$39,187 - $47,652

2018 Porsche Boxster Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2018 Porsche Boxster was new.


Performance: 9.3

The 2018 Porsche Boxster offers three energetic turbocharged engines, each of which delivers plenty of power and rapid acceleration. This Porsche is more than just straight-line quick, however; it has excellent handling and a smooth ride. And despite its thrilling performance, the Boxster delivers above-average fuel economy.

  • "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." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The car feels faster everywhere from dead-stop acceleration to making a pass." -- Road and Track (2017)
  • Indeed, the new Porsche 718s remain focused performance cars, with sublime balance through corners, and the engine and chassis changes mean they take those corners faster than ever before. They don't do it while sounding and feeling exactly the same as in the past, which will no doubt cause endless forum discussions and debates – wholly appropriate given the car's history of mixed opinions about it." -- Automobile Magazine (2017)

Acceleration and Power

The Boxster is a midengine car that comes standard with a 300-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Even with this engine, the Boxster feels powerful and quick. There’s also little turbo lag.

Boxster S models feature a turbocharged, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 350 horsepower. Like the base engine, this turbo-four has little turbo lag. This engine is even more energetic than the base turbo-four. If you can afford to make the upgrade, you won’t regret it.

There’s also the new-for-2018 GTS model. It features the same setup as the Boxster S, but GTS-specific tuning produces 365 horsepower.

All engines are mated to a six-speed manual transmission. A seven-speed automatic dual-clutch transmission (known as the Porsche Doppelkupplung or PDK) is available. The manual is nice, and you can hardly be blamed for choosing a stick shift in a sports car. However, if you want an automatic, the PDK is one of the best transmissions around.

If you want some stats to back up the Boxster’s performance, here you go: the base model will go from zero to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds (4.7 seconds with the PDK), and the Boxster S will make the dash in 4.4 seconds (4.2 with the PDK). Porsche claims the GTS will go from zero to 60 mph in just 3.9 seconds. The only negative regarding the Boxster’s powertrains is the engine stop-start system. It’s designed to save fuel, but it can feel harsh when the engine turns on and off. Fortunately, you can disable it.

The Boxster’s best fuel economy comes with the base engine and automatic transmission. With that combo, this Porsche gets an EPA-estimated 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. Opt for the manual, and the ratings drop by 1 mpg each. Those aren’t the best ratings in the class, but they’re above average. The Boxster S gets slightly worse ratings of 21/28 mpg city/highway with the PDK and 20/26 mpg city/highway with the manual transmission.

  • "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." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The PDK dual-clutch gearbox is, as usual, excellent. A six-speed manual transmission with automatic rev-matching is standard in both the Boxster and Boxster S, and as much as I love Porsche's manual gearboxes, the new powertrains really are optimized for PDK." -- Road and Track (2017)
  • "The base 718 Boxster is a damn good car, but that being said, those considering buying one should avoid driving the 718 Boxster S. You won't need the S' 50 extra horsepower and 29 lb-ft of torque, but you damn sure aren't going to want to give it up once you experience it." -- Motor Trend (2017)

Handling and Braking

When it comes to handling on the open road, few cars can match the Porsche Boxster. It has sharp steering and sturdy brakes, which provide the confidence to take full advantage of the car’s unparalleled agility. And while some sports cars have a rough ride because of their stiff, athletically tuned suspensions, the Boxster’s ride is smooth and serene.

Rear-wheel drive is standard in this Porsche. A number of performance upgrades are available, including an adaptive suspension (PASM), speed-sensitive power steering, torque vectoring (PTV), and racing-inspired ceramic brakes.

  • "Steering this Boxster is pure joy. No company cares more about what happens when a car's steering wheel is turned than Porsche. And that ideal is on grand display here in the model that leverages physics better than any other Porsche. … If electric assist were once something to be doubted, those days end now with a car that offers steering weight, response, and feel as good or better than anything else sold today." -- Car and Driver (2017)
  • "When a chassis is as good as the 718's, you don't need to make the suspension overly stiff in order to make the car handle, and this is where the Boxster S really shines. The suspension gives when it needs to, stays firm when it needs to, and makes sporty driving feel effortless. The optional 350mm carbon-ceramic brakes mean late braking quickly becomes a pastime, though I sampled the standard 330mm steel brakes as well and found them more than sufficient for road use." -- Road and Track (2017)
  • "You notice the swifter steering and that fantastic midengined feeling when you turn hard and start to feel the chassis yawing; it's such a satisfyingly agile sensation. Despite the extra torque, traction is also terrific, the brakes are strong, and the ride felt controlled and supple enough on both the PASM and PASM Sport setups we tested." -- Autoweek (2017)

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