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2019 Porsche 718 Boxster Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader May 2019

Some purists might still be upset about the Porsche 718 Boxster switching from a naturally aspirated flat-six engine to a set of turbocharged flat-four engines a couple of years ago. It's hard to deny that the old 6-cylinders had more character and were a bit more responsive, but what we got with the turbo engines is more power, better fuel economy and quicker acceleration, and those are perks that are hard to gripe about.

Not only is the 2019 Boxster quicker -- it feels substantially quicker. Changes were also made to the manual transmission to make it easier to operate the clutch, while the suspension and steering were altered to improve both ride and handling. Now more able to compete with the Audi TT, the BMW Z4, the Jaguar F-Type and the Chevrolet Corvette, the Boxster's one drawback may be its price, which can climb significantly higher than that of its competition.

What's New for 2019?

There are no notable changes to the Porsche 718 Boxster for the 2019 model year. See the 2019 Porsche 718 Boxster models for sale near you.

What We Like

  • Sublime handling
  • Strong and efficient engines
  • Excellent interior quality
  • Highly customizable
  • Reasonably practical for a roadster
  • Easy-to-drive manual transmission

What We Don't

  • Turbocharged engines have lost some response and character
  • Too many things are options
  • Tight trunk space

How Much?

$60,250-$84,050

Fuel Economy

The base 718 Boxster is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that produces 300 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. Every Boxster is rear-wheel-drive and comes standard with a 6-speed manual transmission. A dual-clutch automated manual transmission called PDK is an option. Fuel economy is 21 miles per gallon in the city, 28 mpg on the highway and 24 mpg in combined driving with the manual. The PDK increases those estimates by 1 mpg.

The 718 Boxster S has a 2.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder good for 350 hp and 309 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is 20 mpg city/26 mpg hwy/22 mpg combined with the manual. The PDK is essentially 2 mpg better.

At the top of the food chain is the 718 Boxster GTS, which packs a hotter version of the turbo-four in the S model making 365 hp and up to 317 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is 19 mpg city/25 mpg hwy/21 mpg combined with the manual and 1 mpg better in all three categories with the PDK automatic.

Standard Features & Options

The 2019 718 Boxster is available in Boxster and Boxster S models, which largely differ by engine. The 718 Cayman is the coupe version and is reviewed separately.

The base Boxster ($60,250) comes standard with 18-in wheels, summer performance tires, a fully powered retractable soft-top roof, a wind deflector, heated mirrors, a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, bi-xenon headlights, LED running lights, single-zone automatic climate control, power reclining front seats (manual fore-aft and height adjustment), partial leather seating, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth, the Porsche Communication Management (PCM) touchscreen interface, two USB ports, a media-player interface, a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack, satellite radio, an HD Radio and a 6-speaker sound system.

The Boxster S ($72,650) adds a bigger engine and 19-in wheels.

The Boxster GTS ($84,050) adds an extra 15 hp to the engine in the S model while adding a sporty appearance package that includes 20-in Carrera S wheels as standard and a leather and Alcantara interior.

The options list is enormous, ranging from performance enhancements and convenience equipment to customization items like color-keyed trim pieces. Virtually everything can be added a la carte, though there are a handful of packages available to make ordering a little easier.

Performance-enhancing items include the PDK automatic transmission, the PASM adjustable suspension, carbon ceramic brakes, the torque-vectoring rear differential, a sport exhaust, and the Sport Chrono package (extra drive modes, a stability control sport mode and launch control with PDK). Comfort and convenience items include adaptive cruise control, a blind spot monitoring system, keyless entry, and ignition, LED headlights, power-folding mirrors, auto-dimming mirrors and automatic wipers (packaged together), dual-zone automatic climate control, a heated multifunction steering wheel, 10-way power seats (including 4-way lumbar and memory functions), 14-way adaptive sport seats (adds adjustable side and bottom bolsters, wider shoulder bolsters and a power-adjustable steering wheel), heated seats, ventilated seats, a full leather interior, a navigation system, a Bose Surround Sound audio system, a more expensive Burmester Surround Sound audio system, and Porsche Connect (includes Apple CarPlay and a variety of safety remote services).

Safety

The 718 Boxster comes standard with anti-lock brakes, stability control, front knee airbags, seat-mounted side body airbags, door-mounted side head airbags, a rearview camera and parking sensors. The optional adaptive cruise control system includes a forward-collision warning and automatic braking system. There's also a blind spot monitoring system available called Lane Change Assist. The optional Porsche Connect provides automatic emergency assistance and remote services like a stolen-vehicle locator and remote door locking/unlocking.

The Boxster has not been crash tested by the IIHS nor the NHTSA.

Behind the Wheel

The 718 Boxster is one of the best cars you can drive, period. With its mid-engine, RWD layout, it's inherently designed for optimal handling balance and response. Its quicker steering enhances its razor-sharp reflexes and sublime control. However, your driving experience can differ greatly based on the engine and transmissions you choose, along with whether you select certain options boxes.

For starters, although the base 2.0-liter looks good on paper, it's a little underwhelming in person. It just doesn't sound or feel as invigorating as you'd hope from a car that can be this fun and that costs this much. Stepping up to the 2.5-liter, though even more expensive, is recommended. We would also recommend considering the manual transmission. The optional PDK is one of the best automatic transmissions we've ever driven and it delivers quicker shifts than the manual can, but the manual is easy to drive and adds back a layer of engagement that's been stripped away by the turbo engines' deeper well of low-end power.

An important option to consider is Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), which alters the suspension for optimal ride and handling. The gap between its Normal and Sport settings has been widened over the first-generation system, making it more comfortable when you want it to be and more capable of attacking a twisting road when you need it to be. You can also further enhance handling by lowering the car with PASM Sport or specifying the Porsche Torque Vectoring system (a rear differential lock), while the Sport Exhaust system makes the turbocharged engine note a little more bassy at the touch of a button.

Other Cars to Consider

2019 Porsche 718 Cayman -- The 718 Cayman is, quite simply, the same car as the Boxster, but with a fixed roof. This hatchback design not only looks cool, but it makes for a car that's more practical and more affordable than the Boxster, but you'd be missing out on drop-top driving pleasure.

2019 Chevrolet Corvette -- The Corvette is a very different kind of performance car than the 718 Boxster having a front-engine layout and double the cylinders, but the two are in a similar price range and offer similar levels of driving thrills.

2019 Jaguar F-Type -- This Jaguar is another great option for a stylish luxury roadster in this price range and has a wide variety under the hood with your choice of 4-, 6- and 8-cylinder engines. It lacks the 718's precision but boasts a flamboyant character and gorgeous styling.

Used Porsche 911 Cabriolet -- It costs more than the Boxster, but a used one should have a comparable price (and Porsche has a very good certified pre-owned program). The 911 Cabriolet is one of the finest convertibles and sports cars you can buy, and it certainly betters the Boxster's practicality given its more spacious cabin, although the back seats of the 911 are pretty useless.

Autotrader's Advice

Yes, the Boxster S comes with a hefty price premium, but its bigger engine is the vastly more appealing choice over the base model. The GTS is great, but not great enough to justify the jump in price. We'd also stick with the 6-speed manual and specify PASM, the Sport Exhaust and the 10-way power seats with heating and ventilation (a must for a convertible). Find a Porsche 718 Boxster for sale.

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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.
2019 Porsche 718 Boxster Review - Autotrader