Used 2015 Porsche Boxster Review
Edmunds expert review
Stylish, luxurious and thrilling to drive, the 2015 Porsche Boxster comes up aces. It's even something of a bargain for what you get.
What's new for 2015
When it was introduced back in 1997, the Boxster provided a new generation of driving enthusiasts with access to the Porsche experience. No longer was the choice a 911 or nothing, and a love affair with the company's new midengine convertible was born. Since then, Porsche has fortified the Boxster's lineup with continual improvements and upgrades.
For the 2015 Boxster family, there are three distinct models: the base model, the upgraded S and the range-topping GTS, which was introduced last year. Blessed with stellar handling and steering, they're all a blast to drive, and any one of them can be ordered with race-bred carbon-ceramic composite brakes, an efficient and lightning-fast automated-manual transmission (with or without launch control) and adaptive cruise control with collision detection and automatic braking. These things were once reserved for the perennial 911 halo car.
Negatives? Well, there aren't many. The base Boxster's straight line acceleration isn't all that impressive, at least in comparison to other cars in this price range. The same goes for the standard four-speaker stereo; there are available upgrades, of course, but for a price. Rear visibility is poor with the top up and mediocre even with it down, and the Boxster's separate front and rear trunks mean you've got not one, but two places where a golf bag won't fit. Also, if you're thinking that an entry-level Boxster is a "cheap" Porsche, think again. The excellent build quality is genetic, and there's a vast array of options that could easily take its price north of $100,000 when new.
Exercise some restraint on the options, however, and you'll find there are a few convertibles that can deliver its near-exotic looks and the superb dynamics for which Porsche is known at prices that come close. Other German roadsters that come to mind are naturally the BMW Z4 and the Mercedes-Benz SLK. Both of those retractable hardtops have their allure: The SLK's elegance and reputation are balanced by the Z4's intriguing design and refinement. Other possibilities include the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, which can't be beat from a value standpoint, and the impressive Jaguar F-Type, albeit for more money.
But here's the kicker: Among this group of cars, the Boxster's pricing is actually quite reasonable, even with a few choice options thrown in. True, the 2015 Porsche Boxster costs a bit more than its predecessor, but when you drive this convertible sports car, you'll definitely feel as if you're getting more in return.
Trim levels & features
The 2015 Porsche Boxster is a two-seat convertible offered in three trim levels: base, S and GTS.
The base model comes equipped with staggered-width 18-inch alloy wheels with summer tires, a power-operated soft top with heated rear glass, a wind deflector, an automatically extending rear spoiler, single central exhaust, heated exterior mirrors, cruise control, six-way-adjustable seats (power backrest, manual fore/aft and height), a manual tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, air-conditioning, partial leather upholstery, Bluetooth phone connectivity, a 7-inch color infotainment display and a four-speaker sound system with single-CD player and an auxiliary audio jack.
The Boxster S adds a more powerful engine, dual central exhaust, a lower ride height, 19-inch wheels, bi-xenon headlights, an upgraded seven-speaker stereo and larger front brakes with red-painted brake calipers.
The Boxster GTS adds an even more powerful engine, even lower ride, a sport exhaust, 20-inch wheels, unique front fascia, tinted taillights and upgraded interior and exterior trim. Optional on the base and S models, the GTS also gets electronically controlled dampers (Porsche Active Suspension Management, or PASM) and the Sport Chrono package as standard. The Sport Chrono package adds dynamic transmission mounts (said to minimize weight transfer during gearchanges), a lap timer, driver-adjustable chassis settings and, with the optional PDK transmission, launch control.
As usual, Porsche will happily double the price of your Boxster if you select enough options. The Convenience package adds heated seats and dual-zone automatic climate control. Upgrading to one of the several Premium packages nets those features plus adaptive headlights (bi-xenon for the base Boxster), automatic wipers with washers, auto-dimming mirrors, 10-way-adjustable power sport seats (with four-way power lumbar), driver memory functions and a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. An expanded version of the Premium package adds 14-way adaptive sport seats (also with four-way power lumbar) to the mix. The Infotainment package gets you a navigation system, satellite radio, HD radio, smartphone integration via the Aha Radio app, a USB port and either a 10-speaker Bose audio system or a considerably pricier 12-speaker Burmester audio system.
Some of the above items can be added separately. Other main options include special wheel designs, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, a CD changer, electronic torque vectoring with a mechanical limited-slip rear differential, ceramic-composite brakes with upgraded calipers, variable-ratio steering, a sport steering wheel (with PDK shift paddles), a heated steering wheel, adaptive cruise control (with frontal collision warning and automatic braking), ventilated seats, voice controls, ambient lighting and numerous customization options that will cover just about any interior surface you like with leather, aluminum, carbon fiber, wood trim or paint.
Performance & mpg
All Boxsters utilize a midengine rear-wheel-drive layout and either the standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional seven-speed automated manual transmission known as PDK. Porsche also provides a standard (and fully defeatable) auto stop-start system to conserve fuel when the car is stationary.
The base 2015 Boxster rolls with a 2.7-liter horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine (flat-6) rated at 265 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. The stick shift gets the base Boxster to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds, according to Porsche, while PDK is a tenth of a second quicker by default and three-tenths quicker with the Sport Chrono package's launch control. EPA fuel economy estimates are 24 mpg combined (20 city/30 highway) with the manual and an even more impressive 26 mpg combined (22/32) with PDK.
The Boxster S steps up to a 3.4-liter flat-6 that churns out 315 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque. In Edmunds testing, an S model with the manual transmission accelerated from zero to 60 in a swift 4.9 seconds; expect the PDK with launch control to drop that time to 4.5 seconds. Fuel economy remains strong at 23 mpg combined (20/28) with the manual and 24 mpg combined (21/30) with PDK.
The Boxster GTS gets an upgraded version of the 3.4-liter flat-6 with 330 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. Porsche estimates 0-60-mph acceleration at 4.7 seconds with the manual transmission. Our testing of a GTS equipped with the PDK transmission and launch control yielded an impressive 4.2-second 0-60 performance. EPA-estimated fuel economy comes in at 22 mpg combined (19/26) with the manual and a shockingly good 25 mpg combined (22/31) with PDK.
Standard safety features for the 2015 Porsche Boxster include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, head- and chest-protecting side airbags and integrated rollover safety hoops above the headrests.
In Edmunds brake testing, both a Boxster S and a GTS with the standard (non-ceramic) brakes came to a stop from 60 mph in a short 103 feet.
Options include a rearview camera and front and/or rear parking sensors. The optional adaptive cruise control also includes a frontal collision warning system that includes automatic braking for frontal collision mitigation.
If you test-drive a 2015 Porsche Boxster, chances are you won't want to return the key. Compact dimensions, quick reflexes, a midengine layout whose noise is part of the enjoyment, and Porsche's usual, magical suspension tuning join forces to produce some of the best road manners you'll get from any car. Keeping the engine singing while unraveling a winding section of blacktop is one of motoring's pure joys, and regardless of price it just doesn't get much better than a Boxster. For these reasons and more, Edmunds has awarded the Porsche Boxster S and GTS well-deserved "A" ratings.
In a straight line, the Boxster S and GTS can run neck and neck with a base 911, and only truly depraved power fiends will find their sonorous flat-6s wanting. If you fit that description, you may find yourself musing that a bit more punch would be welcome for uphill climbs. More sane people, on the other hand, will find the base Boxster's modestly powered engine to still be a willing companion, with the larger engines of the S and GTS delightful but perhaps not altogether necessary indulgences.
The Boxster's cabin is almost as striking as its exterior styling. In contrast to the previous model's forgettable interior layout, the current design shines, boasting top-shelf materials and a dramatic (if button-heavy) center console that borrows directly from the company's halo car, the 911. There's nary a sign of cost-cutting anywhere you look or touch; this is an environment that's fully commensurate with Porsche prices. The Boxster's infotainment system is controlled by a combination of fixed buttons and the touchscreen; it's impressively easy to use.
Further refinement is found in the convertible top itself, which has ample sound-deadening material and yields one of the quietest enclosed rides of any soft-top roadster we've driven. The Boxster's notorious blind spots remain, however. If you've got 10 seconds to spare and aren't exceeding 31 mph, it's generally best to put the top down.
Thanks to its generously sized cockpit and low-mounted seats, the 2015 Boxster can accommodate taller passengers without issue. But the two trunks -- one front, one rear -- are too small to swallow a golf bag or even a large piece of luggage, so their respectable 10 cubic feet of combined cargo space doesn't tell the whole story. On the bright side, rear trunk space is unaffected when the top's down, a distinct advantage relative to retractable-hardtop rivals like the BMW Z4 and Mercedes-Benz SLK.
Edmunds expert 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.