2019 Porsche 718 Boxster T review: price, specs and release date
With an even keener focus on driving pleasure and a selection of usually optional performance parts, is the Porsche 718 Boxster T the pick of the range?...
Priced from £53,916 | On sale Now
When life gets boring, there's always something that can make a big difference: a new haircut, or maybe even a fresh colour if you’re feeling particularly adventurous. Porsche has followed the same tact with the new Porsche 718 Boxster T: an all-singing, all-dancing version of its convertible sports car fitted with everything bar the hairdresser’s sink.
It gets the 296bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine from the regular Boxster, coming with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, but the selection of racier enhancements includes the Sport Chrono pack, which adds four selectable driving modes, a limited-slip differential for better traction out of corners and a 20mm-lower ride height courtesy of Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) - switchable suspension in English.
There's also a smattering of T branding to show your pockets are deeper than those of regular Boxster owners, including decals on the doors plus 20in alloy wheels and dark grey accents.
But is the T worth the extra, or is it a lot of cash for some kit you don’t really need?
2019 Porsche 718 Boxster T on the road
The 2.0-litre is already our preferred engine, because the 2.5-litre is more powerful but less smooth in both its power delivery and refinement. And despite the reservations many have about Porsche’s four-cylinder turbocharged unit (we’ll talk about the noise in a moment), it flings you away from a standstill to 62mph in just 5.3sec. It's even quicker with the PDK dual-clutch automatic gearbox, thanks to the launch control system this brings.
The Boxster T is far from gutless at low revs, so you can drive it in a relaxed manner when you want to, but the engine is more like one that’s naturally aspirated than turbocharged. It starts to feel brisk at about 2500rpm and is only fully awake and delivering the kind of accelerative enthusiasm of the rival Alpine A110 at 3000rpm and beyond.
The A110 sounds more thrilling, too. Its engine also has only four cylinders, but it manages to sound more engaging and invigorating. The T’s motor shows signs of improvement over earlier 718 Boxster models', with less wince-inducing resonance as it builds revs, but it still won’t have you savouring every last note.
You can switch the T between Normal, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual driving modes. Even leaving it in Normal will provide plenty of thrills, and this is unsurprisingly the most comfortable setting in terms of ride. It’s still rather stiff, and you’ll notice all the lumps and bumps in the road, but it’s perfectly acceptable for daily use.
Sport and Sport Plus sharpen the suspension, improve the accelerator response and tighten the body control, but with the dampers in their stiffer settings, the T feels rather too jarring on the typical broken British road. Individual lets you combine the two to your liking – more supple dampers combined with sharper acceleration, for example.
The limited-slip differential you get on the T really extends the Boxster’s repertoire, too, adding plenty of traction to a car that's already able to develop huge grip. This means the T's limits are much higher than the A110’s (although that’s not necessarily a plus for a car to enjoy on the road, depending on your philosophy), and the handling is – as always with the Boxster – balanced, composed and nimble.
Even with the electrically folding fabric roof lowered (possible while you're moving at up to 31mph), rigidity doesn’t feel compromised, so you can enjoy the wind in your hair with the same level of handling confidence.
All this leaves the T about where the rest of the Boxster range is: dynamically miles ahead of the Audi TT RS and BMW M2 Competition but still fractionally less fun than the A110 to drive down a challenging B-road.
2019 Porsche 718 Boxster T interior
The Boxster T is meant to feel rather minimalist inside; in fact, the T harks back to the stripped-out 911 Touring models built in the late 1960s for classic rallies. That doesn’t mean it misses out on much, though: there’s a smaller leather-wrapped steering wheel for a sportier feel and sport seats with Sport-Tex cloth and part-electric adjustment. These are plenty comfortable enough, with thick bolstering to keep you gripped through corners.
As standard, the infotainment system has been removed from the T to save weight, leaving a large storage compartment in the middle for those who are particularly committed to the lightweight life. If you're not so bothered, you can at no cost add back in the Porsche Communication Management system, which features a DAB radio, Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay. There are also plenty of gadgets, such as heated seats, dual-zone climate control and front and rear parking sensors, so the T is far from bare-boned.
Space inside isn’t affected by the T designation, so there’s enough room for two tall adults and two reasonably sized boots — one at the back and one under the bonnet.
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