2014 Porsche Boxster Review

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Nelson Ireson Nelson Ireson Senior Editor
August 18, 2014

The 2014 Porsche Boxster defines the luxury sports roadster segment with its power, grace, and style.

Completely revised for last year, the Porsche Boxster continues into the 2014 model year unchanged, aside from a pair of new paint colors: Rhodium Silver Metallic replaces Platinum Silver Metallic, and Sapphire Blue Metallic replaces Aqua Blue Metallic.

A lack of changes to the still-new Boxster is a good thing in our books: it's one of the most engaging, fun-to-drive cars available at any price. Rewarding the capable driver while encouraging those still learning, the Boxster’s quick acceleration, well-rounded handling, and beautiful exterior and interior design make it a top pick in the sports car class.

Two mid-mounted engines are available in the Boxster, matching the two primary trim lines: Boxster and Boxster S. The base Boxster gets a 2.7-liter flat six-cylinder engine rated at 265 horsepower. Capable of 0-60 mph runs in just 5.5 seconds and a top speed of 164 mph, even the entry-level Boxster is quick. The Boxster S adds 50 hp for a total of 315 hp from its 3.4-liter flat six-cylinder engine. The extra power cuts acceleration to 60 mph to just 4.8 seconds elapsed and enables a top speed of 178 mph.

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Both models come standard with a six-speed manual transmission, but a dual-clutch seven-speed PDK paddle-shifted automatic is also available. Add in the Sport Chrono package, which includes launch control, advanced racing-inspired shift logic for PDK models, and dynamic transmission mounts, and you have the most inspired version of the Boxster--as well as the one that rips off the quickest claimed 0-60 mph times.

Electric power steering has been a hot topic amongst enthusiasts, with early versions from some carmakers providing synthetic, unnatural feedback--if they provided any at all. Fortunately, the Boxster does not suffer for its EPS system. In fact, if you didn't know it was electric, you might not notice. It's not the same as it used to be, but it's still very communicative and intuitive.

The same could be said of the Boxster's handling; it's a well-balanced, easy-to-drive-fast roadster. It's also incredibly fun to drive, with the motor singing just behind the seats (but not unbearably so when just cruising), the wind blowing through the cabin, and a long, winding road laid out before you. Ride and comfort are also very good, especially in models equipped with the adjustable suspension. A set of buttons in the center console provide sportier settings on top of the standard mode, which modify ride quality (and several other parameters) to suit the driver's mood.

Seating space is good for the two occupants the Boxster holds, with plenty of leg, shoulder, and head room even for a six-foot-plus frame. When the driver isn't pushing the limits, the Boxster is actually quite reserved, cruising smoothly and quietly, just as a daily driver should. Storage space in the cabin is rather limited, thanks to the mid-engine configuration, but the trunk area holds small to medium-sized bags. The convertible top (still a soft top, unlike much of the competition) can raise or lower at speeds up to 30 mph, and takes no space away from any cargo area.

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have crash tested the Porsche Boxster, which is common for cars on the more expensive, less common end of the spectrum. Despite the lack of crash tests, the Boxster's standard ABS, advanced Porsche Stability Management stability and traction control, rollover protection, and full suite of front, thorax, and side airbags should comfort safety-conscious buyers.

For the sports car aficionado with a taste for the finer, higher-tech things in life, the Boxster is a smorgasbord of standard equipment and available options. All Boxsters get driver and passenger electric-adjust seats; rain-sensing wipers; heated exterior mirrors; ambient lighting; cruise control; Bluetooth hands-free phone integration; a power-folding soft top; and more. Available extras include: a Bose surround sound audio system; a 7-inch touchscreen navigation system with infotainment; a range of available custom interior and seating packages; and many other a la carte technology and convenience upgrades.

On the green front, the 2014 Porsche Boxster scores 20 mpg city, 30 mpg highway, and 24 mpg combined when equipped with the manual transmission; with the PDK those figures rise to 22 mpg city, 32 mpg highway, and 26 mpg combined. The more powerful Boxster S rates 20 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, and 23 mpg combined with the manual; the PDK earns the Boxster S ratings of 21 mpg city, 30 mpg highway, and 24 mpg combined.

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2014 Porsche Boxster

Styling

The 2014 Boxster is a sleek, stylish take on the modern Porsche theme.

The 2014 Porsche Boxster was all-new last year, and carries forward into 2014 visually unchanged, aside from two new paint colors, Rhodium Silver Metallic and Sapphire Blue Metallic, which replace last year's Platinum Silver Metallic and Aqua Blue Metallic.

Previous Boxsters have worn smooth, rounded shapes that spoke as much of femininity as they did sportiness. The new Boxster changes that, with crisper lines and a more gender-balanced style that keeps previous Boxster themes, but freshens them for today.

The front and sides of the car are the areas of the most dramatic visual changes, with more aggression and fortitude expressed in the sharp angles and large (functional) air scoops.

Inside the 2014 Boxster's cabin, materials and layout are generally excellent, with leather-wrapped surfaces, quality switchgear, and a clean, linear control set that makes perfect sense--once you figure out what all of the buttons do.

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2014 Porsche Boxster

Performance

A fine balance of power, handling, and driving feel make the 2014 Porsche Boxster the leader in the compact luxury sports roadster segment.

Two engines, two transmissions, two core Boxster lines: the formula is simple, and the result is amazing.

The 2014 Porsche Boxster starts with a 2.7-liter, 265-horsepower flat six-cylinder engine in the base model. In the right configuration, this model can hit 60 mph in 5.5 seconds and a top speed of 164 mph. The Boxster S gets a 3.4-liter, 315-horsepower flat six-cylinder that moves the car to 60 mph in as little as 4.8 seconds and on to a top speed of 178 mph.

Both models can be ordered with either a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed PDK dual-clutch paddle-shift automatic. While the manual is a smooth, slick-shifting unit, the PDK transmission best suits the Boxster's comfort-meets-sport split personality.

That's not to say the Boxster is somehow a compromised sports roadster; it's anything but. In fact, it's the best of the Mercedes-Benz SLK / BMW Z4 / Infiniti Q60 crop, both in terms of sport driving dynamics and during the daily grind. This balance comes from the well-tuned chassis, mid-engine layout, and Porsche's unique brand of engineering and style.

For models equipped with the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) system, the suspension's range of function can be adjusted normal settings to Sport and Sport Plus modes, further broadening the range of the Boxster.

A Sport Chrono package is available (it's required to get the fastest factory-claimed 0-60 mph times), adding dynamic transmission mounts and a more aggressive race-inspired shift logic for the PDK transmission when the Sport Plus button is engaged.

Electric power steering is often maligned for lack of feel and artificial feedback, but those complaints don't pertain to the Boxster. The steering isn't as good as the best hydraulic and manual systems we've driven, but it's close--certainly close enough to enjoy the Boxster's balanced handling on a good road.

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2014 Porsche Boxster

Comfort & Quality

Comfortable and quieter than it used to be, the 2014 Porsche Boxster is a well-appointed luxury two-seater.

Last year's all-new Boxster improved on all of the faults of the previous model, making a quieter, more comfortable cabin with better materials and more standard and available equipment.

The Boxster retains its soft top, unlike most of its competition, and reaps certain benefits, including light weight, no consumption of storage space, and the ability to open and close the electrically operated top at speeds up to 30 mph. Of course, the soft top isn't as robust or secure as a folding hard top.

Both seats are comfortable, with surprising room for a compact two-seat sports car. There's enough adjustability to suit the vast majority of body types and heights. There isn't much space to stow gear in the passenger compartment, and the two trunks (one up front, one out back) split their combined 10 cubic feet of cargo space, limiting the size of items that can be transported.

A 7-inch high-resolution touch screen that gives access to audio, navigation, and other Porsche Communication Management systems. Recent improvements have made this system much more intuitive and user-friendly.

While noise from wind, tire, and engine sources have all been reduced in the new Boxster, it's still a mid-engined sports car, which is to say, when you're pushing the car hard or driving near triple-digit speeds, you'll be bathed in the sounds of the car at work. When not so close to the bleeding edge, however, the Boxster's overall volume are greatly reduced compared to the previous version, especially with the top up.

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2014 Porsche Boxster

Safety

Ample safety equipment and the 2014 Porsche Boxster's inherent maneuverability offset the lack of crash test results.

The 2014 Porsche Boxster hasn't been crash tested by either the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which is common with low-volume, expensive sports cars.

Porsche has engineered a great deal of safety into the Boxster, however, starting with a rigid chassis; dual front, side, curtain, and thorax airbags; anti-lock brakes; and very capable stability and traction control.

Visibility is not generally an issue with the Boxster, even with the top up, though shorter drivers may find it more difficult to see over the rear quarters. There's no backup camera available for the Boxster, but rear parking sensors can be fitted.

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2014 Porsche Boxster

Features

The 2014 Porsche Boxster comes with plenty of standard equipment, and a myriad of extras, but the price can rise as quickly as the feature set.

There's no shortage of standard equipment on the 2014 Porsche Boxster, with convenience and technology items you'd typically find in a mid-range luxury sedan, rather than a sporty roadster.

Standard items include: driver and passenger electric seat adjustment; Bluetooth audio and iPhone integration; USB and iPod input; SiriusXM satellite radio; cruise control; ambient lighting; heated exterior mirrors; and a power-operated soft top.

Optional extras abound, with some of the highlights being the 7-inch touchscreen navigation display, a leather upgrade package, and a Bose surround sound audio system. Just beware when ticking these options boxes--the price can rise by $20,000 or more in a heartbeat.

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2014 Porsche Boxster

Fuel Economy

It won't win any eco-competitions, but the 2014 Porsche Boxster's gas mileage is very good in light of its performance.

Considering its performance capabilities, the 2014 Porsche Boxster is rather efficient--even though it's not all that green in the grand scheme of things.

With the manual transmission, the base Boxster rates 22 mpg city and 32 mpg highway for 24 mpg combined; the Boxster S scores 20 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, and 23 mpg combined.

Opting for the PDK transmission bumps gas mileage for the base Boxster to 22 mpg city, 32 mpg highway, and 26 mpg combined; the Boxster S rises to 21 mpg city, 30 mpg highway, and 24 mpg combined.

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April 21, 2015
For 2014 Porsche Boxster

World Class Sports Car

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Truly amazing car. The new generation Boxster does everything well. A free revving powerful flat six engine mounted amidship, a very tight suspension that glues the car to the road, supportive and comfortable... + More »
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