Vehicle Profile: 2021 Porsche 718 Boxster
The Porsche 718 comes in two major variants: the Cayman and the Boxster. The Cayman is the coupe version while the Boxster is the convertible, the latter being more suited for drivers seeking something a little less track-ready but substantially more fun on warm, sunny days. Nonetheless, with its mid-engine design and crisp handling, the 718 Boxster is one of the most thrilling sports cars you can buy today. That it’s also one of the most affordable vehicles in the entire Porsche lineup is just a bonus.
Under the hood
After going for a joyride in the 2021 Porsche 718 Boxster, you may be surprised to learn the engine is a mere turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Somehow, Porsche has managed to extract 300 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque out of the small unit, which is arranged in the traditional “boxer” design: flat and horizontally opposed, leading to a lower center of gravity and fewer vibrations. Going for the Boxster S gets you another half-liter of displacement and 50 horsepower, while a brand new Boxster GTS 4.0 swaps out the four-cylinder for a high-revving, naturally-aspirated flat-six that cranks out 394 horsepower and 309 lb-ft of torque. This is more akin to the previous generation of flat-six engines that used to power the Porsche 718 and is a nice addition for drivers who value the soundtrack produced by their engine as much as its power. Of special note is the location of the engine: just behind the driver. The mid-engine, rear-drive formula is ideal for handling, making the 718 Boxster a true joy to drive, perhaps even to a greater degree than more capable machines like the Porsche 911.
Inside and out, the 2021 Porsche 718 Boxster is designed to enhance the driving experience. It has a steering wheel derived straight from the 918 Spyder supercar, which maximizes grip and comfort while setting the tone for the rest of the motorsport-themed cockpit. Everything you see at the wheel nicely blends form and function, like the large central tachometer that dominates the stylish instrumentation. It’s flanked by a 4.6-inch color touch screen on which you can read important information displayed in pretty graphics. Overall, the interior is elegantly modern, but the car’s most noteworthy feature is, of course, its ability to open up that interior to the sky. At speeds of up to 31 miles per hour, you can open or close the top at the push of a button. Just wait about nine seconds, and the delights of the open-top experience are yours to enjoy.
Though Porsche is perhaps best known for the performance of its luxury sports cars, it doesn’t compromise on the luxury side either. The 718 Boxster gets even more standard features for 2021, including heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, auto-dimming mirrors with rain sensors, and Apple CarPlay® integration. While the leather-trimmed interior is nothing to scoff at, you can get your 718 Boxster to look like just about anything through Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur if the stock interior doesn’t inspire you. Pick your colors and pick the materials too — anything ranging from Alcantara® and carbon to mahogany and aluminum. The options list runs long too, the most notable item being the luxuriously comfortable 18-way power-adjustable heated and ventilated seats. There’s also a 10-speaker Bose® sound system or a 12-speaker Burmester® surround sound system, if you need something better than the standard six-speaker setup to listen to while the top is down.
Almost every year since its launch, the 2021 Porsche 718 Boxster has been featured in Car and Driver’s list of the 10Best Cars and Trucks.* And with its lightweight chassis, mid-engine design, luxurious features, and retractable top, it’s no surprise. For your money, you would be hard-pressed to find a more enjoyable car to drive.
*Featured 22 times, including in the latest 2021 edition of the 10Best list, since the first-gen Porsche Boxster was introduced in 1996.
This article is presented by Zimbrick European.