- Sharp, confident handling
- Attractive, modern styling
- Brisk acceleration
- Adding options brings the bottom line into 911 territory
- Wind and engine noise at high speeds
- Sound controls can be fiddly
The 2015 Porsche Boxster is a relative performance bargain, combining everyday usability with a balanced chassis and sweet engines.
Porsche’s Boxster is, and continues to be, one of the most utterly joyful cars to drive in Porsche’s lineup—and in the whole car world. Among a list of models that includes the Cayman and 911, that makes the Boxster a true standout, and while it’s not exactly cheap, it is one of the best sports car performance values on the market.
There are only a handful of changes to the Boxster for 2015. A wind deflector is included as standard equipment, and there are a few new options, including a new rearview camera that comes with packaged with front and rear parking sensors, a 20-inch 911 Turbo wheel design, and automatic high beams as part of the Bi-Xenon lighting package. There are also some minor interior trim tweaks, an available Black/Garnet Red two-tone leather interior, and two new exterior colors: Jet Black Metallic and Carrera White Metallic.
The Boxster GTS arrived as a late addition to the lineup last year, and resembles a Boxster S with many of that car's options included as standard equipment. Unique items include a higher-output version of the Boxster S's 3.4-liter engine (330 hp, 273 lb-ft), different front and rear fascias, and a GTS-specific interior package. Standard features include the Sport Chrono Package, Alcantara all over the interior, black window trim, big wheels, Porsche's adaptive suspension, and much more. All in all, it's about $14k in add-ons, plus the extra power you can't buy, for only $10k more than a Boxster S.
Two other 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 from its 3.4-liter flat six-cylinder engine. The extra power cuts 60-mph acceleration to just 4.8 seconds elapsed and enables a top speed of 178 mph.
All 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 (on PDK-equipped models), 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.
When the driver isn't pushing the limits, the Boxster is actually quite reserved, cruising smoothly and quietly, just as a daily driver should. The optional adaptive suspension helps keep things comfortable, even when set to one of its more aggressive modes.
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. Storage space in the cabin is rather limited, as a result of 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.
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.
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-test results, 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.
On the green front, the 2015 Porsche Boxster scores 20 mpg city, 30 mpg highway when equipped with the manual transmission; with the PDK those figures rise to 22 mpg city, 32 mpg highway. The more powerful Boxster S rates 20 mpg city, 28 mpg highway with the manual; the PDK earns the Boxster S ratings of 21 mpg city, 30 mpg highway. And at the top end, the Boxster GTS returns 19 mpg city, 26 highway with the manual and 22 mpg city, 31 highway with the PDK.