Porsche Boxster

The Boxster is Porsche's "entry-level" sports car, built on a mid-engine chassis with seating for two. For 2016, it's offered in four levels: Base, S, GTS and Spyder.

The Base-level Boxster is powered by a 2.7L flat-6-cylinder engine that makes 265 horsepower. The S gets a 3.4L version of the flat-six, tuned to make 315 horsepower. The GTS is also powered by a 3.4L, though thanks partially to a standard sport exhaust, the GTS makes 330 horsepower. The top of the line Boxster Spyder is powered by a 375 horsepower 3.8L flat-six, borrowed from the 911. Two transmissions are available: a 6-speed manual is standard and PDK 7-speed dual clutch transmission is optional on all four models.

Mileage is pretty good for a sports car, thanks primarily to the Boxster's low weight. Fuel economy for the base model is rated at 20 mpg city/30 mpg highway. The S does only marginally less well at 28 mpg highway.

Safety features include standard anti-lock brakes, traction control, Porsche Stability Management and a host of side, thorax and head airbags for both driver and passenger. LED indicator lights and tail lights help improve visibility in all conditions.

The base Boxster is very well equipped, coming with electric-assist steering, 18-inch wheels, a power-folding convertible top with rear heated glass. The rear air dam extends and retracts automatically at speed. The wipers are rain-sensing. Inside, the Boxster comes with leather seat trim, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel and keyless entry are included.

The S upgrades the powertrain but it also upgrades the wheels to 19-inch. The headlights are HID and the sound system gets upgraded to a 7-inch touchscreen model.

The Boxster Spyder is new for 2016, and occupies the top rung on the Boxster performance ladder. With its 375 horsepower, it's the most powerful Boxster ever sold. It's more than just a powerful engine however, unique styling gives it a speedster look while a manually operated (but electronically latching) soft top saves weight.

Porsche is notorious for offering a very extensive list of customization options. The Boxster offers 4 additional wheel options, 2 types of power-adjustable seats that are available in a dizzying array of leather trim. A Premium package adds dual-zone climate control, HID headlamps and power-adjustable seats. Ceramic composite high-performance brakes are available, as is a sport exhaust system. In-dash navigation and Bose audio are available, so are color-keyed seatbelts, ventilated seats, several wood-trimmed heated steering wheels-- the list is very extensive.

Editors' First Take

In the late 1990s, the Boxster saved Porsche. It kickstarted new interest in the German sports car maker and helped set the company on a successful course. The original Boxster was simple and fun, with just enough power and a pretty reasonable price tag. Twenty-five years later, the base Boxster still slaps.

Porsche gets a lot of undeserved guff for putting a turbocharged flat-four engine in the Boxster, a change that came as part of the car's 2016 overhaul, along with the addition of 718 to its name. "It needs a flat-six!" and "This thing sounds like crap!" are common complaints among purists. But write the turbo-four Boxster off completely, and you'll miss out on so much joy.

That's especially true with the Boxster T that joined the lineup in 2020. The T essentially pairs the Boxster's base engine with performance goodies found on more expensive models. You get an adaptive sport suspension, limited-slip differential and 20-inch wheels with sticky summer tires. Combine that with a punchy turbo engine and a six-speed manual transmission, and the T is a whale of a time.

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