2020 Porsche 718 Boxster T review: Back-to-basics brilliance

The T looks good with its 20-inch wheels and subtle side graphics.

Steven Ewing / Roadshow

The Boxster T it’s the best kind of approach to going back to basics. It’s a high-performance car that doesn’t focus on power or speed, but instead displays the inherent brilliance of the Porsche 718’s chassis.

Like it

  • Excellent chassis tuning
  • Perfect steering
  • Strong turbo power

I do not like

  • The engine sound is not that sweet
  • Outdated infotainment technology does not support Android Auto

At that point, the Boxster T uses the 718’s base engine: a flat 2.0-liter turbo 4 with 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. If you stick to the standard six-speed manual transmission, the T adds a short-stroke gearbox, but Porsche’s PDK dual-clutch gearbox is available as a $ 3,730 option. The advantage of switching to PDK is faster acceleration; Hitting 60 mph takes 4.5 seconds with the dual-clutch automatic versus 4.9 with the 6MT. But as great as the super smooth and super fast PDK box is, I can’t help but want the manual in this machine. Remember, absolute speed isn’t the goal here, and the Boxster’s flat-four is best mixed with a stick.

Plus, the T is all about driver involvement. It comes standard with Porsche sports suspension trim – something not otherwise available on the 718 base – as well as a limited slip differential, sports exhaust, 20-inch wheels and the Sport Chrono Package. This last bit adds the awesome and useful push-to-pass Sport Response button on the drive mode selector, although you only get it with the dual-clutch transmission, so I guess that’s another thing that works in PDK’s favor .

All in all, the Boxster T is a peach on the road. The perfect mid-engine balance and relatively light curb weight of 3,120 pounds make this car a fiery beaver when it comes time to dive into a corner or quickly run through a series of switchbacks. There are no braking dips, no roll in corners. The limited-slip differential mixes the power between the rear wheels while Pirelli P-Zero summer tires cling to the floor. Add some of the best steering available in any sports car at any price and the end result is a charming little roadster that never, ever gets boring. As good as the New 4.0-liter engine option from the Boxster it could be, you don’t need great power when everything else is so good.

Probably the only sour note in the entire Boxster T experience is sound. The sports exhaust is great, but the 2.0-liter flat-4 is … not great. This auditory experience is subjective, I know, and I admit that I don’t hate the sound of the 2.0-liter as much as some Porsche purists do. But man, give this thing the loud whine of a real six bedroom apartment and it would be a winning chicken dinner.

Seat inserts in Sport-Tex fabric are the right choice.

Steven Ewing / Roadshow

Inside, the Boxster T has neat nylon door handles you’ll remember from the 718 Spyder e Cayman GT4. Oddly, though, if you want them in any color other than black, you have to select the $ 2,770 718 T interior package, which adds some liveliness to the door handles, contrast stitching, and fabric seat inserts (Guards Red, in the case of my test machine). I like the Sport-Tex fabric on the seats – it’s as good as it looks. You can also add heated seats for $ 530, which is a relatively inexpensive upgrade, even for all Porsche a la carte standards.

The 718’s interior isn’t as modern or luxurious as Porsche’s newer cars, so you won’t find things like large digital gauge clusters or a widescreen infotainment system. This is not to say that the latest generation Porsche Communication Management technology is bad, necessarily: it responds quickly and the menu structure is simple. It’s not as feature-rich or beautiful as the latest PCM software, and the 7-inch touchscreen is a bit small for an infotainment display in 2020. Fortunately, the standard Apple CarPlay it’s a pretty easy override, though Android Auto continues to be a ban on Porsche training. If you want driver assistance technology, lane change assistance costs $ 700 and adaptive cruise control is another $ 1,670, although ACC can only be obtained with the PDK transmission.

The Boxster is one of the best two all-round seats you can buy.

Steven Ewing / Roadshow

At $ 69,850 to start (including $ 1,350 for the destination), the Boxster T is one of the least expensive ways to enter the Porsche 718 range. Ideally, I’d spend on the $ 2,580 Miami Blue or Python Green exterior colors and go easy on the other options. The $ 3,600 Premium package will add things I want like a heated steering wheel, Bose sound system, LED headlights, and a few other bells and whistles. That brings me $ 78,530 out the door, which isn’t bad for a perfectly specified 718 Boxster. For reference, the most powerful 718 Boxster SI tested earlier this year costs $ 10,000 more.

As an everyday sports car, the 718 is a great choice. Its suspension is compliant enough to handle city commuting, has two trunks, and isn’t even a gas pump glutton, returning a semi-respectable 24 miles per gallon combined. You can definitely argue that the more powerful Boxster S and the sweetest 4.0-liter GTS and Spyder variants are the true kings of performance. But if all you want is a simple and rewarding sports car that prioritizes happiness behind the wheel above all else, the new Boxster T lets that basic goodness shine.

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