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2016 Porsche Boxster: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader May 2016

While the 2016 Porsche Boxster may be the least expense Porsche one can buy, it might also be one of the most fun to drive. Sure, the 911 is the automaker's gold standard, but for its $85,000-and-up price tag, we might as well be talking about literal rather than figurative gold. In the Boxster, you'll find even the $54,000 base model delivers impressive performance and razor-sharp handling while maintaining all the gravitas expected from this German automotive powerhouse.

The Boxster is available only as a 2-seat roadster and comes standard with a folding fabric top available in four colors. The 1-touch power top can be raised or lowered in only 9 seconds, even while you're traveling at speeds of up to 31 miles per hour. Unlike some competitors, the Boxster does not have a retractable hardtop, in the interest of packaging and weight savings. For people who prefer their sports cars with a fixed roof, Porsche makes a hardtop coupe version called the Cayman.

What's New for 2016?

Two new trims join the Boxster lineup for 2016. The Black Edition is essentially a base model with more features added to its standard equipment list, while the new Spyder offers up the same 375-horsepower, 3.8-liter engine found in the 911 Carrera S.

What We Like

Brisk acceleration; excellent road feel; quick top operation; upscale cabin; surprising luggage space; extensive dealer network

What We Don't

Modest standard equipment; overwhelming number of pricey options; no retractable hardtop option; weak standard audio system

How Much?

$53,150-$140,000

Fuel Economy

For 2016, the standard Boxster's 2.7-liter boxer 6-cylinder engine offers 265 hp, while a 3.4-liter boxer 6-cylinder engine delivers 315 hp in the Boxster S and 335 hp in the GTS. The new Spyder, which is available only with 6-speed manual transmission, is powered by a 3.8-liter boxer engine that generates 375 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque.

Although the Boxster is faster and more powerful than ever before, it's also more fuel-efficient, thanks to direct injection, optimized aerodynamics and new fuel-saving systems that cut off fuel when coasting and shut the engine off at stoplights. As a result, the 2016 Boxster achieves an Environmental Protection Agency rating of 20 miles per gallon in the city and 30 mpg on the highway with the manual, while the Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) automatic gets 22 mpg city/32 mpg hwy. The Boxster S is nearly as good, achieving 20 mpg city/28 mpg hwy with the manual and 21 mpg city/30 mpg hwy with the PDK. The GTS achieves 22 mpg city/31 mpg hwy with the PDK and 19 mpg city/26 mpg hwy with the manual, while the new Spyder clocks in at 18 mpg city/24 mpg hwy.

Standard Features & Options

Porsche offers the 2016 Boxster in five trims: Base, Black Edition, S, GTS and Spyder. All models come nicely equipped and (in typical Porsche style) offer a dizzying array of options, colors and packages.

The Boxster ($53,150) includes a 6-speed manual transmission, a power retractable top with a glass rear window, automatic climate control, rain-sensing wipers, Bluetooth hands-free cellphone connectivity, a 4-speaker 50-watt AM/FM/CD/AUX stereo with a 7-inch color display, manual seats with power recline, 18-in alloy wheels, power windows, power locks, heated side mirrors, cruise control, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel and partial leather interior trim.

The Boxster Black Edition ($60,150) adds more features, including HID headlights, 20-in wheels, upgraded audio, navigation and unique Black Edition badging.

The Boxster S ($64,950) adds a more powerful engine, 19-in alloy wheels, bi-xenon headlamps and a 7-speaker audio upgrade.

The Boxster GTS ($75,650) brings greater horsepower and torque, plus 20-in Carrera S wheels, unique exterior body work and lower trim, Porsche sport seats, the Sport Chrono package, the Porsche Dynamic Light System and Porsche Active Suspension Management.

The Boxster Spyder ($83,150) adds the larger 3.8-liter engine, 6-speed manual transmission, locking rear differential, sport suspension, upgraded brakes, Porsche Torque Vectoring and larger wheels and tires. Air conditioning is left out to save weight but can be added back.

The options list for the Boxster is nearly as long as "War and Peace." One of the more desirable options is Porsche's quick-shifting 7-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission with shift paddles, which will run you $3,200. Another $7,400 buys high-performance ceramic brakes. Adaptive suspension, torque vectoring and a Sport Chrono package for the racetrack are also available -- though if you add them together with the PDK and ceramic brakes, be sure to budget an additional $16,000 for all these driver technologies, not including any wheel or tire upgrades.

More options include the Bose audio upgrade, a carbon fiber package, adaptive speed control, a carbon-and-leather steering wheel and adaptive sport bucket seats. Along the way, you can also choose from numerous paint, interior trim and wheel choices. Check off every possible option, and the Porsche Boxster's price can easily exceed $140,000.

Safety

To date, no agency has crash-tested the 2016 Porsche Boxster.

Behind the Wheel

Despite playing second fiddle to the legendary 911 Carrera for the last 15 years, the Boxster has always been delightful to drive. The 2016 model's acceleration is stronger than ever, and it becomes downright intoxicating as the engine revs climb higher, particularly with the stronger Boxster S, GTS and Spyder. Shifting the 6-speed manual transmission is a sheer delight if you like stick shift and are willing to accept the somewhat firm clutch.

With the optional electronically adjustable suspension in the Comfort setting, the Boxster's ride quality is sporty without being harsh, but it stiffens up with the touch of a button for more road feel and even flatter handling.

Steering has always been a Porsche specialty, and while the 2016 Boxster uses fully electric steering, Porsche has tuned it to be as wonderfully communicative and direct as a hydraulic setup.

A wind blocker between the headrests keeps wind buffeting very low, even when driving fast. With the windows raised and the heated seats activated, top-down driving is possible even on cool nights. The padded, multilayer fabric roof helps insulate the cabin from cold weather as well as from outside noise. With the engine so close to the driver, however, the interior can still get a bit loud at times. If you like performance-car sounds, that may not be a bad thing. An optional sport exhaust system, which comes standard on the GTS, amplifies the engine sound even more.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 Audi TT Roadster -- Audi's stylish TT roadster costs less and is better equipped than the Boxster, but its 2.0-liter turbo engine can't keep up with the Boxster from a standing start. The TT's all-wheel-drive architecture gives it tenacious grip in the corners but prevents it from catching the Porsche when it comes to feedback and rewarding driving dynamics.

2016 BMW Z4 -- The BMW Z4 offers a roadster experience that's heavy on luxury at the expense of ultimate sportiness. The sDrive35is model's ability to accelerate to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds makes it nearly as quick as the Boxster S, but its handling isn't quite as precise, and its fuel economy isn't as good. The Z4 does feature a retractable hardtop versus the Porsche's soft-top.

2016 Mercedes-Benz SLK -- With its folding metal-and-glass retractable roof, the SLK is heavier and more luxury-inclined than the featherweight Boxster. The SLK55 AMG is downright muscular with its 415-hp V8, and with a claimed 0-to-60 mph time of 4.5 seconds, it's the only competitor in this set that can keep up with the Boxster GTS and Spyder.

2016 Jaguar F-Type Convertible -- The F-Type delivers brilliant performance in a sleek, new design more captivating than that of the aging Boxster. The F-Type R brings a 550-hp V8 and all-wheel drive.

Used Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet -- A 2010-2015 911 Carrera Cabriolet offers more performance and features, and it will cost about the same as a well-equipped S or GTS.

Autotrader's Advice

Thanks to their timeless styling, solid build quality and favorable driving dynamics, prior-generation Boxsters have enjoyed good resale value and may prove to be collectible over time. For 2016, the Boxster Sypder offers a more distinctive appearance and pristine performance -- but at a price. We think most enthusiasts will be quite happy with either the base or S trims. If that's you, we bet you'll consider the 2016 Porsche Boxster a solid investment that you can enjoy every day, especially if it's a sunny one.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2016 Porsche Boxster: New Car Review - Autotrader