The Boxster enters 2014 with virtually no changes, having been redesigned just last year. The 2014 Porsche Boxster rides on an aluminum-intensive architecture shared with the new 911, features more efficient and more powerful flat-six engines, and wears more aggressive styling. It also has a roomier, more luxurious interior...
The 2014 Porsche Boxster may be the perfect sports car. Unlike its older brother, the 911, it has a mid-mounted engine rather than a rear-engine layout. This, along with its low curb weight, makes it a fantastic handler. The Boxster has grown more refined and more powerful since it debuted for 1997, particularly since its 2013 redesign. The model most directly competes against other premium roadsters such as the BMW Z4 and the Mercedes-Benz SLK, but it should be on the shopping list of anyone looking to spend $50,000 to $100,000 on a two-seater.
The 2014 Porsche Boxster doesn't have quite the lineage of the more famous 911, but it is fast becoming a legend in its own right. The mid-engine roadster has been an Automobile Magazine favorite since it debuted -- it almost immediately won our Automobile of the Year award, in 1998 -- and has remained the standard against which we measure roadsters and sports cars. It has matured over the years, evolving from something of a German Mazda Miata into more of a two-seat 911. The key selling point, however, has never changed: it's one of the best driving cars that money can buy.
For 2013, Porsche introduced the third-generation car. Truth be told, the old version hadn't been crying out for attention -- it made our exclusive All-Stars list in its last year of production. But Porsche nevertheless found room for improvement. Most noticeable is the new exterior. The basic shape looks familiar, but crisp detailing makes this a far more muscular-looking car than the one it replaces. The muscle isn't just for show. Even the base car now hits 60 mph in 5.5 seconds, according to Porsche, and the 315-hp Boxster S does the same in 4.8 seconds. At the same time, the flat-six engines have become more efficient. The Boxster S has a higher fuel-economy rating than six-cylinder competitors like the BMW Z4 sDrive35i and the Mercedes-Benz SLK350. The base car, with its smaller 2.7-liter boxer six, matches the economy of four-cylinder rivals.
The 2014 Porsche Boxster has also become more refined. Its interior mirrors what's offered in the more expensive Panamera and 911 and is a bit roomier than before thanks to a longer wheelbase. The power soft top, which folds down in only nine seconds, nearly matches a hard top for noise isolation. These sorts of changes typically carry a weight penalty, and yet the Boxster is slightly lighter than its predecessor.
All of these impressive facts and figures fail to communicate the Boxster's appeal, which lies in the rasp of its flat-six in the open air and the feeling of complete control as you sweep through a turn and nail an apex. The engines are normally aspirated and tuned to respond immediately to the commands of your right foot. The transmissions -- a six-speed manual and an optional seven-speed automatic -- are similarly fast and smooth. This dreamlike driving experience makes the Boxster a tough matchup even for cars that trounce it on paper. The Boxster S easily dispatched its direct rivals, the Z4 and SLK, in our 2012 comparison test. More recently, we threw it in as the spoiler in a comparison of the BMW M3, the Audi RS5, and the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG. It won that, too. We've even wondered whether the roadster is better than the 911 (hardly a hypothetical question, given that a Boxster S with a long options list can easily sell for as much as a base 911).
Complaints? Well, some editors have complained that the electric power steering, although perfectly precise, doesn't communicate quite as well as the hydraulic rack on the last-generation Boxster. This is a bit like when wine aficionados swish a glass of thirty-year-old French wine and find that it doesn't have a sufficient sense of terroir. The Boxster also calls to mind a fine wine in that it is expensive. Some people will never understand the point of paying $50,000 for a sports car with 265 hp when a Chevrolet Corvette costing about the same produces more than 450 hp. But for those who "get" the Boxster, it is worth every penny.
- BMW Z4
- Chevrolet Corvette
- Jaguar F-type
- Mercedes-Benz SLK