Porsche 718 Boxster review – ride and handling

Always a strong point for the Boxster, the new 718 builds on the excellent foundations of the previous generations

Evo rating
Price
from £44,758

This is where the Boxster’s best attributes still lie, as while the flat-four really is a bit of a dog of an engine, the world-leading chassis is still there. In fact, as part of the 718 update, it carries through an array of welcome improvements, cementing its position as the most sorted handling sports car in the class. Driven hard, the Boxster's exceptional balance comes to the fore, allowing you to guide the car almost telepathically through complex sections of road with supreme confidence.

The EPAS system may not be chock-full of granular feel, but it is supremely accurate and does its bit to translate when the chassis loads up in bends, giving you yet more insight into the inner workings of what is going on underneath you. When in Sport mode, or when fitted with the optional lowered sports suspension, the Boxster’s body control improves further, keeping you entirely locked in to the road surface and avoiding the subtle floating sensation you can get when on taller tyres.

Yet this locked-in impression is only the amuse-bouche in its dynamic tasting menu, as the real magic only reveals itself when you push through that innate security of total composure and start leaning on its sweet and delicate balance. Unlike the latest crop of 911s, you don’t have to be going at irrational speeds to revel in the car’s stunning clarity. Yes, it’ll push at the front if you’re clumsy on turn-in, but be more progressive and the car will respond.

> Click here for our Porsche 718 Boxster T review

It’s now that the four-cylinder models begin to dim, as the laggy powertrain starts to get in the way of that satisfying flow when you’re totally engrossed in a fabulous drive. Thinking about turbo lag, when the power will come, how far before the apex will I need to get on the throttle to get the most from the engine on exit – it’s obstructive and frankly frustrating.

This is what the 4.0 amends. It’s not really about the noise or the numbers. It’s about connection, as your right foot feels like it’s a single line between your brain and the moment the air-fuel mixture comes together somewhere behind your seat. Now you start to take liberties with the chassis, more than you would have thought considering its mid-engined layout, but so fundamentally precise is the chassis that you start driving it like you’ve owned it for 25 years. It remains one of the most visceral and delicate experiences in the business – visceral not for its pomp and circumstance, but its immersion.

The various suspension and chassis options can make subtle differences to the way the Boxster drives on the road, but the sheer competence of the basic chassis always shines through during the driving experience. Porsche’s typically superb brakes also play a role, with a short pedal travel and a perfectly judged ABS system giving you the ability to really lean on the middle pedal without feeling like the car is getting away from you. 

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