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2021 Porsche Boxster Review

The 2021 Porsche Boxster ranks highly in the luxury sports car class thanks in large part to its phenomenal performance and solid predicted reliability rating.

Pros & Cons

  • Razor-sharp handling
  • Quick acceleration
  • Ample customization options
  • Sporty and comfortable seating
  • Limited visibility and cramped cabin with the top up

New for 2021

  • Boxster GTS 4.0 trim debuts
  • Apple CarPlay, heated seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, and adaptive bi-xenon headlights now standard

Rankings & Research

The 2021 Porsche Boxster's #4 ranking is based on its score within the Luxury Sports Cars category. Currently the Porsche Boxster has a score of 8.8 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 25 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

8.8

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 9.6
Performance: 9.6
Interior: 7.0
Safety:
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
N/A
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Thinking of leasing a Porsche Boxster?

The U.S. News Best Price Program saves users an average of $3,206 off the MSRP, and a lower price equals lower monthly lease payments. That means you could see a savings of $90 a month on a 36-month lease.

Is the Porsche Boxster a Good Car?

Yes, the Boxster is a great luxury sports car. It's one of the most fun-to-drive vehicles in a class that's filled with some of the most potent and thrilling cars on the market. Whether you're trying for a personal-best time at the track or just opening up the throttle on a long cruise, the Boxster is sure to please. Its high-end cabin, sporty seating, and easy-to-use infotainment system round out an excellent overall package.

Why You Can Trust Us: 25 Reviews Analyzed

We analyzed 25 Porsche Boxster reviews – along with reliability ratings, fuel economy estimates, and more – to help you decide if the 2021 Boxster is the right new car for you.

This 2021 Porsche 718 Boxster review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2017.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we never accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an outside firm manages the ads on our site.

Should I Buy the Porsche Boxster?

The Boxster should be on the short list of anyone who wants an engaging luxury convertible, and its relatively low base price makes it a good value for the class. Moving up the trim ladder and adding performance or personalization upgrades can quickly raise the price, however. A fully loaded Boxster more than doubles the starting MSRP.

You might also consider two other Porsches that join the Boxster in this class. The Cayman is basically the hardtop coupe version of the Boxster, while the legendary 911 is fresh off a redesign and perhaps more formidable than ever.

Find a 2021 Porsche Boxster for sale near you »

2020 vs. 2021 Porsche Boxster: What’s the Difference?

For 2021, the Porsche Boxster GTS 4.0 model joins the lineup. With a 394-horsepower six-cylinder boxer engine, it slots below the range-topping Spyder model. The Boxster also gains several standard features, including Apple CarPlay, heated seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, and adaptive bi-xenon headlights.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 Boxster »

Here are the key changes for the Porsche Boxster since it was redesigned for 2017:

  • 2018: Boxster GTS introduced
  • 2019: no major changes
  • 2020: Boxster T and Spyder models introduced; GTS model on one-year hiatus
  • 2021: gains several standard features; GTS 4.0 model debuts

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 Boxster, 2019 Boxster, and 2020 Boxster reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Porsche Boxster Cost?

The 2021 Porsche Boxster starts at $62,000. That's about average for the luxury sports car class, which features vehicles as low as about $43,000 but also a handful that start at around or much higher than $150,000.

The Boxster T retails for $71,000, and the Boxster S costs $74,000. Six-cylinder models such as the GTS 4.0 and Spyder start at $88,900 and $97,300, respectively. Equipping the range-topping Boxster Spyder with most available options brings its price to about $140,000.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Porsche dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Porsche deals page.

Porsche Boxster Versus the Competition

Porsche Boxster vs. Porsche Cayman

The main difference between the Boxster and the Porsche Cayman is body style. The former is a convertible, while the latter is a fixed-roof coupe. Aside from that, these cars are nearly identical. They have the same powertrain lineup and most of the same trim designations. You'll also find a similar list of feature and customization options, along with superb handling characteristics. The Boxster costs a few thousand dollars more than the Cayman, though the range-topping Cayman GT4 is pricier than the Boxster 718 Spyder.

Compare the Boxster and Cayman »

Porsche Boxster vs. Porsche 911

The Porsche 911 joins the Boxster and the Cayman in a tight race at the top of the luxury sports car segment. After a full redesign for 2020, the 911 continues to be one of the best cars on the planet. While the Boxster serves up between 300 and 414 horsepower, the 911 comes standard with 379 horses and offers 443- and 640-horsepower variants. The 911 can go from zero to 60 mph in as little as 2.6 seconds, and it's available with all-wheel drive, which you can't get in the Boxster. That added performance commands a higher price, as the 911 starts at just under $100,000 and can cost more than $200,000.

The 911 is available in coupe, convertible, and Targa body styles, and it has four seats compared to the Boxster's two. You'll also get a larger infotainment screen with the 911, and it offers additional driver assistance features such as a surround-view parking camera system, lane keep assist, and traffic sign recognition. Price and your budget will probably be the deciding factors in choosing between these Porsches.

Compare the Boxster and 911 »

Compare the Boxster, Cayman, and 911 »

Boxster Performance: One of the Best

Boxster Engine

The Porsche Boxster and Boxster T come standard with a 300-horsepower turbocharged engine. It's engaging and gives the roadster a peppy personality, even in base form. However, it starts to look a little less appealing once you consider the other options.

The Boxster S and its 350-horsepower boxer turbo-four mark a noticeable improvement in acceleration, exhaust sound, and overall character. Then there are six-cylinder naturally aspirated boxer engines in the GTS 4.0 and Spyder models that have more of a classic Porsche feel to them.

Both the standard manual transmission and the optional dual-clutch automatic are a treat. Shifting gears yourself is engaging and delivers the sportiest experience. The auto, on the other hand, controls gears better than most drivers will be able to with the manual transmission and is always in the right place.

Porsche Boxster Powertrain/Performance Options:
  • Base engine: turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque; starts at $62,000 (Boxster and Boxster T)
  • Available engines:
    • turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 350 horsepower and 309 pound-feet of torque; starts at $74,000 (Boxster S)
    • 4.0-liter six-cylinder with 394 horsepower and 309 pound-feet of torque; starts at $88,900 (GTS 4.0)
    • 4.0-liter six-cylinder with 414 horsepower and 309 pound-feet of torque; starts at $97,300 (Spyder)
  • Drivetrain: rear-wheel drive
  • Transmission: standard six-speed manual; available seven-speed dual-clutch automatic
Porsche Boxster Appearance Packages:
  • SportDesign package (prices start at $3,050): SportDesign front fascia with front spoiler and distinctively designed rear fascia (reduces ground clearance and front approach angle)­
  • SportDesign package in high-gloss black (prices start at $3,600): same as SportDesign package but in high-gloss black
  • Exterior package painted (prices start at $1,890): painted front air intake slats, rear-side air intake grilles, and rear fascia
  • Deviated stitching interior package (prices start at $2,390): colored stitching on dashboard, center console, door panels, steering wheel, and seats
  • Interior trim painted in exterior color (prices start at $750): dashboard, cup holder, and center console trim
  • Seat belts in color (prices start at $360): Luxor Beige, Guards Red, Racing Yellow, Silver Grey, Bordeaux Red, Chalk, and Miami Blue
  • Instrument dials in color (prices start at $360): Luxor Beige, Guards Red, Bordeaux Red, White, and Racing Yellow
  • Dashboard trim package in leather (prices start at $1,610)
  • Interior trim in mahogany, carbon fiber, or aluminum (prices start at $770)
Porsche Boxster Performance Packages:
  • Sport Chrono package (prices start at $2,090; available in all models except T and Spyder): an analog and digital chronograph, a driving mode switch on the steering wheel, PSM Sport mode, launch control, a rev-match function, and Porsche Active Driveline mounts
Porsche Boxster Individual Performance Options:
  • Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) (prices start at $1,790; available in all models except Spyder): lowers car by 10 millimeters
  • Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) with Mechanically Locking Differential (prices start at $1,320; available in all models except Spyder)
  • Extended range fuel tank (prices start at $140; available in all models except Spyder)
  • Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB) with yellow calipers (prices start at $7,410)
  • Power Steering Plus (prices start at $280; available in all models except Spyder)
Boxster Gas Mileage

The Boxster gets up to an EPA-estimated 21 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway when equipped with its base engine and the automatic transmission. Those figures are about average for the luxury sports car class.

The Boxster with the flat-four base engine and six-speed manual transmission gets 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. The Boxster S returns 19 mpg in the city and 24 or 25 mpg on the highway, depending on transmission. The six-cylinder engine in the Boxster 718 Spyder helps return 16/23 mpg city/highway.

Boxster Ride and Handling

This little Porsche is one of the most agile- and deft-handling cars on the road. Its midengine layout gives it excellent weight distribution and a low center of gravity. You can easily throw the Boxster around a corner or through tight turns while enjoying sharp and responsive steering.

While the Boxster is perfectly at home on a track, its open-air roadster design makes it a great companion for relaxed highway cruising too. Ride quality is soft and supple, and driving this Porsche takes little effort.

How Fast Is the Porsche Boxster?

All Boxster models are at their fastest when outfitted with the PDK automatic transmission and the Sport Chrono package. Some trims, such as the Boxster T, come standard with the latter performance bundle.

The base Boxster and the Boxster T can go from zero to 60 mph in as little as 4.5 seconds, and both of those models have a top speed of 170 mph. Porsche Boxster S models see their top speeds increased to 177 mph, and they can go from zero to 60 mph in as little as four seconds.

The six-cylinder Boxster GTS 4.0 and Spyder are newly available with the automatic transmission. Porsche hasn't advertised zero-to-60 times for these models. With the standard manual transmission, the GTS 4.0 can go from zero to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds and boasts a top track speed of 182 mph. The standard 718 Spyder accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, and its top speed is 187 mph.

Does the Porsche Boxster Have All-Wheel Drive?

No, all Porsche Boxster models are rear-wheel drive. A few luxury sports cars, such as the Audi R8, Acura NSX, and Nissan GT-R, come standard with all-wheel drive, while the Porsche 911, Mercedes-AMG GT, and BMW 8 Series offer AWD as an option.

Read more about performance »

Boxster Interior: Not Just an Afterthought

Boxster Cargo Space

The Porsche Boxster's midengine layout means that it has two storage spaces. One is under the hood, where the engine typically would be, and that measures 5.2 cubic feet. The rear trunk has 4.4 cubic feet of room. Total cargo space is about average for the luxury sports car class, and you can haul a few pieces of luggage or several grocery bags.

How Many People Does the Boxster Seat?

The Boxster seats two people. Sport seats come standard, and they're comfortable for long cruises and spirited cornering. However, the bottom and back cushions are a little narrow, and there are only a few manual adjustments. You can upgrade these seats with 14-way power adjustments.

Also optional are Porsche's Sport Seats Plus, which have more aggressive side bolstering that may make them too snug for some people. They come with the same manual adjustments as the base seats, but you can shell out a few thousand dollars for 18-way power adjustability. Additionally, certain models are available with carbon fiber full bucket seats that feature a lightweight, race-inspired design.

You won't have to worry about cabin space or visibility when the top is down. With the roof up, however, visibility is hindered in some directions, and taller people may feel a bit claustrophobic.

Boxster and Child Car Seats

As with most two-seat cars, the Boxster does not have LATCH car-seat connectors. We do not recommend installing a child safety seat in the front seat of any vehicle.

Boxster Interior Quality

The Boxster mostly delivers on Porsche's reputation for crafting exquisite machines. Build quality is superb, and everything feels solid and well put-together. A few harder plastics detract from a truly upscale atmosphere, but there's an easy remedy for that: You can customize the Boxster cabin by opting for leather, wood, aluminum, and/or carbon fiber surfaces.

Boxster Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Once you get past a slight initial learning curve, the Boxster's infotainment system proves to be user-friendly. The 7-inch touch screen responds quickly to your commands, and graphics look sharp. However, you might find that some physical controls and buttons are located too low on the center stack or are too close to each other and not distinct enough.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, satellite radio, HD Radio, Bluetooth, an eight-speaker stereo, and two USB ports
  • Available infotainment features: a 10-speaker Bose surround-sound stereo, a 12-speaker Burmester premium surround-sound stereo, and navigation
  • Additional standard features: dual-zone automatic climate control and a universal garage door opener
  • Other available features: proximity keyless entry

Read more about interior »

Boxster Reliability

Is the Porsche Boxster Reliable?

The 2021 Porsche Boxster has a good predicted reliability rating of four out of five. Nearly all luxury sports cars rate above average for dependability.

Porsche Boxster Warranty

Porsche covers the Boxster with a four-year/50,000-mile warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Boxster Safety

Boxster Crash Test Results

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash tested the 2021 Boxster. This is common among high-end luxury vehicles.

Boxster Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Adaptive headlights
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Rearview camera

Available advanced safety features:

  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Automatic high-beam headlights

Read more about safety »

Boxster Dimensions and Weight

The Boxster is 14.4 to 14.5 feet long, and its curb weight ranges from 3,020 to 3,205 pounds.

Where Is the 2021 Porsche Boxster Built?

Porsche builds the 2021 Boxster in Germany.

When Did the Porsche Boxster First Come Out?

The Porsche Boxster debuted for the 1997 model year. It was the brand's first model in several decades to be designed as a full roadster, and it employed Porsche's first water-cooled engine, which it shared with the 996 generation 911. Since its inception, the Boxster has had a midengine layout.

The Boxster received a full redesign for 2006, taking styling cues from the Carrera GT supercar. The third-generation Boxster debuted for 2013 and brought improved driving dynamics that cemented it as one of the most fun-to-drive luxury sports cars.

The fourth-generation Boxster was introduced for the 2017 model year. As part of the redesign, Porsche rebranded the model as the 718 Boxster (its Cayman twin became the 718 Cayman), which is an allusion to Porsche's racing heritage. The biggest change Porsche made for this generation was replacing the base six-cylinder engines with turbocharged four-cylinder variants. Naturally aspirated six-cylinder power would return with the Boxster GTS 4.0 and Spyder models.

Which Porsche Boxster Model Is Right for Me?

The 2021 Porsche Boxster comes in five trims: Boxster, T, S, GTS 4.0, and Spyder. The main difference between trims is the engine. All Boxster models feature rear-wheel drive, and you can choose between a six-speed manual and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The standard Boxster should please most drivers, but the midrange Boxster S offers improved performance at a nice price point.

Porsche 718 Boxster

The 2021 Porsche Boxster starts at $62,000 and comes standard with a 300-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder boxer engine. Standard features include partial leather upholstery, two-way manually adjustable heated sport seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, a universal garage door opener, adaptive headlights, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. The 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system includes Apple CarPlay, satellite radio, HD Radio, Bluetooth, an eight-speaker stereo, and two USB ports.

To get full leather seats, you'll have to choose one of the following three upgrades: 14-way power-adjustable seats with memory function ($2,330), two-way manually adjustable Sport Seats Plus ($810), or 18-way power-adjustable Sport Seats Plus with memory function ($3,830).

The $4,140 Premium package adds LED automatic high-beam headlights, a 10-speaker Bose surround-sound stereo, proximity keyless entry, ventilated seats, blind spot monitoring, power-folding outside mirrors, and a heated steering wheel.

The Sport Chrono package costs $2,090 and includes a stopwatch and lap timer, steering wheel-mounted drive mode switches, Sport mode, launch control, a rev-match function, and active driveline mounts.

Other options include adaptive cruise control ($1,670), a GT sport steering wheel ($330), a 12-speaker Burmester premium surround-sound stereo ($4,690), and navigation ($2,320).

Porsche 718 Boxster T

The Porsche Boxster T features the same engine as the base model and a starting price of $71,000. It also comes with a short shifter, the Sport Chrono package, a lowered sport suspension, torque vectoring steering, and a GT sport steering wheel. Carbon fiber full-racing bucket seats are optional for $5,900.

Porsche 718 Boxster S

The $74,000 Porsche Boxster S has a 350-horsepower 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It offers the same list of standard and optional equipment as the base model.

Porsche 718 Boxster GTS 4.0

The Boxster GTS 4.0 comes with a 394-horsepower naturally aspirated six-cylinder boxer engine. With a starting price of $88,900, it also features a lowered sport suspension, upgraded brakes, the Sport Chrono package, a track app, a sport steering wheel, and sport pedals.

Porsche 718 Spyder

The Porsche 718 Spyder retails for $97,300 and boasts a 414-horsepower six-cylinder boxer engine, high-performance summer-only tires, and adjustable chassis components.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Porsche dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Porsche deals page.

See 2021 Porsche Boxster specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2021 Porsche Boxster pairs track-ready handling with comfortable driving manners to be one of the most refined, yet fun, luxury convertibles on the road. A relatively low base retail price among luxury sports cars helps make it a great buying choice.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "Few vehicles fulfill their intended mission as well as the Porsche 718 Boxster does. … Drop the top, let the wind rush through your hair, and enjoy all the performance and driving satisfaction that Porsche can deliver for thousands of dollars less than a 911." -- Car and Driver
  • "The 718 Boxster is one of the best cars you can drive, period." -- Autotrader (2020)
  • "The … Porsche 718 Boxster is one of the best sports cars you can buy if you desire driving enjoyment. It's fast, nimble and uncommonly precise in the way it communicates with its driver." -- Edmunds (2020)
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