boxster, nor as cheap to buy – but it’s a truly special machine.

Classic driving dynamics remain

Despite our grumbles over the new engines, the Boxster continues to be the benchmark driver’s car in this segment: its steering is fast and precise, and the mid-engined chassis is both agile and incredibly forgiving.

It feels far more exotic to drive than its relatively affordable price suggests (unless you go wild with the extensive options list). Both versions feel like performance cars, but the S is a very quick car.

You can get both models with a beautifully tactile six-speed manual transmission, or a dual-clutch PDK automatic with paddle shifters on the steering wheel. The PDK offers faster gearshifts, but also improves fuel economy on paper.

Folding roof can be operated on the move

While some rivals favour a folding hardtop – literally a solid metal roof that folds away into the luggage compartment – Porsche has stuck with a simpler fabric roof.

It has the advantages of lowering and raising much faster, and is capable of doing so while the vehicle is moving at speeds approaching 40mph. And unlike folding hardtops, the fabric roof does not eat into luggage space when stowed. It’s a key tenet of this versatile sports car’s enduring appeal.

Read our full review to see if the Porsche 718 Boxster could be the best sports car option for you.

Porsche 718 Boxster Convertible rivals