Porsche 718 Boxster Quick Review

By Ash Westerman, 20 Jun 2016 Car Reviews

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Porsche 718 Boxster Quick Review

The 2016 Porsche Boxster 718: More power, more thrills, but if it’s the aural quivers that floats your boat, you’ll be left feeling short-changed.

Porsche’s new mid-engine sports car has fewer cylinders than its predecessor, and a turbo charger which changes its character significantly. So is that a good thing?

TELL ME ABOUT THIS CAR

It’s the latest version of Porsche’s mid-engined convertible sports car, now with more power and considerably more torque than its predecessor, all in one of the best-handling open-top packages on the market.

STRENGTHS

  • New turbo-charged engine delivers plenty of immediate grunt from modest engine speeds, so you don’t need to rev it hard to make swift progress.
  • A raft of chassis upgrades make a brilliant handling car even more dynamically gifted and engaging. From the steering, to the grip levels, to the seat-of-the-pants sensations, the Boxster is an utter pleasure to drive hard.
  • Upgraded brakes provide massive stopping power, and are strong enough to withstand punishment on a racetrack
  • The standard six-speed manual gearbox has a lovely oily, mechanical feel, and enhances the driver’s sense of connection with the car…
  • … However the optional seven-speed dual-clutch transmission gives the car even faster acceleration, and is more economical when cruising because of the tall seventh ratio.
  • Roof has a power folding mechanism that works at speeds up to 50km/h, and provides a snug, well-insulated cabin when it’s up.
  • New interior feels much more premium than the car’s predecessor, and the touchscreen infotainment system incorporates the latest Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity – allowing all of your phone’s functionality to be displayed and used in the car.

WEAKNESSES

  • New engine does not rev as hard as its predecessor, and some enthusiasts may miss that need to work the engine in its upper reaches to extract maximum performance
  • The much-loved Porsche ‘yowl’ - the hollow, slightly frenzied noise the old engine made as it reached maximum revs - is gone.
  • The sound the Boxster makes in much of its normal operating range is a bit tuneless and not especially engaging.
  • Prices of both the base model and S have risen compared to their predecessors.

ANY RIVALS I SHOULD CONSIDER?

Jaguar’s F-Type convertible should not be ignored. It’s not quite as dynamically sharp as the Boxster, but its supercharged V6 sounds epic and gives the car great performance.

Audi’s TTS convertible has a gorgeous cabin and ample appeal, but its front-engine, all-wheel-drive layout can’t match the Boxster’s rear-drive, mid-engined balance and feedback. Mercedes’ forthcoming SLC could be worth a look, but is sure to be more of a sports cruiser than true sportscar.