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2018 Porsche 718 Boxster

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2018 Porsche 718 Boxster Expert Review

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Sexy and swift, the 2018 Porsche 718 Boxster is a turbocharged 2-seater with exquisite design and dynamic performance. At a starting price of under $59,000 it’s also Porsche’s least expensive convertible. Two models are available, the 300-horsepower Boxster and the 350-horsepower Boxster S. Both are rear-wheel drive with a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine mounted in the middle of its chassis for ultimate balance and handling. Its mid-engine layout also allows for two trunks, one in the front and one in the back, giving the Boxster a surprising amount of cargo space. Its rivals include the similar Porsche 718 Cayman, which is essentially a coupe version of the Boxster, as well as the BMW Z4, Audi TT, Mercedes-Benz SLC, Jaguar F-Type and the more powerful Chevy Corvette.

You'll Like This Car If...

Don’t be seduced by the larger engines and higher horsepower offered in some of the new Boxster’s rivals. The Porsche is a serious performance machine. Even the base model will accelerate to 60 mph in less than 5.0 seconds, and its athleticism is unmatched in the class. The Boxster is also polished and sophisticated, with a smooth ride, refined controls and a comfortable interior.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If the questionable security of a fabric roof isn’t for you, the BMW Z4 and Mercedes SLC have folding retractable hardtops, which offer superior protection from bad guys as well as weather. If all-wheel drive is on your wish list, check out the Audi TT, which is more than $10,000 less than the Porsche.

How It Ranks
2018 Porsche 718 Boxster Low/wide front photo What's New for 2018

All-new just last year, the Porsche Boxster is essentially unchanged for 2018. Porsche has made the first year of scheduled maintenance complimentary, and it has fitted an improved carbon cabin filter to keep out particles, pollen, odors and dust from the air even more effectively. When the top is up, of course.

Driving the 718 Boxster
2018 Porsche 718 Boxster Front angle view photo
Driving Impressions

Your favorite twisting back road and a 2018 Porsche 718 Boxster. The top is down, the sun is shining and the sports car’s tachometer needle is dancing around its 7,500-rpm...

... redline. Is this heaven? No, but it’s the closest thing money can buy. The new Boxster may be an "entry-level" Porsche, but there's nothing entry-level about its performance or refinement. It’s quick, agile and incredibly engaging to drive, but the Boxster also manages to be comfortable and even luxurious. Its 2-place interior is surprisingly roomy and its two trunks can handle more than you’d expect. A base model with the 300-horsepower 2.0-liter engine and manual transmission will push the performance envelope farther than most drivers will even venture, and the turbocharged engine delivers power urgently and without lag. Opt for Porsche's 7-speed automatic PDK, and you'll get a transmission that's so smooth you may not perceive gear shifts. Switching drive modes to Sport changes the Boxster's personality, making it more aggressive and quicker off the line.

TURBOCHARGED ENGINE
Last year Porsche switched the Boxster’s engine from a horizontally opposed, naturally aspirated 6-cylinder to a turbocharged horizontally opposed 4-cylinder, and predictably the Porsche faithful cried foul. But the change increased the 2-seater’s power and performance significantly. Output has jumped from 265 horsepower to 300 in the Boxster and from 315 to 350 in the Boxster S.

PDK AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION
Although both Boxster models come standard with a 7-speed manual transmission that is a joy to operate, its optional automatic transmission is one of the best. Called PDK, short for Porsche Doppelkupplung, which is German for “dual clutch,” the 7-speed automatic shifts gears quicker than any human can and is a great match for the Boxster’s turbocharged engines. The popular option costs $3,200.

2018 Porsche 718 Boxster Details
2018 Porsche 718 Boxster Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

You sit low in the new Porsche 718 Boxster just as you should in a 2-seat sports car. The driving position is perfect as you reach out and wrap your hands around its thick, leather-covered 3-spoke steering wheel. The instrumentation is simple and the large tachometer is front and center exactly where it should be. Nothing is out of place and everything looks and feels expensive. The key is to the left of the steering wheel, a Porsche tradition, and there’s an abundance of aluminum trim and soft leather. The sport seats are supportive, split by a narrow armrest and jet-like transmission tunnel and, above that, a 7-inch touch-screen audio and communication system.

Exterior
2018 Porsche 718 Boxster photo

Originally modeled after Porsche’s race-winning 550 Spyder from the 1950s, the car made famous by actor James Dean, the 2018 Boxster manages to be both retro and modern at the same time. Much like the more expensive Porsche 911, the Boxster’s sleek profile, voluptuous curves and deeply sculpted side sills offer raw supercar sex appeal, but there’s nothing vulgar or sophomoric about its design. No oversized wings. No unnecessary scoops. It’s a shape of function born of speed. The 718 Boxster is at its best with the fabric roof down, but it’s by no means ungainly with it up. The more powerful Boxster S stands out with larger 19-inch wheels, and a twin tailpipe that, like the base model, peeks out the center rear.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Aside from the prestige of owning a Porsche and the ability to dispense of most other cars at will, a 2018 718 Boxster comes with a power-operated fabric roof, HomeLink garage-door opener, front and rear parking sensors with rearview camera, and black, tan or gray interior with seats in partial leather. The standard infotainment system includes a 7-inch touch screen and 6-speaker/110-watt audio system with AM/FM/Satellite/HD Radio with CD/DVD drive, 11-gig internal storage and inputs for USB and SD cards. Bluetooth phone connectivity is standard. Boxster S models include a more powerful engine, larger wheels and a higher top speed (177 mph).

Optional Equipment

A 2018 Boxster can be highly personalized. From the color of the cabin’s leather to 14- or even 18-way-power seats, carbon-ceramic brakes or torque-vectoring technology, dozens of options are available both a la carte and as part of packages. The Sport Exhaust System provides an even more thrilling soundtrack, as do the Bose or Burmester audio systems. Navigation is available, as are climate-controlled seats and a heated steering wheel. Optional driving aids include adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring, while the Sport Chrono Package includes the Sport+ mode for sharper performance, central-mounted analog/digital stopwatch, and launch control on automatic-transmission models. For 2018 Porsche’s interior trim options now include leather seat centers in deviating colors and contrasting stitching on the seats, dash, sills and steering column.

Under the Hood

Two turbocharged 4-cylinder engines are available for the 718 Boxster. Standard models use a 2.0-liter that, while smaller than the outgoing 6-cylinder, makes more power. The 718 Boxster S has a 2.5-liter turbo-4 that generates 350 horsepower. Because the engine is mounted in the middle and is a flat, or "boxer" design, this Porsche has excellent balance. Boxsters are rear-wheel drive, and power transmission to the wheels is immediate and delightful. In an effort to save fuel, Boxsters use an engine start/stop system that cuts power at idle. If you find it too abrupt, as we did in city traffic, it is defeatable with the touch of a button.

2.0-liter turbocharged flat-4
300 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
280 lb-ft of torque @ 1,950-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/28 mpg (manual), 22/29 mpg (automatic)

2.5-liter turbocharged flat-4
350 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
309 lb-ft of torque @ 1,900-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/26 mpg (manual), 21/28 mpg (automatic)

The 2018 Porsche 718 Boxster has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting around $59,000 for a base model and over $71,000 for an S model if you include the destination charge. Of course, this is just the start. Add options, and you can easily lift these prices by thousands and even tens of thousands of dollars. At its starting price, the new Boxster is more expensive than the Mercedes-Benz SLC, BMW Z4 and Audi TT, and below a Jaguar F-Type. A 460-horsepower Chevrolet Corvette Stingray convertible starts around $61,000 and outmuscles the Boxster S. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying to make sure you're getting the best deal. If history repeats, the Porsche Boxster's resale value will continue to be above average.

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