The Boxster is all about that sweet spot between power and fun
Words by Erin Baker, Editorial Director at Auto-Trader
Decades ago, Porsche used to be all about serious high-performance sports cars with scary handling that made it easy to lose grip and spin. Then, in the Nineties, along came Mazda’s world-record-selling MX5 and Porsche thought they would get in on the act, so hello Boxster. Now called the 718 Boxster in full, we’ve tested the 718 Boxster T, which is a lighter version (but not as mental as the S or GTS) for a more hardcore sporty vibe.
Style is subjective, of course, but to our mind, the Boxster has always been the Porsche that is easiest on the eye. It sits low on the road, without the fat rump of the 911, cast in a sleek silhouette with a tightly drawn fabric roof. Its well-balanced proportions echo its body – unlike the 911 whose engine waggles away in the rear like a twerking Miley Cyrus, the engine in the Boxster sits in the middle of the ca, just behind the driver, keeping everything well weighted.
We tested the Boxster T, in bright yellow, which was reflected all over the interior, from the yellow fabric pulls that replace the handles (to keep weight down in this T version), to the yellow door stitching and yellow clock face. Nice work.
Porsches still major on their sporting performance credentials inside, so there’s no tablet-style touchscreen, partly because the Boxster is a small two-seat sports car, and partly because such fripperies take away for purist driving pleasure. Instead there is a little touchscreen and a lot of little buttons. If it’s the latest example of connectivity you’re after, look elsewhere. You do of course get DAB, satnav, Bluetooth phone connection and so on, and can pay extra for a great Bose surround sound system, parking assist front and rear, seat heating, Isofix on the passenger seat (damn right), cruise control and two-zone climate control.
Hmm. Comfort is not the major selling point of a two-seat convertible sports car… there’s a lot of wind and tyre noise, and then of course you put the roof down and everything gets buffety but oh, so much fun on a clear sunny day. There’s a decent amount of head and leg room for two six-foot adults although my rugby-playing boyfriend said the seat position hurt his back and couldn’t get comfy. So I left him at home and stepped on the throttle pedal solo.
You do, however, get two boots thanks to that mid-mounted engine, one in the normal rear position and one up front. The front one was deep enough for my son’s 50-odd school and sports bags…
Ah, the Boxster is all about that sweet spot between power and fun. Too much power equals too many nerves in our book, but the Boxster, even in the more hardcore T version, provides enough thrills, both through acceleration and noise, to satisfy most petrolhead who like to use their cars more than once in a blue moon when it’s dry enough. We’re talking 300 horsepower, rear wheel drive and 0-62mph in five seconds. All via a dinky six-speed manual gearbox with a chunky quick shift between gears. Very satisfying stuff.
While the Porsche Boxster is more expensive than the Mazda MX-5 which kick-started its presence, you get some real power and Porsche’s renowned high-quality German engineering. The Boxster T starts at £53,000, but by the time you’ve added options mentioned in the tech segment above, and a few more fun things, you’ll be nearer £60,000. If you want the fun without that much spend, look at the base Boxster model.