Used test: Audi TTS vs Porsche 718 Boxster S

These drop-top sports cars are both seriously tempting when you see how affordable they are used. But which one is the better buy?...

Porsche 718 Boxster and Audi TTS Roadster

The Contenders

Audi TTS Roadster

  • List price when new - £41,435
  • Price today - £20,000* 
  • Available from - 2014-present

Great to drive, easy to live with and makes the Porsche look distinctly pricey.

Porsche 718 Boxster S

  • List price when new - £50,695
  • Price today - £28,000*
  • Available from - 2016-present

Hugely desirable, but is it worth the extra over the brawny TTS Roadster?

*Price today is based on a 2016 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing

Do you remember pressing your nose against the toy-shop window and wishing you had a little bit more money in your piggy bank? That’s what it can feel like with the Audi TTS and Porsche 718 Boxster S, but if you check out the used prices, these open-top sports cars suddenly look a whole lot more affordable.

We’ve brought together four-year-old examples, and at that age it’s possible to buy either of them for the price of a new Nissan Qashqai.

Porsche 718 Boxster S vs Audi TTS Roadster

The mid-engined Boxster has long been one our favourite sports cars, and on test here it’s available for nearly half of what it cost new. But it will still cost you around £8000 more than the TTS Roadster, so which is the better used buy?

What are they like to drive? 

The Boxster has 39bhp more than the TTS, so no prizes for guessing which car is quicker – the TTS took 6.0sec to do the 0-60mph sprint, while the Boxster did it in 4.5sec.

Porsche 718 Boxster S vs Audi TTS Roadster

That’s partly because the TTS is trickier to get off the line swiftly, despite its four-wheel-drive traction advantage over the rear-wheel-drive Boxster. However, the TTS also has relatively short gearing, so you need to make two gear changes to hit 60mph, whereas the Boxster will easily hit that speed in second gear. The Boxster’s gearchange is also more satisfying thanks to its positive, mechanical feel and shorter throw.

Both engines are turbocharged, so there’s a slight pause after you press the accelerator before they hit their stride, but the Boxster is less hesitant and more ferocious. The TTS, while still rapid, is less potent.

Porsche 718 Boxster S vs Audi TTS Roadster

The Boxster has lost none of its handling skills. The way its steering builds weight and delivers feedback as you turn in to corners is little short of perfection. The TTS is agile, and its steering provides plenty of zip when you ask for a quick change of direction, but the connection between you and the road is less intrinsic.

Both our cars had adaptive dampers, although these were an option when new on the Boxster. Even with the Audi’s suspension in its firmest setting, its body leans more than the Boxster’s during hard cornering. The Boxster is more of a pure driving sports car. It’s better balanced, and the TTS never feels as precise or easy to place when driven quickly.

Porsche 718 Boxster S vs Audi TTS Roadster

In other respects, these two roadsters are harder to separate. They both ride firmly, but are comfortable enough to drive every day. The Boxster takes the sting out of sharp potholes better, but with the roof up the TTS is better insulated from road noise. With the roof down, the Boxster ruffles your hair slightly less, in part due to its wind deflector, which sits just behind the driver’s left ear.

Next: What are they like inside? >>

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