What should we wax poetic about first? The steering, brakes, and handling? Or the transmission and engine? Each one of these major components seems to have been dialed in with uncanny precision and plays in perfect harmony with the others. The steering is light and accurate, an eager communicator of what's happening down at the tarmac. The brakes have superb pedal feel and haul the 718 Boxster down with reassuring confidence. The handling, though, might just take the cake. Being mid-engined, it's naturally balanced in a way few other sports cars are. Even with the computer nannies that are inevitably walking the beat in the background, the Boxster still has an air of mechanical, analog goodness, which manifests itself even in the subtlest of inputs.
As for the business of shifting, Porsche offers a choice between a shift-it-yourself six-speed and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, dubbed PDK in the brand's parlance. Both transmissions are lovely pieces of work. The six-speed shifts with an action that's as crisp as a freshly pressed suit, and the clutch takeup is equally satisfying. If you'd prefer the car to do the dirty work of changing gears, the PDK is top-notch. It'll crack off lighting-fast gear changes before you can blink, and is competent in any scenario. It'll also blitz to 60 mph faster than the manual, and will return better fuel economy to boot. With the Sport Chrono Package, the PDK gets a launch control feature that returns zero-to-60 runs of just 4.2 seconds in Boxster S trimmings.
All Boxsters are powered by a 2.0-liter flat-four that sits midway between the rear wheels and the driver. In base trim, it makes 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque; these numbers go up to 350 hp and 309 lb-ft for the S model. New for 2018 is a GTS model that raises power to 365 horses and 317 lb-ft. Opt for this powerplant and zero-to-60 times drop under four seconds.
Whichever poison you pick, the Boxster offers a composed and comfortable ride that walks a pleasing line between comfortable and uncompromised. Two available drive modes (upped to five with the Sport Chrono Package) let buyers decide if they want to skew their drive more toward Sunday cruising or a Saturday track day.