Thrilling performance. The driving experience is the name of the game for small sports cars, and the 2019 Porsche 718 Boxster is as good as it gets. It may not have the all-out speed of its older sibling, the Porsche 911, but the 718 Boxster feels just as potent.
Clever turbos cut down on lag, which means responses are lightning quick. The steering is the same – the rack is electronically assisted, but it relays plenty of feedback from the road. This is an impressive balance, and one that other premium badges haven’t mastered (looking at you, Audi).
Porsche’s PDK gearbox defines the genre of dual-clutch automatics, and, especially with launch control, it's excellent. All the same, we appreciate that the 718 Boxster still comes with a six-speed manual transmission, another rarity these days.
All the performance details are as finely honed as you’d expect from Porsche. Brakes are powerful and responsive. The suspension is composed but aggressive. If these aren’t enough, Porsche’s options list holds enough upgrades to satisfy all but the wildest of speed demons. The 718 may be the entry point to Porsche’s lineup, but for most mortals, it’s all the performance you could ever dream of.
Cozy or cramped? The 718 Boxster makes no bones about its mission in life, which generally doesn’t include carrying passengers or cargo. Seating is limited to two, although the supportive and leather-trimmed seats do make the journey comfortable.
Baggage is another matter. The 718 Boxster’s mid-engine layout means that cargo space is split between a small trunk and a hood-access “frunk.” The power-folding soft top encroaches on the space even further.
The end result is a grand total of 9.6 cubic feet of cargo, with 5.2 of that located in the frunk. That’s enough for a (light) grocery run, but will probably be a squeeze on a weekend away.
No one is buying the 718 Boxster for its utility, but a Chevrolet Corvette manages 15 cubic feet behind the seats. Still, the Boxster isn’t the worst in its class – a BMW Z4 has only eight cubic feet for cargo.
Porsche sophistication... Although it’s a blast on the back roads and the track, performance isn’t the 718 Boxster’s only trick. The cabin is outfitted with modern tech, and even base models come with luxury touches like leather accents. The upper trims can wear leather, wood, carbon fiber, and a dizzying array of paint and upholstery choices.
The exterior has grown more refined since the last generation, too. A more aggressive rear end sets off Porsche’s classic hood shape, giving the 718 Boxster a little more identity than it had in the past. GTS trims take the muscular lines and make them menacing.
…at Porsche prices. Starting at just over $60,000, the 718 Boxster isn't cheap to start. But a careless trip through Porsche’s configurator will tip the Boxster toward the six-figure mark.
That base price is more than most competitors. The BMW Z4 starts closer to $50,000, and even a Chevy Corvette can be had for less than the 718 Boxster. The Toyota Supra – rumored to start around the $50,000 mark as well – is just around the corner and has Porsche squarely in its sights.
The good news is that a base 718 Boxster feels special enough to warrant Porsche’s premium. The less good news is that adding any options will drive the price up in a hurry. Our only major qualm is the lack of standard automatic emergency braking, but, all the same, bring a calm stomach and a deep wallet.
Final thoughts. Sports cars are as much about personality as statistics, and the 2019 Porsche 718 Boxster is difficult to dislike. It’s sublime to drive and classy both inside and out.
Being a two-seater spots convertible, it comes with compromises. Cargo space is scarce, and the options list intimidates by breadth and cost. The 718 Boxster’s competition is nothing to sneeze at, starting with Porsche’s (slightly cheaper) coupe version, the 718 Cayman.
But drop the top down on a sunny day, hit the gas pedal, and try not to love the 718 Boxster. Sports cars are about the pleasure of the drive, about how they make you feel, and in the Boxster, Porsche has another winner.