2015 Jaguar F-Type R CoupeEnlarge Photo
Lean, two-seat layouts and classic-roadster shapes are some of the shared traits between the Porsche Boxster and Jaguar F-Type, which are two of the purest sports-car designs on the market. But they take two very different design-and-engineering pathways to get there—and their behind-the-wheel personalities couldn't be more different. Likewise, the Porsche 911 carries a classic sports-car nameplate, but it's become a little more of a grand-touring car over time. Which holds as the best overall?
The Boxster comes in three flavors: Boxster, Boxster S, and Boxster GTS. With the Boxster, you get a 2.7-liter flat-six engine rated at 265 hp and a 0-60 mph time of just 5.5 seconds, while the 3.4-liter in the S is good for 315 horsepower and 4.8 seconds. Opt for the Boxster GTS and you'll upgrade to 330 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque as well as a range of performance-focused suspension and appearance upgrades--and a 4.4-second 0-60 mph time. The F-Type comes in four different flavors, each with forced induction. There's a pair of supercharged V-8s, as well as a pair of supercharged V-6s--set apart by twin inboard exhausts, while the V-8 has quad exhausts, mounted outboard. The quickest of the bunch, the F-Type Coupe R, manages 0-60 mph in just 4.0 seconds and packs a 550-hp punch.
Meanwhile, the latest Porsche 911 is offered in Carrera, Carrera S, and all-wheel-drive Carrera 4 variants, with the top C4S packing a 400-hp, 3.8-liter six and capable of getting to 60 in 4.3 seconds. Add options like the Sport Chrono package and Porsche Active Suspension Management and you have a grand-touring sports car with almost unassailable handling matched with top-notch road manners. Between the Boxster and the F-Type, however, the Boxster might be more of a dynamic champion as you push ever closer to its limit, so we give it a very slight edge—even though its steering in the latest versions can be a slight bit numb.
While the F-Type is a true sports car, by the book, it's hardly begging to be driven to its limit on the track; although it's balanced and responsive in all the right ways, it's to be better enjoyed on the road, even in F-Type Coupe R form. On the other hand, the Porsches feel born and bred for track time, and with just some smart options or accessories—like an extra set of tires and wheels, perhaps—both the Boxster and the 911 can suffice as year-round transport as well as occasional track days.
Inside, between the Boxster and the F-Type, the Porsche is the one with a roomier interior. Although the F-Type's seats are great at holding you in place, it's quite snug and there's barely enough legroom; the Boxster is the pick for taller drivers, although we stepped up the F-Types Comfort and Quality score due to its astonishingly good cabin, with stitched leather and delicate-looking yet durable trims. The interior of the 911, on the other hand, can feel much like that of a luxury sedan at times (although there's barely a back seat of course); we'd recommend its sport seats for serious driving support.
From a safety standpoint, the F-Type has a better set of features than the Boxster, including blind-spot monitoring and reverse traffic detection, along with all the usual electronic aids. But if you step up to the 911 you can get a sophisticated front-end collision avoidance system, as well as adaptive cruise control.
In features, it's between the 911 and the F-Type, but we think the F-Type might have an edge. Its Meridian sound systems are noteworthy, although so is the 911's Burmester system with 821 watts and Air Motion Transformer tweeters. The Boxster is also well-equipped, with Bose surround sound on offer, but its connectivity and infotainment is a step behind.
Who's the winner? There isn't a clear one in this head-to-head, but if you go by our Overall Scores, the F-type edges ahead of the Boxster, with its opulent interior, an awesome feature seat, and yet an on-the-road driving experience that won't let you down.
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