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
This is where the Boxster’s best attributes still lie, as while the flat-four really is a bit disappointing, the world-leading chassis is still there. Technically speaking, the introduction of the 718 was a significant update of the previous 981, rather than an all-new model making its underlying architecture and body now 12 years old. The 718 update of 2017 brought through an array of welcome improvements, though, helping it retain 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 only continues to get better over time, to a point that it's now near perfect in delivering feel without any kickback or undesirable white noise. It's supremely accurate, unlcoking a window into the inner workings of what is going on underneath you like the best steering systems do. Models fitted with standard passive dampers have a slight edge taken off the ultimate body control, but when fitted with the adaptive PASM option, or the optional passive lowered sports suspension, the Boxster’s body control is superb, keeping you entirely locked in to the road surface and keeping you on top of the chassis's sweet, but not infallable balance.
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 it. Unlike the latest crop of 911s, you don’t have to be going at irrational speeds to revel in the car’s stunning clarity. It’ll push at the front if you’re clumsy on turn-in, but adjust your driving style and the Boxster will respond in an intuitive and involving manner.
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It’s now that the four-cylinder models begin to dim, as the laggy powertrains starts to get in the way of that satisfying flow when you’re totally engrossed in a fast 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 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 feels like an unbroken line between your brain and the throttle bodies. 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 with total concentration. It remains one of the most visceral and interactive 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. 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 brakes without feeling like the car is getting away from you.