Used 2016 Porsche Boxster Convertible Review
Stylish, luxurious and thrilling to drive, the 2016 Porsche Boxster comes up aces. Sports cars don't get much better than this.
As a general rule, convertibles are a little softer and heavier than their fixed-roof siblings. They often trade out some performance for the opportunity to transform into a suntan bed at a moment's notice. But the 2016 Porsche Boxster is not that kind of convertible.
As with all cars adorned with the Porsche crest, the Boxster is less concerned with simply getting from A to B than it is making the journey an experience. Blessed with a balanced midengine layout, stellar handling, communicative steering and an intoxicating engine soundtrack, the Boxster is simply a blast to drive. That's especially true of this year's new Spyder variant, which gets a 375-horsepower 3.8-liter engine pulled from the Porsche 911 to make it the most powerful Boxster yet.
Few cars at any price engage the driver like the 2016 Porsche Boxster.
The Boxster does have a few negatives, though. Without add-ons, the Boxster is rather light on features no matter which engine is ordered. You'll need to upgrade right out of the gate so as not to be saddled with the Boxster's sad four-speaker sound system, for example. On a practical front, neither of the Boxster's trunks is big enough for a set of golf clubs. And while the base Boxster isn't slow, necessarily, most of the cars in this price range are quicker.
The Jaguar F-Type certainly gives the Boxster a run for its money, with more powerful engines than the Boxster's (including a 550-hp V8) and available all-wheel drive. Also in contention is the Chevrolet Corvette with blistering speed, outlandish grip and an attractive price. You could also check out the BMW Z4 and Mercedes-Benz SLK if you want greater comfort, or the Alfa Romeo 4C to get an exceptionally raw driving experience. As luxury convertible sports cars go, though, the Boxster still sets the standard for delivering the most rewarding driving experience.
trim levels & features
The 2016 Porsche Boxster is a two-seat convertible offered in five trim levels that for the most part correspond to the engine tune: base, Black Edition, S, GTS and Spyder.
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 leather-wrapped steering wheel, partial leather upholstery, Bluetooth connectivity, a 7-inch infotainment display and a four-speaker sound system with single-CD player, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB port.
The Black Edition version of the standard Boxster adds features found on higher trims or options packages, including 20-inch wheels, adaptive xenon headlights, a sport steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors, auto-dimming mirrors, heated seats, a seven-speaker sound system and a navigation system.
Rather than include the Black Edition features, the S uses the base Boxster as a jumping-off point and adds a more powerful engine, dual central exhausts, a lower ride height, 19-inch wheels, 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, a lower ride, adaptive xenon lights, a sport exhaust, 20-inch wheels, unique front fascia, more aggressive seat bolsters, tinted taillights, a sport steering wheel and leather and faux-suede interior 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.
The Boxster Spyder gets the largest and most capable Boxster engine and adds bigger brakes, a mechanical differential lock with variable torque distribution (Porsche Torque Vectoring, or PTV), exclusive sport suspension (which lowers ride height by 20mm), dynamic transmission mounts, LED interior lights, xenon headlights, tinted taillights and a faux-suede steering wheel. Air-conditioning and a four-speaker radio are absent by default but can be added to the car at no additional charge.
Like every other Porsche, the Boxster offers seemingly infinite opportunities for customization.
As usual, Porsche will happily double the price of your Boxster if you select enough options. Unless the car already comes with the options included, each Boxster (except the Black Series and Spyder) can be ordered with Infotainment, Convenience, Sport and Premium packages.
The Convenience package adds dual-zone climate control and heated seats. The Sport package takes these features and adds adaptive xenon headlights, auto-dimming mirrors, automatic wipers, a power-adjustable steering wheel and a choice of 10-way or 14-way power-adjustable seats, each with four-way power lumbar and driver memory functions. The Premium Package Plus takes the Sport package and includes ventilated seats, keyless entry and ignition and LED interior lighting (the GTS version of this package does not include ventilated seats). The Infotainment package gets you a nine-speaker sound system with a navigation system, satellite radio, HD radio and smartphone integration via the Aha Radio app. A 10-speaker Bose audio system and a 12-speaker Burmester unit are also available to replace the standard radio.
Many of the above items can be added separately. Other main options include custom exterior paint, special wheel designs, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, aero body-panel extensions, a six-disc CD/DVD 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 wheel-mounted shift paddles), adaptive cruise control (with frontal collision warning and automatic braking), voice controls and numerous customization options that will cover just about any interior surface you like with leather, aluminum, carbon fiber, wood trim or paint. Exclusive to the Spyder are available non-adjustable bucket seats made of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic.
performance & mpg
All 2016 Porsche Boxsters utilize a midengine rear-wheel-drive layout and a standard six-speed manual transmission. An optional seven-speed automated manual transmission known as PDK is available on every non-Spyder Boxster. Except for the Spyder, a standard (and fully defeatable) auto stop-start system conserves fuel when the car is stationary.
The base Boxster and Black Edition roll with a 2.7-liter horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine (flat-6) rated at 265 hp 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 0.1 second quicker by default and 0.3 second 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 mph performance. EPA-estimated fuel economy comes in at 22 mpg combined (19/26) with the manual and an astoundingly good 25 mpg combined (22/31) with PDK.
Packing a 375-hp engine borrowed from the 911, the 2016 Porsche Boxster Spyder is more than just a styling exercise.
The Boxster Spyder is powered by a 3.8-liter flat-6 that it shares with the Porsche 911 Carrera S. The engine is good for 375 hp and 309 lb-ft and is available only with a manual transmission. According to Porsche, the range-topping Boxster Spyder makes the 0-60-mph sprint in 4.3 seconds. Estimated fuel economy takes a slight hit, but is still respectable at 20 mpg combined (18/24).
Standard safety features for the 2016 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.
As can be expected of a car bearing the Porsche badge, the 2016 Boxster is a joy to pilot no matter the driving conditions. The Boxster is quick to respond to steering inputs, and the extremely capable chassis changes direction without a hint of body roll. The ride is firm, but not so much that you need to have your chiropractor on speed dial. Simply put, driving the Boxster never fails to delight.
In a straight line, the Boxster S and GTS can run neck and neck with a base 911, while the Spyder is the car that Porsche enthusiasts have clamored for, for years: a Boxster with the soul of a 911. 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 delightful but perhaps not altogether necessary indulgences. Pick an engine, any engine, and be prepared for one of the best driving experiences money can buy.
The Boxster's cabin is almost as striking as its exterior styling, boasting top-shelf materials and a dramatic (if button-heavy) center console that it borrows directly from the iconic 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. While it looks a bit dated, the Boxster's infotainment system (controlled by a combination of fixed buttons and a touchscreen) is impressively easy to use.
Further refinement is found in the convertible top itself, which is one of the quietest enclosed rides of any soft-top roadster we've driven. The Boxster's notorious blind spots remain, however. So if you've got 10 seconds to spare and aren't exceeding 31 mph, it's generally best to put the top down.
The 2016 Boxster's interior is at once sporty and straightforward. It's a no-nonsense environment for spirited driving.
There's a respectable amount of passenger space, and the Boxster can accommodate taller passengers without issue. But the two trunks -- one front, one rear -- remain 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 Z4 and 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.