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2020 Porsche 718 Boxster


What’s new

  • Two new models debut: the sporty Boxster T and high-performance Boxster Spyder
  • Part of the fourth Boxster generation introduced for 2017

Pros & Cons

  • Precise and nimble handling promotes driver fun and confidence
  • Muscular and efficient turbo four-cylinder engines
  • PDK is one of the best dual-clutch transmissions
  • Takes less than 10 seconds to open or close the roof
  • Four-cylinder engines lack the aural flair of earlier Boxster engines
  • Some features you'd expect to be standard are optional
  • Breadth of options allows personalization but gets pricey in a hurry
Other years
Porsche 718 Boxster for Sale
MSRP Range
$61,600 - $96,300
MSRP Starting at
MSRP Range
$61,600 - $96,300
MSRP Range
$61,600 - $96,300

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Select your model:
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MSRP Range
$61,600 - $96,300
MSRP Starting at
MSRP Range
$61,600 - $96,300
MSRP Range
$61,600 - $96,300

Compare dealer price quotes
Select your model:
Compare dealer price quotes

2020 Porsche 718 Boxster Review

What is it?

For 2020, most of the Porsche 718 Boxster lineup carries over without notable changes. But that doesn't mean there's nothing to talk about. The new Boxster T, like the Porsche Carrera T before it, takes the base model and adds extra performance bits for a modest price bump. Porsche has also revived the enthusiast-favorite Spyder as a new trim level, and not only does it look fantastic, in our brief time with the car we thought it was just as fantastic to drive.

The Boxster T is aimed squarely at enthusiasts who are satisfied with the 300-horsepower base engine but want to exploit the Boxster's corner-carving abilities to the fullest. To this end, Porsche has thrown in a kitchen sink's worth of performance upgrades, plus a little bit more.

The box for the Sport Chrono package is checked by default on every 718 Boxster T. This comprehensive package adds a chronograph for clocking lap times, a steering wheel-mounted driver mode selector, and active driveline mounts that remain soft during cruising but stiffen up with pace to keep the mass of the engine and transmission rigidly under control. It also adds rev-matching for the manual transmission and launch control for the PDK dual-clutch automatic. Also standard are dark gray 20-inch wheels, a mechanical limited-slip differential, and the PASM active sport suspension with a 20-millimeter ride drop.

Inside, the Boxster T features fabric door pulls instead of traditional handles, a sport steering wheel, and for models equipped with the manual transmission, a short-throw shifter with red numbers. The standard sport seats feature fabric inserts and two-way power adjustment. Buyers who want to set their thrones just right can opt for 18-way seats, while hardcore drivers can opt for fixed-back buckets.

But not everyone has fallen in love with the current-generation Boxster's four-cylinder engines. The Boxster Spyder is undoubtedly for those seeking a return to form. Quite simply, the 718 Spyder is an open-top Porsche Cayman GT4. As gorgeous as the last Boxster Spyder was, it always lived in the shadow of its Porsche Motorsport GT4 relation. Its status within Porsche as a regular production model denied it many of the special mechanical bits that made the GT4 such an appealing car.

That is no longer the case, and the Spyder is now the GT4's equal. It's a fully fledged Motorsport product, which means it, too, gains suspension derived from the 911 GT3, while the 4.0-liter non-turbo flat-six doesn't lose anything in power compared to its Cayman GT4 coupe relation.

That all-new engine powering it has 414 horsepower at 7,800 rpm, allowing it a claimed 0-60 mph time of 4.2 seconds and a top speed of 187 mph. Top speed is the only area where the Spyder concedes any performance to the GT4, and it's only an insignificant 1 mph. There is a slight increase in weight, but at 3,206 pounds, the open-top car is only 7 pounds heavier than its coupe alternative. Unless you're a Formula 1 team, that weight difference isn't worth commenting on.

If there's one area where the 718 Spyder's lesser numbers actually count, it's on the pricing. At $96,300, it's $4,200 less than that Cayman GT4, and that difference buys a lot of sunscreen.

It's worth noting that this Spyder is not a "Boxster Spyder." Dropping the Boxster name from the 718 Spyder is intriguing, as if Porsche is subtly moving this hardcore model away from its 718 Boxster relations. Certainly, it looks a bit different thanks to its more overt aero styling and large rear clamshell. The visual changes and the Spyder badge signal it as a more focused model that's lighter and a touch more compromised as a result.

The chief compromise centers around the roof. It's simpler, and it does without much of the sound-deadening and insulation found in regular Boxsters. It's also manual. First hit the button unlocking the roof from the windshield top, then fold it down and stow it in the Spyder's unique rear clamshell compartment. Doing so is easy enough and worth the effort, because opening up the Spyder adds another dimension to the multi-faceted driving experience you get with the new GT4, and one that is arguably even more enjoyable.

Why does it matter?

Starting at $69,850 (including destination), the Boxster T undercuts a similarly equipped standard Boxster by thousands of dollars, making this a rare case of Porsche giving buyers more for less. On top of that, the Boxster T has a few unique upgrades — PASM's 20-mm ride drop isn't available on the base Boxster, and neither are the partial cloth seats — that helps elevate the Boxster T over the standard model.

But as much as we enjoy driving the current 718 Boxster, we could never escape the fact that the turbo-four's exhaust sound wasn't quite the icing we needed for this particular convertible cake. Adding back the Spyder spec fixes that issue in spades, but sound alone isn't the only reason to care about the revived Spyder.

The 718 Spyder gives open-topped driving fans a car to aspire to since the recent limited-edition 911 Speedster is probably out of your reach both in price and availability. At the official unveil, GT department boss Andreas Preuninger admitted the 718 is "a third of the price of the 911 Speedster, but it's definitely not a third of the car."

This 2020 Spyder not only pleases the Porsche loyalists with legitimate performance gains, but it also cures one of the 718 Boxster's most significant ailments: the sound. From day one, we were turned off by the coarse and uninspired rasp of the four-cylinder. We longed for the previous generation's flat six-cylinder in the same way that classic rock devotees long to hear their kids blasting AC/DC instead of Ed Sheeran.

The Spyder is the answer to the question, "How far can you take the Boxster platform?"

What does it compete with?

Starting at around $60,000 for the base 718 Boxster and a little over $70,000 for the S, the current Boxster competes with the BMW Z4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class convertible, and the redesigned Chevrolet Corvette.

In our preliminary drives of the Z4, we weren't overly impressed with its handling. The Mercedes C-Class convertible is more luxurious than the Boxster, but it offers both V6 and V8 AMG versions that offer plenty of aural drama and potent acceleration. The availability of extensive luxury features and a normal trunk are bonuses too. As for the Corvette, the switch to a mid-engine design for 2020 makes it an intriguing choice, but we've yet to fully test it.

The new 718 Spyder doesn't exist in isolation among rivals, but the rivals roughly comparable in performance or price offer very different driving experiences. Audi's TT RS Roadster might present a more bombastic performance at a lower price, but it has nothing like the 718 Spyder's driving purity. BMW currently doesn't have an offering in its Z4 lineup to take on the Spyder, though M models will exist in time.

The 718 Spyder's biggest competition arguably comes from the Cayman GT4, especially now that it offers the same mechanical specification. Open or closed, then, Spyder or GT4, the decision used to be very clear-cut, but now the balance has tipped in favor of the Spyder.

How does it drive?

We've always found the Boxster to be an engaging and exciting car from behind the wheel, and nothing has changed from last year in terms of what to expect from the core trim levels. But the 718 Spyder has so far proved to be a revelation.

As performance cars become increasingly sanitized, the 718 Spyder is a brilliant riposte. The focus here is not on outright power or the numbers associated with it. If you want those, check out some of the competition discussed above. What it does deliver is a pure hit of driving engagement. And when you're behind the wheel, you'll not care one bit that many could better its 4.2-second 0-60 mph time for less money or that others can offer significantly more power.

It's all about the details with the Spyder, which doesn't come as a surprise really when you consider it originates from the same Porsche toy box as the GT3, GT3 RS and GT2 RS. The suspension sits 0.8 inch lower than any conventional Boxster, on parts borrowed from underneath the GT3. It's taut as a result, but that doesn't translate to brittleness or compromise. The damping is such that the Spyder's chassis is able to cope admirably with even some horrendously poor road surfaces on our test-drive route in Scotland.

That fine control of the wheels and body is more remarkable in the Spyder than the GT4, primarily because it's more difficult to achieve in an open car. You'll never notice any difference in the rigidity between the two cars. Porsche's people do concede that there is a difference elsewhere. As while the GT4 develops actual downforce, the Spyder, with its differing rear aerodynamics, "doesn't produce any lift." The GT4 will feel a bit more stable if you're maxing out on the autobahn in its mother country. But everywhere else, that talk of downforce difference between the two cars is exactly that, talk.

The focus on driver engagement is obvious from inside the cabin. Aside from the usual ability to switch off traction and stability control, an exhaust button for a more inspiring-sounding exhaust and an auto-blip that rev-matches your downshifts, there are no selectable driver modes. There is a Sport option for the chassis, but selecting that anywhere other than the track only adds unwelcome frequency to the otherwise supple, controlled ride.

Simple, then, is the watchword, and that is no more obvious than with the steering wheel. It's round and has no buttons or paddles. At least not yet. Currently, the Spyder is only offered with a sweet-shifting six-speed manual. Its mechanical precision makes it among the best manual transmissions we've ever driven, whether you're wringing out the 4.0-liter to its heady 8,000 rpm maximum or just cruising in traffic. If that still doesn't appeal, be patient, as Porsche has admitted that the Spyder will be offered with a seven-speed paddle-shifted PDK in the next year.

But until then, that manual makes for a hugely engaging and immersive driving experience. It's helped with the detailed steering feel, massive grip, huge chassis balance and poise, as well as the enthusiastic response from the 4.0-liter non-turbo flat-six engine. The engine's ample low-rev torque helps mask the lengthy ratios in the transmission, which are the only slight negative in the Spyder and GT4's makeup. Those long gears remain a small blemish, and, says Porsche, are a technical necessity to allow the Spyder and GT4 to pass global economy and emissions regulations. It's a price we're happy to pay to have such an engaging, involving driver's car on the road.

What else should I know?

If you're considering the Spyder, you should know that lightweight roof does require a bit of manual labor to stow, so you'll need to be parked to do so. It's thin, too, which means even when it's up you're still a lot closer to the sounds around and from the car. But it's not a hardship, considering that the 4.0-liter flat-six's melodious, characterful boxer tones are something to be savored. Having the correct engine singing behind you in the Spyder, rather than the somewhat muted and uncultured noise from the 718 Boxster models' turbocharged flat-fours, is reason enough to buy it.

Edmunds says

The 2020 Porsche 718 Boxster is one of the best sports cars you can buy if you desire driving enjoyment. It's fast, nimble and uncommonly precise in the way it communicates with its driver. The turbocharged four-cylinder engine lacks character, but the addition of the Spyder for 2020 means you can finally reclaim that classic Porsche six-cylinder sound in one of the purest driver's cars on the road.

Notably, we picked the 2020 Porsche 718 Boxster as one of Edmunds' Best Luxury Cars for this year.

Consumer reviews

There are no consumer reviews for the 2020 Porsche 718 Boxster.

Trending topics in reviews

    Features & Specs

    Spyder 2dr Convertible features & specs
    Spyder 2dr Convertible
    4.0L 6cyl 6M
    MPG 16 city / 23 hwy
    SeatingSeats 2
    Transmission6-speed manual
    Horsepower414 hp @ 7600 rpm
    See all for sale
    T 2dr Convertible features & specs
    T 2dr Convertible
    2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M
    MPG N/A city / N/A hwy
    SeatingSeats 2
    Transmission6-speed manual
    Horsepower300 hp @ 6500 rpm
    See all for sale
    2dr Convertible features & specs
    2dr Convertible
    2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M
    MPG N/A city / N/A hwy
    SeatingSeats 2
    Transmission6-speed manual
    Horsepower300 hp @ 6500 rpm
    See all for sale
    S 2dr Convertible features & specs
    S 2dr Convertible
    2.5L 4cyl Turbo 6M
    MPG N/A city / N/A hwy
    SeatingSeats 2
    Transmission6-speed manual
    Horsepower350 hp @ 6500 rpm
    See all for sale
    See all 2020 Porsche 718 Boxster features & specs

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