Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5
  • Strong choice of turbocharged engines
  • Four-cylinder engines are punchy and efficient
  • Performance impressive, soundtrack less so

It's been a while since the old six-cylinder engines were replaced by an all-new range of turbocharged fours, but many enthusiasts still bemoan Porsche's decision to downsize. After all, the current engines offer more power and better fuel economy than before - but the big loss has been in terms of aural drama.

Petrol engines only

Understandably, there’s no diesel option here (for that you’ll want a Mercedes-Benz SLC) so your choice is restricted to petrol only. The 718 Boxster’s 2.0-litre turbocharged engine produces 300hp and 380Nm of torque and accelerates from 0-62mph in 4.9 seconds, while the S increases capacity to 2.5 litres for 350hp, 420Nm and a 4.4sec 0-62mph time.

Helping shift the Boxster S down the road is Variable Turbine Geometry borrowed from the 911 Turbo, making turbo lag (a lack of power at low revs) a thing of the past. The entry-level 718 lacks this and is notably less responsive. Top speed for the Boxster is 171mph, while the S is capable of reaching 177mph.

2019 Porsche 718 Boxster T dynamic

Both models rev keenly to a very sports car-like 7,500rpm, an unusually high figure for turbocharged engines. They also offer much more flexibility lower down in the rev range: you don’t feel the same urge to drop a gear on a motorway slip road, for instance, and the new car feels more urgent if you prod the accelerator at a low-speed cruise.

However, neither engine offers the old six-cylinder models’ charismatic yowl. The burbly thrum sounds a lot like a Subaru Impreza, which uses a similar type of boxer engine, where the cylinders lie flat horizontally opposed.

The 718 Boxster T mixes components from both standard and S cars - the engine from the former, but chassis components from the latter. It could be the ideal middle ground for keen drivers, who don't necessarily feel they need the extra power of the Boxster S and prefer a lighter, more pure car. Don't be fooled by the holier-than-thou approach to weight-saving, though - there's very little difference between this and a standard car, even with the radio deletion option that comes as standard.

It is capable of 0-62mph in 5.1 seconds with the six-speed manual gearbox or 4.7 seconds with the optional twin-clutch PDK transmission.

Manual and automatic transmissions

Both versions of the 718 can be equipped with a six-speed manual or optional PDK dual-clutch automatic transmission. The manual gearbox is a tactile delight and offers enthusiastic drivers a bit more interaction with the 718 Boxster’s drivetrain.

You can leave the PDK gearbox in automatic, or control it manually via paddle-shifters behind the steering wheel. It’s smooth around town, but the changes are fast and direct at higher speed.

Handling

  • Boxster is easy yet rewarding to drive
  • Agile handling and confidence inspiring
  • Well-judged steering set-up

Despite its agility and power, the 718 Boxster is not intimidating to drive. The stability control is rarely needed, but quickly corrects mistakes if you overstep the mark. It is really made for twists and turns. It’s exceptionally agile, sure-footed and a thrill to drive – a best-in-class performance.

You can choose between standard suspension, or either -10mm or -20mm lowered springs with adjustable shock absorbers. Press a button and the ride becomes firmer for spirited drives.

2019 Porsche 718 Boxster T cornering

New for the 718 Boxster is a 10% faster steering ratio borrowed from the 911 Turbo. This means small turns of the steering wheel result in large changes to the steering angle. It’s fast, accurate and nicely weighted.

When you’re in town that same steering is relatively light, and combined with good forward visibility makes the Boxster an easy car to drive around urban areas. The optional reversing camera isn’t essential, but a big help for parking as you sit low in the car and can’t see out of the back as easily as you might expect.