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

First UK drive: Porsche 718 Boxster T
After a thrilling high-speed drive of the open-top Porsche T in Spain, now we drive it in freezing UK conditions. Itís still superb.

 



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Porsche 718 Boxster T manual

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

On an event to celebrate Porsche's range of two-seater roadsters, the 718 Boxster T might look like it was hopelessly outgunned by its two Motorsport companions, the astonishing 718 Spyder and the outrageously magnificent 911 Speedster (991). But we're here to tell you that something quite surprising happened with the 718 T...

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Porsche 718 Boxster T (manual)
Pricing: 718 Boxster range from £46,651, T from £53,006, car as tested £59,732
Engine: 2.0-litre horizontally opposed turbocharged four-cylinder petrol
Transmission: rear-wheel drive with PTV and mechanical limited-slip diff, six-speed manual
Body style: two-door mid-engined roadster
CO2 emissions: 187g/km (VED Band Over 225: £2,135 first 12 months, then £465 per annum years two-six of ownership, then £145 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 38.2mpg
Top speed: 171mph
0-62mph: 5.1 seconds
Power: 300hp at 6,500rpm
Torque: 380Nm at 2,150-4,500rpm
Boot space: 150 litres

What's this?

We're not going into chapter-and-verse here on the 718 Boxster T, for two chief reasons: one, it's a 718 Boxster, when all's said and done, and you should know what one of these looks like by now, as it has been around unchanged since 2016; and two, we spent an age thrashing the PDK version of the same car around Spain earlier this year, as well as its Cayman T sibling, so if you want a full rundown on what makes a T a T, then make with the link-clickings above.

What we will say is Racing Yellow with black detailing and the 20-inch Carrera S alloys really suits the 718 Boxster T's lines, while the interior - showing its age because the cabin of the 982-series of mid-engined cars is being surpassed by the likes of the 992-generation 911, the Panamera G2 and the current Cayenne, not to mention the advanced Taycan - nevertheless feels a lot more inviting with many of its details highlighted in the same Racing Yellow shade. Mind, you might drop a couple of grand on getting the interior looking like this, because the options required to enliven the passenger compartment are four-figure affairs in some cases...

How does it drive?

The elephant in the room of any 718 drive is always about the engine. For what it's worth, we've previously said about both this 2.0-litre variant and the bigger 2.5 in the heretofore faster 718s that we think they're fine motors. Not as nice as the old six-pot Boxsters and Caymans, of course, but still ridiculously strong and punchy, blessed with good throttle control and mated to a chassis that is quite, quite brilliant.

Which is what makes the Boxster T such phenomenal fun to drive. It still scythes into corners with that wondrous balance that the mid-engined Porsche sports cars have always had (and which, whisper it, makes them arguably more talented than a 911) and it still powers out of bends with traction that's eye-opening. The steering's magnificent, if not replete with feel, the brakes are strong and wilt-free, rowing the manual gearbox around the gate is tremendously entertaining and, overall, the balance of ride comfort and body control is in that zone where you start to think of the word 'perfect'. It has the over-long gearing of all 718s, though, but with a whopping amount of midrange torque to call on that's not such a problem here as it is in the peakier Spyder.

So, on some astonishing roads draping themselves over the North Pennines of Northumberland, we had no regrets that we were covering miles in the T, rather than the Speedster or Spyder. In reality, we probably exploited more of the T's outright abilities in cold, slippery conditions than we did either of the six-cylinder machines also in close attendance, mainly because the four-pot 718 Boxster was such a faithful car to push to the edges of its dynamic envelopes. Or, put another way, we got just as much delight and excitement out of driving the yellow Porsche in freezing UK conditions and while wearing a branded bobble hat, as we did giving an orange example a full work-out under the Spanish summer sun on deserted, sweeping roads. And surely, that's what a great sports car should be about? A wide bandwidth of operating talent that can be accessed and enjoyed everywhere?

Verdict

Let's make no bones about this, the Porsche 718 Boxster T could not hope to live up to the driving experience offered by the 991 Speedster and the car at the other end of its own range, the 718 Spyder. But, by the same token, to try and suggest it was totally and humiliatingly outclassed by either would be a lie. And, in actual fact, it started to look more and more appealing as the day wore on: it's an accessible sports car with a magnificent chassis and a muscular engine, at a (relatively) affordable price and not burdened with the weight of being a collectors' item rarity. In truth, it's what we said of it when we first drove it near Sevilla - the 718 T might conceivably be all the sports car you could ever need for road-going purposes. It's a truly stunning, rewarding little thing to pilot.

5 5 5 5 5 Exterior Design

4 4 4 4 4 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

5 5 5 5 5 Comfort

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Driving Dynamics

4 4 4 4 4 Powertrain


Matt Robinson - 27 Nov 2019









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2019 Porsche 718 Boxster T manual. Image by Porsche UK.2019 Porsche 718 Boxster T manual. Image by Porsche UK.2019 Porsche 718 Boxster T manual. Image by Porsche UK.2019 Porsche 718 Boxster T manual. Image by Porsche UK.2019 Porsche 718 Boxster T manual. Image by Porsche UK.

2019 Porsche 718 Boxster T manual. Image by Porsche UK.2019 Porsche 718 Boxster T manual. Image by Porsche UK.2019 Porsche 718 Boxster T manual. Image by Porsche UK.2019 Porsche 718 Boxster T manual. Image by Porsche UK.2019 Porsche 718 Boxster T manual. Image by Porsche UK.








 

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