by Gabe Beita Kiser
The Porsche Boxster has finally managed to creep out of the 911's shadow and can proudly raise its head and claim its rightful spot amongst the greatest Porsches of all time. Yes, it's that good. The fourth-generation 718 has been around since 2016 and has managed to shake off its misjudged past, and now represents one of the purest and most enjoyable driving experiences of the modern motoring world. The range of turbocharged engines produce between 300 and 365 horsepower, and make the baby Porsche easier to drive fast. Couple that with one of the most balanced chassis and suspension setups, and steering that's as direct as you're going to get, even in cars double the price, and you have yourself one of the best performance cars of the decade. Starting at just under $60K, the Porsche Boxster doesn't have to worry about the official competition; it's that good.
The fourth-generation Boxster has been around since 2016 and carries over most of its features from 2018. A few optional features for 2018 now come standard on the 2019 model, including the sports exhaust system as well as the Porsche Car Connect system, which enables owners to get remote services such as vehicle tracking and vehicle status updates. The 718 family also looks forward to welcoming the Boxster Spyder for 2020.
Keeping with Porsche's tradition of making all their cars look more or less the same over decades of updates and complete redesigns, the fourth-generation 718 Boxster looks like every other Boxster to come before it, but with a more aggressive edge to it, thanks to sharper body lines and more prominent air intakes in the front grille. Porsche keeps the exterior very basic in standard trim, and that goes for the Boxster S and GTS as well; you'll have to cough up for most of the exterior features on offer. What you do get as standard is a brilliantly efficient power-folding top that can be operated at speeds of up to 31 mph. The rear spoiler extends and retracts automatically according to the driving situation, and the wing mirrors are power-adjustable and heated. The headlights on all Boxster models feature Bi-Xenon lights and integrated LED daytime running lights, while the LED taillights get integrated four-point brake lights. LED headlights are an optional extra. GTS models benefit from a few exclusive exterior features such as GTS-specific logos, Satin Black fascia trimmings, and black sports exhaust tips.
The two-seater Boxster has always been a small car, and the 2019 718 is no different. Total length is measured at 172.4 inches, and the Boxster sits only 50.4 inches off the ground. The 911 Carrera is slightly longer at 177.1 inches. The Cayman shares most of its dimensions with the Boxster but is marginally taller at 51 inches. The 718 Boxster is 70.9 inches wide with mirrors folded and rolls on a short 97.4-inch wheelbase. The 911 makes use of an even stubbier 96.5-inch wheelbase. Curb weights vary between the standard Boxster and the S and GTS models, as well as between manual and PDK transmission cars. The lightest of the bunch is the standard Boxster in manual guise, weighing in at only 2,944 lbs, while the title of heaviest Boxster goes to the S and GTS with PDK gearboxes, weighing in at 3,054 lbs. The 911, a visibly bigger car, weighs in at a still respectable 3,318 lbs.
Unlike its more serious siblings such as the 911 or Cayenne, the Boxster has a more playful presence that's not only communicated through its thrilling driving experience but also in its styling and visual appeal. Porsche knows that the Boxster has always appealed to the style-conscious more than the all-out driving enthusiasts (although this is quickly changing) hence the extensive color palette that includes 13 different paint options. The color options list is split into solid, metallic, and special categories. Solid color options include White, Racing Yellow, Guards Red and Black, while the Metallic range comprises different shades of Silver, including Rhodium Silver Metallic, GT Silver and Agate Gray Metallic. Special option colors consist of Mahogany Metallic, Miami Blue, Carmine Red and Lava Orange. Traditionalists will go for some shade of silver, but if it were up to us, it would be a toss up between Racing Yellow, Lava Orange and Miami Blue.
Those who still consider the Boxster a lightweight or beginner sports car should think again: the 2019 718 Boxster is faster and more capable than some Ferraris and Porsches of the 70s and 80s, and offers levels of performance beyond what the average driver is capable of exploiting. In standard trim, the Boxster will accelerate to sixty in only 4.9 seconds and continue on to a top speed of 170 mph. Stepping up to the Boxster S sees the zero-to-sixty time tumble to 4.4 seconds while the top speed rises to 177 mph, and finally, the GTS will do the same sprint times as the S but increases the top speed rating to 180 mph. Even the smaller 2.0-liter turbocharged flat-four offers impressive grunt from the bottom all the way through to the high rpm range and will snag gaps in traffic like it's no one's business. The larger 2.5-liter engines start to feel like 911 Porsches of old in the way it thumps you with a large amount of torque right in the middle of the rev range. The Sport response system, shared with the 718 Cayman, sharpens up the gearbox and engine response for 20 seconds to deliver short bursts of heightened performance. The 2019 Porsche Boxster simply cannot be considered a beginner's sports car any longer; it's a serious performance car that will scare most ordinary drivers far before it hits its limit.
The 2019 Boxster is available with two engine options depending on which model you choose to go with. Base model Boxsters make use of a turbocharged 2.0-liter flat-four engine producing 300 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque from only 1950 rpm, and incorporates variable valve timing, direct injection and dry-sump lubrication. The addition of a turbocharger, a Boxster first, has dramatically changed the dynamics of Porsches baby sports car by exchanging high revving peak power for low-down grunt. Boxster S and GTS models use a bigger 2.5-liter flat-four engine now producing 350 hp and 309 lb-ft of torque in the S, and 365 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque in the GTS. These models also benefit from variable turbine technology, which allows for adjustment in the guide vanes of the turbine to provide the punch of a smaller turbo and the top end pulling power of a larger one. One minor issue with the new generation of turbocharged engines is the fact that it's missing the beautiful howl of the naturally aspirated engines of old. The Boxster's single exit exhaust - or twin exit system on the S - fails to stir the same type of emotion. The six-speed manual is a crisp unit that features optional rev-matching, but the star of the show is the seven-speed PDK dual-clutch auto transmission, which feels telepathic in the way it serves up gears and makes an already engaging driving experience genuinely biblical. Selecting sport mode sharpens up gear shifts even further, while simultaneously adjusting suspension and engine responses.
The Porsche Boxster is the two-door sports cars against which all other manufacturers benchmark their two-door sports cars - it's that good. Beginners will feel like professional drivers once on the go; with all traction control settings left in safe mode, the Boxster offers a beautifully engaging driving experience that can safely be pushed to the edge without throwing a major tantrum. One specific area that deserves praise is the Boxster's steering; it is one of the most direct-feeling systems on the road and sets the benchmark, not only in its class but for all electronically assisted sports steering racks. Point the steering wheel, and the Boxster follows, it's as simple as that. The overall handling experience is truly a revelation, and you won't find anything close to it in its class; you'll have to go searching much higher up in the price range. The optional adaptive suspension system improves things even further and drops the ride height by 20 mm, but unless you're a dedicated track racer, the standard setup will be more than enough. Stomping on the brakes returns a progressive-feeling slowdown that inspires as much confidence as the handling and chassis balance, and real-world numbers come close to those of some supercars. We would go as far as to say that the 718 Boxster is one of the best sports cars in the world right now, and places high on the list of all-time greats.
Just because you're driving a turbocharged Porsche doesn't mean you have to remortgage your house to afford the fuel bills; in fact, the Boxster will use about the same amount of fuel as a compact executive sedan, but you'll enjoy burning up that gas way, way more. A manual transmission 2.0-liter car will get 21/28/24 mpg city/highway/combined while the manual Boxster S will return 20/26/22 mpg. The manual GTS is the heaviest drinker at 19/25/21 - still not bad for a 365 hp baby supercar. PDK equipped cars offer slightly better consumption figures throughout. The Porsche Cayman will match the Boxsters numbers, while the 911 Carrera Coupe in PDK trim will return a surprisingly frugal 22/30/25 mpg in base form. With a fuel tank size of between 14.3 and 16.9 gallons, the Boxster has an estimated range of between 343,2 and 355 miles.
The Boxster is such a pleasure to drive that we'd forgive it if it only had a garden chair and a monkey wrench for a steering wheel, but then again, the Porsche is a German icon, and therefore, you get typically German levels of build quality and comfort. As with the rest of the car, most interior features are reserved as optional extras, but you do get sport seats with power backrest adjustment, air conditioning, a leather-covered steering wheel and gear lever, as well as a set of floor mats. The GTS gets more supportive seats and a GT-style steering wheel with matching sport pedals. The interior options list is a long one, and it's disappointing to note that you have to pay extra for basics such as two-zone climate control and heated seats.
The low ride height of the Boxster might make it difficult for some to get in and out of the cabin, but flat door sills make the process much more comfortable than on some of its competitors. Once inside, you'll find yourself seated in one of the most comfortable sport bucket seats around. The seats in the 2019 Boxster might not have the adjustability of a Mercedes S-Class, but there's enough wiggle room to get most drivers comfy. 14-way power adjustability is an added option, as are the Sport Plus seats that offer even more side bolstering and overall support - perfect for track days. Tall drivers might find that the door-mounted speakers will graze their left leg, but otherwise, the seating position and support is top-notch. The interior of the Boxster feels cozy, to say the least, but even taller drivers will fit without a problem thanks to a low seating position.
The wide range of color options don't stop with the exterior; Porsche offers new owners a range of eight interior colors, five two-tone combinations, and five interior trim packages. That's a lot of choices for such a small interior, but Porsche is dedicated to making each Boxster as personalized as can be. Single-tone leather seats can be selected in Black, Agate Gray, and Luxor Beige, or a combination of Black and Bordeaux Red, Black and Beige or Black and Chalk. Special colors include Bordeaux Red and Graphite Blue. The interior trim can be had in exterior matching paint, leather, carbon fiber, brushed aluminum or Mahogany wood grain. The leather, suede microfiber, carbon fiber, and all the rest have a typical Porsche quality feel to them, and the entire package feels worth the asking price.
If you were stuck driving the 2019 Porsche Boxster during an apocalyptic event, you'd be in some trouble as you'd probably only be able to carry enough provisions to last you a week at most. The petite two-seater Boxster does benefit from a trunk and a frunk, but both offer minimal space: you get 5.3 cubic feet in the front and a minute 4.4 cubic feet in the rear. The Cayman, on the other hand, offers slightly more space, with a useable 9.7 cubic feet of space in the rear. Just be glad you're not driving a 911 Carrerra during the zombie apocalypse; you'll have to fit your water, ammo, and antibiotics in a 4.6 cubic foot frunk although the vestigial rear seats do offer additional storage space when not occupied. Small-item storage doesn't look any better: there are two door pockets, two cup holders, and a small glovebox. Two people should be able to store their coffees, phones, and keys, but not much else.
The standard features list on the 2019 Porsche Boxster reads like that of a Lotus Elise; you get just enough to get by. The majority of the features on the Boxster are only available as optional extras, which means that Porsche's baby sports car will quickly rise in price once new owners start ticking boxes. What you do get is an electrically powered soft-top that is operational up to a max speed of 31 mph, the side mirrors are heated, a rear-view camera, front and rear parking sensors, and the rear spoiler adjusts itself automatically depending on the driving situation. Inside, you get basic climate control and sport bucket seats with a mix of electric and manual adjustability. A sport steering wheel and pedals pretty much wrap it up. What Porsche hides behind the options curtain is two-zone climate control, heated seats with 18-way adjustability and memory, LED headlights, and much, much more. Seeing as the 718 Boxster is such a good car, it wouldn't have hurt Porsche to push the price up slightly to include these options as standard,at least this way it is left up to the owner to decide.
Porsche understands that even the purest of sports cars need to be connected to the outside world and so they provide an interactive experience for drivers and passengers alike. The Porsche Communications Management infotainment system found in the 2019 Boxster is a strong performer, offering responsive inputs, a good looking screen, and a number of apps, external and inhouse, that makes connecting your device an exercise in simplicity. The seven-inch infotainment screen displays the optional navigation info, which can be shifted to the gauge cluster, and is easy to interact with thanks to a near flush placement in the center console. You get SiriusXM satellite radio, Porsche Car Connect services, Bluetooth streaming, two USB ports, and two SD card slots as well as a six-speaker sound system that delivers a slightly over boosted, bassy soundtrack. The optional Bose surround sound system gets ten-speakers and a built-in subwoofer for improved audio, but for the audiophiles out there, the Burmester high-end surround sound system will be the one to go for, with 12 speakers, a built-in subwoofer and a 300-watt amplifier. Apple CarPlay is an optional extra, and Android Auto isn't available at all.
The 2019 Porsche Boxster has been recalled once in 2019 for a possible fuel leak that could occur in the event of a serious crash. This recall affected certain Boxster and Cayman models produced between 2017 and 2019. The people over at J.D. Power seem to think highly of the Boxster, though, giving it an impressive score of 93 for reliability and overall customer satisfaction. Porsche backs their small two-seater sports car with an impressive four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which includes a 12-year/unlimited-mile corrosion warranty, a four-year/50,000-mile drivetrain warranty and roadside assistance for the same duration.
As a low-volume specialty sports car, the Porsche hasn't been tested by either the IIHS or the NHTSA - and there isn't any data available on any of their other models, so it's difficult to comment on the actual levels of safety offered by the 718 Boxster, but as a German automaker with a long and credible history of building some of the best sports cars in the world, most will rest easy knowing that their Boxster will keep them alive in case something bad happens.
In standard guise, there is very little to show in terms of safety features. What you get is a set of four-piston brakes (high-performance ceramics are an option), traction control, ten airbags, and a set of rollover protection bars. That sounds like any moderately priced sports car of the early 2000s but is disappointing for a car that is cutting edge in most other categories. Optional driver assistance features include adaptive cruise control, lane-change assistance and auto on/of LED headlights.
There are two ways of looking at this verdict: from the perspective of the Porsche fan and driving enthusiast, or the perspective of the casual driver who's looking for a fun daily runabout. For those interested in performance convertible sports cars in the $60,000 to $80,000 range, you simply cannot do better than the Boxster. The new turbocharged engines change the characteristics of the two-seater and make it more accessible and easier to drive fast. The chassis balance and suspension setup work together with the sublime steering setup to deliver a connected and direct driving experience that's difficult to match in any class. The GTS model feels telepathic and is on par with Ferrari's finest when it comes to feedback and overall balance. For those looking for a sporty two-door runabout, the Porsche wouldn't be at the top of our list, purely because of its limited standard tech and safety features, as well as its small cargo capacity; but it's comfortable enough not to feel like you're making a major compromise. Those who appreciate this car for what it is will find that living with it isn't a sacrifice, but a blessing.
Starting with san MSRP of $59,000, the 2019 Porsche Boxster offers class-leading performance and pure driver enjoyment. Sure, you can buy a 717 hp Dodge Challenger Hellcat for that money, but the Porsche will tingle your senses in a way the Demon could only ever dream about. The faster and more capable Boxster S starts at $71,400 and represents quite a bargain if you consider the significant boost in performance you get from the larger 2.5-liter engine. The most expensive Boxster in the 2019 lineup is the GTS, with a starting price of $82,800. For those who buy these cars for what they were intended for, the premium that the GTS asks over its siblings will be a non-issue. Fully kitted out will all available options, the Porsche Boxster GTS will set you back an eye-watering $140,000; that's venturing deep into 911 territory. The Boxster's hardtop cousin, the Cayman, starts at $56,900 in base trim, and goes up to $80,700 for the GTS Coupe, while the base 911 Carrera Coupe starts at $91,100.
There are three models on offer for 2019; the base model Boxster, followed by the Boxster S, and finally, the high-performance GTS. The base model is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter flat-four engine that produces 300 hp and is capable of accelerating to sixty in 4.9 seconds; it tops out at 170 mph. Notable features include four-piston front performance brakes, sport bucket seats, a seven-inch infotainment display with six speakers, as well as 18-inch alloy wheels. The base model can be identified by its single exit exhaust tip.
The S model gets a larger displacement engine in the form of a 2.5-liter flat-four, which bumps the power up to 350 hp, drops the zero to sixty time down to 4.4 seconds, and lifts the top speed to 177 mph. The S gets a set of 19-inch wheels, red brake calipers and two centrally-mounted exhaust tips.
GTS cars use the same 2.5-liter engine as found in the S, but enjoy a slight tweak in power (now 365 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque with the PDK transmission) and roll on a set of 20-inch wheels. The front and rear fascias are slightly enhanced, too, and Porsche includes adaptive suspension, a limited-slip differential in the rear and sportier bucket seats.
The Porsche Boxster is a stripped-down sports car, to put it lightly, and the majority of features have been reserved as optional extras. The list of options is one of the longest you'll find in this price category, and ranges from transmission choices, all the way to the color of your seatbelt. The exterior can be painted in over 13 different colors, and there are four-wheel options, including the gorgeous 20-inch 911 Turbo wheels that go for $2,380. Inside, you get to choose between three different styles of bucket seats; a set of full race-spec seats will cost you $5,900. Seat packages such as the premium package plus include 18-way power adjustability. The most significant extras on the list have to be the $3,730 PDK auto gearbox, LED headlights, adaptive cruise control and lane change assist. Porsche also gives new owners a seemingly endless array of interior color and material options.
You can split up the Boxster range into entry-level fun, serious fun, and serious full stop, so the purchasing decision will boil down to what you're looking for in a two-door convertible. The base model, starting at just under $60K, will be more than enough car for the vast majority of drivers, and the performance difference between the 2.0-liter car and the higher-spec cars won't be that noticeable when cruising around town. Even on the track, the base model will prove to be more than capable of pushing most drivers to their limit. The Boxster S, the middle-child of the Boxster range, provides exactly what it's ranking suggests; more power and more overall performance. The S will be the one to go for if you're looking for something slightly more engaging, but in the end, the GTS is the one to go for if you're a true enthusiast. At the end of the day, the base model would be our choice for the simple reason that it offers a driving experience that closely matches its siblings, but gives the owner a budget of $12,400 to select crucial options like a PDK transmission, LED headlights, Apple CarPlay and adaptive cruise control before you hit the Boxster S's base price. It will take a skilled driver to hit the limit of the standard Boxster: that'll do for the majority of us then.
The most glaring difference between these two cars is the fact that the Cayman has a fixed hardtop roof and the Boxster doesn't. For most, that's where it ends - but there's a lot more to it. Both cars share the same engine options, which consists of a standard 2.0-liter engine and a 2.5-liter motor in two states of tune. Both cars share very similar dimensions, with only slight differences in length and height, but the added weight of the hardtop gives the Cayman a slight weight penalty. What separates these two cars is the performance potential; the hardtop Cayman was designed for the driving enthusiast that cares more about track days and canyon carving than messy hair and sunburnt scalps, that's why you can buy a hardcore GT4 Cayman, but not a GT4 Boxster. The Boxster Spyder shares its underpinnings with the GT4 Cayman but offers less downforce and suspension adjustability. Both offer similar spec levels and optional extras, so the choice will boil down to whether you want maximum performance or an open-top experience.
The Porsche 911 is the fit dad that still has more than enough energy and strength to outrun and overpower the rowdy teenage son. The 911 has to be one of the motoring world's most famous brands, and for a good reason; it continues to set the standard for performance cars, and offers a beautifully curated range of cars that start with the ever-capable Carrera and morphs into the supercar track-munching 911 GT2 RS. Porsche has been clever in how it spaces its sports car range; the Boxster is basically a 911-lite and displays all the best traits of its bigger brother in a toned-down manner. In its basest form, the 911 is powered by a twin-turbo flat-six engine producing 379 hp and 331 lb-ft of torque, and will accelerate to sixty in four seconds, and continue on to a top speed of 182 mph, which is a significant improvement in performance over the fastest Boxster, while managing to return similar fuel consumption numbers. The 911 offers a more mature interior and features list, as well as interior space thanks to an extra set of seats, If you want a drop-top experience, you'll have to cough up $110,200 for the Convertible model.