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First drive: Porsche 718 Boxster T PDK. Image by Porsche.

First drive: Porsche 718 Boxster T PDK
Switching to soft-top pleasures for our second Porsche 718 T drive, this time in the Boxster.

   



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Porsche 718 Boxster T

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

Having already sampled the majestic 718 Cayman T, now it's time to try the other body style and the other gearbox in the 718 Boxster T, fitted with a seven-speed PDK. The short verdict? It's still a truly fantastic sports car, a roadster from the highest echelons of talent.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Porsche 718 Boxster T PDK
Pricing: 718 Boxster T from 53,006, 718 Boxster T PDK from 55,309
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged horizontally opposed four-cylinder petrol
Transmission: rear-wheel drive with PTV and limited-slip diff, seven-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic
Body style: two-door roadster
CO2 emissions: 187g/km (VED Band 171-190: 855 first 12 months, then 465 per annum years two to six of ownership, then 145 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 34.4mpg
Top speed: 171mph
0-62mph: 4.7 seconds
Power: 300hp at 6,500rpm
Torque: 380Nm at 2,150-4,500rpm
Boot space: 280 litres total (150 front boot, 130 rear boot)

What's this?

The Porsche 718 Boxster T, which is basically the utterly brilliant 718 Cayman T but with the roof lopped off. Since the introduction of the four-pot, mid-engined twins in their current incarnation, Porsche has reversed its erstwhile odd pricing strategy - which saw the older Caymans costing more than their equivalent Boxsters - and so now the roadster is the more expensive car, kicking off at 53,006... or, 1,861 more than the Cayman T. The Boxster T is also the same 7,071 more than a regular 718 soft-top, just like the Cayman T versus 718 Cayman, and it comes with the same jazzed-up interior, the same package of really useful and desirable hardware updates, and the same exterior styling accoutrements to mark it out as something special. All in all, a great-looking car, especially in Lava Orange (one of the two dearest Special Colour finishes for the 718 Ts at 1,658, along with Miami Blue), but we're just coming down on the side of the Cayman in terms of aesthetics - especially if you don't spec the fabric door-pulls, interior stitching and '718' headrest logos in a contrast finish, as the all-black cabin of our test Boxster didn't seem as inviting and tantalising as the yellow-highlighted Cayman's cockpit. Oh, and we also favour the Cayman's added practicality, as the Boxster T has much less cargo space (280 litres plays 425), because its rear boot is significantly smaller than the Cayman's.

How does it drive?

We also just come down on the side of the Cayman in terms of the driving experience, reckoning that the simplest possible 'T-spec' of coupe body, manual gearbox, no PCM would give the best ownership experience. Even though we fully accept that precisely the square root of zero customers are going to do without infotainment and a stereo on these things, making the 'shelving unit' models possibly the ones to look out for on the future 'used classics' car market.

However, while saying that our money would go on the Cayman T, we'll also freely admit that the Boxster T loses hardly anything in terms of its stunning dynamic ability to its tin-topped teammate. Indeed, given we're the sort of people who like convertibles and don't get all hung up on 'structural rigidity' and 'posing power' and all that malarkey, the idea of having the wind in your hair while enjoying the T's particular set of skills (cue the cod-Liam Neeson accent...) is mighty appealing. And, as we said in the Cayman T review, there will be those who prefer the sound of the Boxster T, as its roofless stature lets you hear the Sports exhaust's rumblings, more than you can hear the high-frequency resonance of the boxer-four powerplant.

Anyway, the Boxster T drives almost every bit as proficiently, engagingly and downright marvellously as the Cayman T; it's both an absolute delight and a privilege to be behind its Alcantara-clad wheel, enjoying the vast range of talents it possesses. Kudos, too, for the PDK. With neat, tactile little shifters on the wheel and near-faultless responses in both manual and automatic modes, having the two-pedal Boxster T is no great loss for the keener driver. If anything, the PDK better suits the Boxster's shrunken-GT nature and if that's not enough to have you signing up for the double-clutch model, then the fact it can use its launch control and Sport Response functions to rip off a 4.7-second 0-62mph time might swing the balance in the PDK's favour - the manual Boxster T does the same sprint in 5.1 seconds. Pub bragging rights for the PDK, right there.

Verdict

The Porsche 718 Boxster T PDK is 99.99 per cent as good to drive as the 718 Cayman T manual and it has its own particular suite of appealing characteristics to make it yet another blinding addition to the Porsche catalogue. Sure, we'd be going with the coupe T instead, but as two-seat compact roadsters go, there are few finer on sale right now - or, indeed, ever - than the 718 Boxster T.

4 4 4 4 4 Exterior Design

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Interior Ambience

3 3 3 3 3 Passenger Space

2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 Luggage Space

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Safety

4 4 4 4 4 Comfort

5 5 5 5 5 Driving Dynamics

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Powertrain


Matt Robinson - 25 Feb 2019



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