2021 Porsche 718 Boxster

2021 Porsche 718 Boxster Review: It Doesn't Get Much Better

When it comes to sports cars that behave brilliantly in pretty much every situation and excel when you're pushing them, few come close to the Porsche Boxster. Obviously, the 911 is the holy grail, but if you want something a little smaller and cheaper that is still plenty of fun, Porsche's hardtop 718 Cayman and soft-top 718 Boxster are outstanding choices. Driving thrills mixed with the wind blowing through your hair are the order of the day, with a choice of either a 2.0-liter turbocharged boxer-four producing 300 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque, a 2.5-liter turbo with 350hp/309lb-ft, or a monstrous 4.0-liter naturally aspirated boxer-six producing 394 hp and up to 317 lb-ft of torque. Cheaper competitors like the BMW Z4 are out there, but the little Porker is still at the top of its game. Let's see just how much it leads the pack by.

Read in this review:

2021 Porsche 718 Boxster Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2020 718 Boxster?

The US arrival of the all-new GTS 4.0 is the only addition for the 2021 Porsche 718 Boxster, but otherwise, the new model year is revised little. More standard equipment is new, with all models featuring dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, Apple CarPlay, adaptive bi-xenon headlights, and auto-dimming wing mirrors with a rain sensor.

Pros and Cons

  • Phenomenal handling
  • Manual gearbox still standard fare
  • Strong engines
  • Huge variety of customization options
  • Impeccable build quality
  • Four-cylinder engines don't sound great
  • Interior storage space is minimal
  • Pricing can easily skyrocket with a few options

2021 Porsche 718 Boxster Trims

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Boxster
2.0-liter Turbo Flat 4 Gas
6-Speed Manual
Rear-Wheel Drive
$59,600
Boxster T
2.0-liter Turbo Flat 4 Gas
6-Speed Manual
Rear-Wheel Drive
$68,500
Boxster S
2.5-liter Turbo Flat 4 Gas
6-Speed Manual
Rear-Wheel Drive
$72,000
Boxster GTS 4.0
4.0-liter Flat 6 Gas
6-Speed Manual
Rear-Wheel Drive
$80,700

2021 Porsche 718 Boxster Exterior

All Porsche 718 Boxster models come with the clever Porsche Dynamic Light System with bi-xenon headlights and LED running lights. Large side intake vents feed the mid-mounted engine from the exterior, while the rear features a simple and smooth fascia with a faux diffuser and an adaptive rear wing. Base models get a central exhaust exit, while S models update this with twin-exit pipes. The T gets the same treatment but in black, while the range-topping GTS gets its own front and rear bumpers with High Gloss Black exhaust tips either end of its diffuser. Wheel sizing starts at 18 inches but can increase to 20s. A broad array of paint colors are available, ranging from subtle White to over-the-top Python Green.

2021 Porsche 718 Boxster Front Angle View Porsche
2021 Porsche 718 Boxster Side View Driving Porsche
2021 Porsche 718 Boxster Rear View Porsche
See All 2021 Porsche 718 Boxster Exterior Photos

Dimensions

Dimensions on the Porsche Boxster convertible are largely similar across the range with all but the GTS measuring 172.4 inches in length while that top trim is slightly longer at 172.9 inches. Width is 70.9 inches with the mirrors folded while the wheelbase spans 97.4 inches. Height is 50.4 inches, but an available sport suspension package lowers the car by up to 0.8 inches. Curb weight starts at 3,020 pounds on the base model with the manual tranny, while the PDK model tips the scales at 3,082 lbs. The heaviest model is the GTS 4.0 which weighs in at 3,156 lbs.

  • Length 172.4 in
  • Wheelbase 97.4 in
  • Height 50.4 in
  • Max Width 70.9 in
  • Front Width 59.6 in
  • Rear Width 60.3 in

2021 Porsche 718 Boxster Exterior Colors

  • Carrara White Metallic
  • Jet Black Metallic
  • Dolomite Silver Metallic
  • GT Silver Metallic
  • Gentian Blue Metallic
  • Night Blue Metallic
  • Aventurine Green Metallic
  • Agate Grey Metallic
  • Carmine Red
  • Chalk
  • Lava Orange
  • Python Green
  • Miami Blue
  • Custom Color
  • White
See all 18 colors

718 Boxster Performance

2021 Porsche 718 Boxster Front View Driving Porsche
2021 Porsche 718 Boxster Rear View Driving Porsche
2021 Porsche 718 Boxster Exhaust Porsche

Engine and Transmission

Both the base Boxster and Boxster T models share the same engine with similar performance - a 2.0-liter turbocharged boxer-four with 300 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. This sends power to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, and the joy of rowing through this slick-shifting 'box is incomparable. However, we wouldn't judge you for choosing the available seven-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic. Left to its own devices, this gearbox is practically telepathic. Take manual control and it obeys your every command. 0-60 mph comes up in 4.9 seconds with the manual and 4.7 with the PDK, but if you opt for the Sport Chrono package, launch control can cut another two tenths off that time, while the top speed with either transmission is 170 mph.

There's also a Boxster S model, featuring a 2.5-liter turbocharged boxer-four generating an impressive 350 horses and 309 lb-ft of torque. This model will get to 60 in a fastest time of four seconds and its top speed arrives a little later, at 177 mph. The same transmission options apply.

The GTS 4.0 is the ultimate choice in the range. Its responsive and high-revving naturally aspirated 4.0-liter boxer-six puts out 394 hp and the same torque as the Boxster S, although the PDK-equipped version manages 317 lb-ft. With the manual transmission, this model will hit 60 in 4.3 seconds and only stop accelerating at 182 mph. Equipped with the PDK transmission, top speed drops to 179 mph but the 0 to 60 sprint takes only 3.8 seconds. In terms of noise, response, and fun, this model is unbeatable.

  • Engines
    2.0-liter Turbo Flat 4 Gas, 2.5-liter Turbo Flat 4 Gas, 4.0-liter Flat 6 Gas
  • Transmissions
    6-Speed Manual, 7-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain
    RWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

There isn't another drop-top sports car in competition in this price range that handles as crisply and predictably as the Boxster. The steering is sharp and direct yet provides enough feel for you to confidently push your limits, limits that will be reached long before you get the car flustered. That balance and poise through any corner make it easy to get on the power early and help the car rotate on its own axis with ease. Surprisingly for such an agile and focused chassis, bumps in the road aren't bone-shattering either, and you can use the Boxster as a mini-GT every once in a while without hating yourself for it. As if its handling ability weren't great enough, there's a torque vectoring system with a mechanically locking differential available, with the GTS model getting it as standard. Just as it handles, so it stops. Braking is easy to modulate and the pedal is feelsome, but if you want greater security, carbon ceramics are available too. The only real complaint comes from the four-cylinder models, which sound rather strained and fairly gruff when you're wringing them out. The GTS, though, sounds majestic.

718 Boxster Gas Mileage

If you're buying a Porsche, gas mileage is probably the last thing you care about. Nevertheless, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the 2.0-liter models will be the lightest on gas. The Boxster and Boxster T have a 14.2-gallon tank while the S and GTS 4.0 have a 16.9-gallon tank. The base 2020 Boxster is expected to return 21/27/24 mpg on the EPA's city/highway/combined cycles (giving it an average range of 340 miles) while the Boxster T will drop 1 mpg off the combined cycle. The 16.9-gallon tank is available on these lower models too, so you could increase the mixed range to 405.6 miles on average. These figures apply to models with the PDK while the manual versions will return 20/26/22 mpg each. For the Boxster S, the PDK variant isn't far off with 19/25/22 mpg while the manual will return 19/24/21 mpg. EPA estimates are not yet available for the GTS.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    14.2 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 20/26 mpg
* 2021 Porsche 718 Boxster Boxster Roadster RWD

718 Boxster Interior

2021 Porsche 718 Boxster Dashboard Porsche
2021 Porsche 718 Boxster Front Seats Porsche
2021 Porsche 718 Boxster Driver Seat Porsche
See All 2021 Porsche 718 Boxster Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

Just two people can be seated in the cabin of the Boxster, but in comparison to having rear seats that are completely unusable for anything other than overflow storage, we don't mind. The standard seats are only two-way adjustable yet provide decent support and good comfort. There's plenty to choose from if you want more control over your seating position though. 14-way power seats are available, as are 18-way adaptive seats that will pump up the bolsters depending on your direction of travel to keep you firmly in place. For those who value support over comfort, fixed bucket seats are also available. Whatever you choose, the cabin is pretty hospitable for even the tallest individuals, but you may need to stoop when climbing in if the roof is still up.

  • Seating capacity
    2-seater

718 Boxster Trunk and Cargo Space

Just as with fuel economy, trunk space isn't high on the list of important factors when you're looking at a sports car, but the Boxster is surprisingly useful. The rear storage area can hold 4.4 cubic feet of volume while the front trunk will hold 5.2 cubes - enough for one and two carry-on suitcases respectively.

However, the cabin is less versatile. You get pop-out cupholders in the dash, but these were clearly included just because people asked for them - not because Porsche approves of drinks in its cars. There are also narrow door pockets and a little spot between the seats, but you'll probably have to squeeze most of your stuff into the average-sized glovebox.

2021 Porsche 718 Boxster Side View Porsche
2021 Porsche 718 Boxster Rear Angle View Porsche
2021 Porsche 718 Boxster Open Top Porsche
  • Trunk Volume
    4.4 ft³

718 Boxster Infotainment and Features

Features

As standard, the Boxster features hill start assist, automatic stop/start, an adaptive rear wing, auto-dimming power heated wing mirrors with a rain sensor, heated seats, adaptive bi-xenon headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control, parking sensors at the front and the rear, a rearview camera, cruise control, a 4.6-inch driver info display, and a power-folding soft top. Available features include LED headlights, keyless entry and ignition, ventilated seats, lane change assist, a heated steering wheel, launch control, adaptive dampers, adaptive cruise control, and active transmission mounts.

Infotainment

The infotainment system in the Boxster is made up of images displayed on a seven-inch touchscreen connected to a six-speaker sound system. This supports SiriusXM satellite radio, HD Radio, Bluetooth connectivity, and Apple CarPlay, but Android Auto is not available. The system also boasts an 11 GB hard drive, two USB ports, and two SD card slots. Voice control is available along with navigation, but real audiophiles will find the available 10-speaker Bose surround-sound or 12-speaker Burmester configurations more enticing.

718 Boxster Problems and Reliability

Thus far, no recalls have been issued for either the 2020 or the 2021 models of the 718 Boxster, so reliability should be great.

An impressive warranty offering provides the 718 Boxster with limited and powertrain coverage for the first four years or 50,000 miles. The first year or 10,000 miles of ownership also includes complimentary scheduled maintenance.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    12 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Maintenance:
    1 Years \ 10,000 Miles

718 Boxster Safety

Neither the IIHS nor the NHTSA has conducted any crash tests on the 718, so there is no Porsche Boxster review or rating from either. This is not uncommon for sports cars at this price point.

Standard safety equipment includes front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, hill start assist, and frontal and side-impact airbags. Adaptive bi-xenon headlights are also standard, but these can be upgraded to LEDs if you wish. Also available are lane change assist and adaptive cruise control.

Verdict: 🏁Is 2021 Porsche 718 Boxster a good car?

The Boxster is small, expensive, and most models come with engines that do little to stir the soul in terms of noise. The interior has minimal storage space and some attractive features like navigation and adaptive cruise control are reserved for the options list. Despite this, we love the car. It handles absolutely beautifully, looks handsome, and most importantly, it's one of the few cars, let alone sports cars, still available with a proper, old-school manual gearbox. The feeling of driving the Boxster is unlike any other, with balance and composure that few can imitate. With the arrival of the GTS 4.0 version, our love for the sports car has only grown from previous reviews of the Porsche Boxster. Its soulful six-cylinder sings in the way that only a naturally aspirated Porsche boxer can, and its further enhanced handling ability make it a true contender for one of the best sports cars of the year. If you can afford any variant, however, we'd say go for it.

🚘What's the Price of the 2021 Porsche 718 Boxster?

The cheapest model in the lineup is the base model Boxster, which retails for an MSRP in the USA of $62,000, before a $1,350 destination charge. The Boxster T is a little more expensive at $71,000 while the Boxster S is $74,000. The most expensive car is the Boxster GTS 4.0, which is on sale with a base price of $88,900. Fully loaded with optional extras, this Porsche Boxster carries a price of well over $140,000.

See All 2021 Porsche 718 Boxster Trims and Specs

🚗What Porsche 718 Boxster Model Should I Buy?

We're absolutely enamored by the GTS 4.0's spec with its naturally aspirated engine - a motor that we feel makes the Boxster range as a whole far more worthy of consideration. Nevertheless, it's also the most expensive option, so if you can't afford the cost of that Porsche Boxster trim, we'd suggest going for the Boxster S. This model's 2.5-liter engine produces an astonishing 350 hp and 309 lb-ft of twist - the same torque figure as the manual GTS. We would be tempted to add ventilated seats and navigation to this model to make it a little more comfortable to live with daily, while the addition of adaptive cruise control would make it safer on long trips. We also think the Premium Package with its LED headlights, Bose sound system, lane change assist, and heated steering would be worth the extra cash. That said, all handle brilliantly, no matter which of the Porsche Boxster models you choose.

Check out other Porsche 718 Styles

2021 Porsche 718 Boxster Comparisons

BMW Z4 Roadster BMW
Jaguar F-Type Convertible Jaguar
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Porsche 718 Boxster300 hp20/26 mpg$62,000
BMW Z4 Roadster 255 hp25/32 mpg$49,700
Jaguar F-Type Convertible 296 hp23/30 mpg$64,700

2021 Porsche 718 Boxster vs BMW Z4 Roadster

Much like the 718 Boxster, the BMW Z4 arrives in base form with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. However, no manual gearbox is available with all models sending power to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic. While the base Boxster produces 300 hp, the base Z4 only develops 255 hp. This can be remedied with the M40i model which comes with a 3.0-liter turbocharged straight-six that makes 382 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. The Z4 also has a larger trunk and a more advanced cabin. In addition, in this configuration, it has a cost of only $1,700 more than the base Boxster. For affordable fun and power, as well as a usable trunk and more standard features, the Z4 is ideal. However, replicating the driving feel of a Boxster is impossible, so we'd suggest a test drive before pulling the trigger on either.

See BMW Z4 Roadster Review

2021 Porsche 718 Boxster vs Jaguar F-Type Convertible

The Porsche 718 Boxster is undoubtedly a premium product, but Jaguar's new F-Type is even pricier. In convertible guise, it starts at $64,700 - more than two grand higher than the 718. Like the BMW Z4 and the Boxster, the Jag's base model is powered by a 2.0-liter turbo. Like the Bimmer, only an eight-speed auto is available, but this one produces just four horses less than the one in the Porsche and manages 15 lb-ft of torque more. Despite offering more space in the trunk on paper, the F-Type is alarmingly impractical - even for a premium sports convertible. In addition, the Jag is far less rewarding to drive although still excellent. On the plus side, it looks better and has a more comfort-focused cabin, but its suspension is a little less forgiving. We prefer the Porsche.

See Jaguar F-Type Convertible Review

Porsche 718 Boxster Popular Comparisons

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