2017 Porsche 718 Boxster
- New turbocharged engines deliver impressive amounts of power and fuel efficiency
- PDK automatic is still the best automatic transmission in the business
- Feels incredibly precise and nimble when going around turns
- Soft top opens in just 10 seconds
- Soft top is less secure than the folding hardtops found on some rivals
- Typically standard features are now costly options
- New four-cylinder engines make less interesting sounds
Edmunds' Expert Review
The entry-level Porsche has had a thorough overhaul for the 2017 model year. Officially called 718 -- that's "seven-eighteen" not "seven-one-eight" -- the latest Boxster boasts a choice of two four-cylinder turbocharged engines. The base car has a 2.0-liter turbo with 300 horsepower, while the S has a 2.5-liter turbo with 350 hp. Both engines are more powerful and fuel-efficient than the six-cylinder models they replace. To complement the improved straight-line thrust, the suspension has been retuned and the power steering is more responsive.
Although the 718 is instantly recognizable a Boxster, many of the body panels are new. Some of the detailing, such as the new head- and taillights, is exquisite and the 3-D "Porsche" lettering at the rear is a key differentiator from Boxsters of old. Inside, the changes are modest, with attention focusing on an upgraded touchscreen display that's shared with the latest 911. The standard specification is improved, but in the best Porsche tradition, you can double the price of the car if you plunder the gargantuan options list.
Unlike the 911, which has its engine at the rear, the Boxster is midengine, which is a layout common to most racecars and the key to its remarkable agility. It also differentiates the Porsche from its front-engine rivals, which include the Audi TTS convertible, BMW Z4 and the Mercedes SLK. Other possible alternatives, though less refined, include the Alfa Romeo 4C and Chevrolet Corvette. Even among these excellent choices, the new Porsche 718 Boxster is at the top of its game and a class leader.
Standard safety features for all 718 Boxsters include antilock brakes, traction and stability control, hill-hold brake functions, integrated rollover hoops behind the headrests, knee airbags, thorax airbags in the seat backrests and head airbags in each door panel. Additional options include frontal collision warnings and a blind spot monitor called Lane Change Assist.
Trim levels & features
The 718 Boxster is a two-seat convertible and represents Porsche's entry-level model positioned beneath the 911 in the company's sports car lineup. Its sister car, the hardtop-only Cayman, will be updated later this year. Two models are available, the base 300-hp Boxster standard car and the 350-hp Boxster S.
Standard features include 18-inch wheels with high-performance summer tires (19-inch wheels for the Boxster S), bi-xenon headlights, LED running lights, a power-folding soft top, an automatically deploying rear spoiler, front and rear parking sensors, a wind deflector, water-repellent side windows and hill-hold brake functions.
On the inside, you also get cruise control, air-conditioning, a manual tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, partial leather upholstery, six-way-adjustable seats with electric backrest adjustments, a universal garage door opener, a rearview camera, Bluetooth and a six-speaker audio system with satellite and HD radio and auxiliary input.
Many options are bundled or available as stand-alone additions and include adaptive LED headlights (also available for the standard headlights), headlight washers, automatic wipers, auto-dimming power-folding mirrors, keyless entry/ignition, an electronic differential, ceramic composite brake rotors, a variable-ratio steering system, a sport exhaust, adaptive cruise control with frontal collision warning and a blind-spot monitor.
One of the more notable options includes the Sport Chrono package that adds a stopwatch atop the dash, paddle shifters for the PDK transmission and additional sport modes. So, too, is the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) option with a lower sport-tuned suspension and electronically controlled dampers with distinct Normal and Sport modes.
Interior add-ons include dual-zone automatic climate control, upgraded and full leather upholstery, Alcantara faux suede trim, heated and ventilated seats, 14- and 18-way power-adjustable sport seats with memory functions, additional interior lighting, a navigation system, Apple CarPlay, remote and emergency telematics, a 10-speaker Bose surround-sound system and a 12-speaker premium Burmester audio system.
As with other Porsches, buyers can choose from a dizzying array of customization options that include wood, carbon-fiber and aluminum trim and contrasting colors for upholstery and gauges.
The One To Buy
For the vast majority of drivers, the standard 718 Boxster will exceed their abilities and expectations. The Boxster S will certainly entice aspiring racers, but the big price premium for 50 additional horsepower may be a deterrent.
Two new turbocharged, four-cylinder engines are available on the 718 Boxster. The standard car features a 2.0-liter turbo with 300 hp and 280 pound-feet of torque. These figures represent a 35-hp and 74 lb-ft improvement over the base six-cylinder from the previous car. Not surprisingly, performance is much improved. Porsche claims it accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds, which is 0.7 second quicker than the old model. Top speed rises by 8 mph to 170 mph.
A six-speed manual transmission is standard and sends power to the rear wheels. An optional seven-speed dual-clutch unit (PDK) is also available.
The 2.5-liter turbocharged four in the 718 Boxster S develops 350 hp and 309 lb-ft of torque, a gain of 35 hp and 43 lb-ft respectively over the old Boxster S. According to Porsche's own figures, the 0-60 mph sprint improves by 0.4 second to 4.4 seconds. If you choose to specify the PDK automatic gearbox and Sport Chrono package, this falls further to 4.0 seconds. Top speed rises by 5 mph to 177 mph.
Official EPA fuel economy figures have yet to be announced, but tested under European conditions, the 718 achieved a 14 percent increase in efficiency compared with the old model. Improved fuel economy and reduced exhaust emissions are the primary drivers behind the switch to turbocharged engine technology, but this is still a high-performance car and if you drive it as Porsche intended, you won't come close to matching the EPA figures.
The success of the latest iteration of the Boxster will be defined by the new engines. That the 718 models are significantly faster than the old Boxster is undeniable. The increase in torque makes a huge difference in how the car feels, with midrange overtaking ability much improved. Above 2,000 rpm, when the turbo really comes to life, the Boxster pulls hard all the way to 7,500 rpm. The S delivers more off-the-line punch and is both subjectively and objectively faster, but few will feel that the standard 718 wants for performance.
Anyone who's driven the old model, though, will bemoan the loss of the signature soundtrack. The extraordinary intake wail and sonorous crescendo of the old six-cylinder engine has gone. This glorious noise, which has characterized the car since the 1997 original, was a key part of the Porsche's appeal and helped it feel special even at low speed. Porsche has engineered some pops and burbles into the exhaust of the new engine and it's not unappealing, but it fails to excite the senses to the same extent.
Engine aside, the key focus for the development of the 718 has been to improve the car's agility. To this end, the suspension and power steering have been retuned. The Boxster has always been the driver's choice in the premium roadster class, and these changes have only increased its margin of superiority. The midengine configuration gives the car a poise and composure that's peerless and also helps give the car a different feel from its pricier sibling, the 911.
The S is additionally available with PASM sport suspension, which lowers the ride height by 0.86 inch and offers retuned dampers. In our experience, though, this setup is unnecessarily stiff on all but the smoothest roads. The standard suspension is more agreeable on the sorts of less-than-perfect roads you usually drive on and still offers impressive levels of grip and control.
Both the standard six-speed manual and optional paddle-shift PDK automatic gearbox are fine companions, and the choice comes down to personal taste and budget. If you additionally opt for the Sport Chrono package on a PDK equipped car, Porsche provides a Sport Response button that primes the car to deliver optimal performance for 20 seconds. In truth, it's a bit of a gimmick.
Porsche has improved the power steering so that it now boasts plenty of driver feedback. Grip from the new, wider tires is prodigious and the uprated brakes stop with greater alacrity. The days are long gone when anyone could deride the Boxster as, "not a proper Porsche." This is a fine sports car in its own right, and although the new engine lacks the character of the old, it's still a clear class leader.
The interior of the 718 Boxster is a subtle evolution of the old model and continues to borrow heavily from its big brother, the 911 Carrera. It's a simple, elegant design in the best German tradition, and it's beautifully made. Few could argue that the quality of the fixtures and fittings or the craftsmanship is not befitting of the Boxster's lofty price tag. Of its rivals, only the Audi TT Roadster can match the aesthetic and tactile appeal of the Porsche.
There's enough room for drivers who are well over 6 feet tall -- not something that could be said of early Boxsters -- and the driving position will be ideal for just about anybody. There's a good view forward, but the design of the fabric roof badly comprises over-the-shoulder visibility. The roof itself, though, is exceptionally easy to operate, rising or falling in a little over 10 seconds at the touch of a button at speeds up to 31 mph.
Interior storage space is sufficient, with pockets in the doors, center console and the decent-sized glovebox. The Boxster's cupholders, which pivot and unfold from the dashboard, remain a work of art and add to the feeling that you're in something special. For a roadster, luggage space is impressive, too, with a deep, well-shaped 5.3-cubic-foot trunk in the nose supplemented by a shallower 4.4-cubic-foot space in the rear. Together they offer plenty of versatility, although golf clubs must ride in the passenger seat or stay home.
The primary change to the interior compared with the old model concerns the 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system that's shared with the 911. This manages everything from the telephone to the suspension and can be upgraded with different modules, including satellite navigation and Apple CarPlay.
Features & Specs
Porsche's entry-level car has received a thorough redo for the 2017 model year, including a new name: the 718 Boxster ("Seven eighteen," not "seven-one-eight," although the British might disagree). The biggest change is the switch to turbocharged flat-four engines. Not only are the new powerplants more efficient than the sixes they replace, but they also deliver more power. Many of the body panels are new, and some of the detailing (including the new head- and taillights) is exquisite.
Changes inside are more subdued, and they include a touchscreen display borrowed from the 911. The new interior offers plenty of room for 6-footers, though over-the-shoulder visibility isn't very good. All the more reason to drop the power-operated top, which folds down in just over 10 seconds. Two small trunks offer adequate luggage space, though golf clubs will be relegated to the passenger seat.
The new 718 Boxster comes with a mid-mounted 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that delivers 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet to the rear wheels, a 35 hp and 74 lb-ft improvement over the old six. Porsche claims a 0-60 time of 4.9 seconds, 0.7 second faster than the outgoing Boxster, and a 170-mph top speed, an improvement of 8 mph. The EPA rates the 2.0-liter Boxster's fuel economy at 25 mpg combined (22 city/29 highway) for the seven-speed dual-clutch PDK automatic, with manual transmission figures 1 mpg lower.
Opt for the Boxster S, and the engine is bumped up to 2.5 liters with 350 hp, an increase of 35 hp over the outgoing Boxster S. Porsche claims the 0-60 run at 4.4 seconds for the manual and 4 seconds flat for cars with PDK and the Sport Chrono package. Top speed is 177 mph, and the Boxster S is EPA-rated at 24 mpg combined (21 city/28 highway) with the PDK automatic. Manuals trail those figures by about 2 mpg.
The old Boxster was one of our favorite cars to drive, and changes to the new car's suspension and steering have only improved matters. The new tires provide better grip, the steering returns all the feedback we could want and the brakes are better than ever. The Boxster S offers an optional Porsche Active Suspension Management, with a lowered ride height and upgraded dampers, but we think the ride is too stiff on roads that aren't glass-smooth. The standard suspension rides better on less-than-perfect pavement and still offers outstanding levels of grip. And we miss the old car's six-cylinder soundtrack — the pops and burbles from the four-cylinder engine's exhaust are no match for the soulful wail that has defined the Boxster driving experience since the original car made its debut.
The Boxster is offered in base and S models, differentiated primarily by their engine. Both models now include more standard equipment, and in keeping with Porsche tradition there are enough extra-cost options to literally double the price of the car. Edmunds can help find the perfect 2017 Porsche Boxster for you.
2017 Porsche 718 Boxster Overview
The 2017 Porsche 718 Boxster is offered in the following submodels: . Available styles include 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), and S 2dr Convertible (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 6M).
What do people think of the 2017 Porsche 718 Boxster?
Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2017 Porsche 718 Boxster and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2017 718 Boxster 5 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2017 718 Boxster.
Edmunds Expert Reviews
Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2017 Porsche 718 Boxster and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2017 718 Boxster featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
Which 2017 Porsche 718 Boxsters are available in my area?
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Should I lease or buy a 2017 Porsche 718 Boxster?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.