There were many who bemoaned the Porsche 718 Boxster’s switch from a standard flat-six engine to a turbocharged flat-four. And while Porsche has reintroduced the six in headlining variants such as the GTS 4.0 and the Spyder RS, the brand also is out to bolster the cred of even the entry-level four-cylinder Boxster. The 2023 Boxster T does exactly that.
The premise behind the Boxster T is simple: Take the whole kit and caboodle of Porsche’s handling options and slap those bad boys onto the base model. Like its bigger brother, the 911 Carrera T, the Boxster T relies on its entry-level powertrain, but unlike the 911, it doesn’t throw a bunch of weight savings into the mix by deleting seats and thinning the glass—although the occasionally frustrating loop door pulls might save a handful of grams. Our Boxster T tipped the scales at 3069 pounds, just 10 pounds more than a base manual Boxster we tested back in 2017. European models shed a bit more weight thanks to an infotainment delete that our backup-camera regulations don’t allow.
Here’s what your hard-earned $76,050 gets you on the Boxster T. Porsche’s PASM sport suspension adds adaptive damping and lowers the car by 0.8 inch. The 20-inch wheels offer a dash of extra style while retaining enough sidewall rubber to avoid trashing the ride quality. Active engine mounts work to isolate the flat-four’s movements from the rest of the body by varying their stiffness, while brake-based torque vectoring is on hand to improve turn-in and stability through corners. Porsche’s Sport Chrono option is standard, as well, adding a dashboard clock, a drive-mode switch on the steering wheel, rev-matching downshifts, and—on cars with the seven-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic transmission—launch control.
The interior gets a little extra love too. The Boxster T comes standard with two-way power adjustable seats covered in a combination of leather and grippy cloth surfaces, and they’re great, offering lots of comfort and support whether the driving is sedate or sporty. Our test car also had the optional 718 T Interior package ($2770), which brings contrasting stitching, seat embroidery, and color-matched seatbelts. You still get the plastic-fantastic base interior, but your hands likely won’t stray from the wheel to massage the dash very often.
Sounds like a good combo, right? It is. Even with its larger wheels, the Boxster T’s adaptive dampers do an impressive job soaking up Michigan’s heavily blemished roads and returning a smooth ride that still keeps body motions in check when attacking switchbacks. Sport mode stiffens things up but doesn’t necessarily add any additional precision. Those 20-inch wheels may add a smidge of unsprung mass, but the steering is still direct and happy to tell you what the front tires are experiencing. Around the 300-foot skidpad, we measured a solid 1.03 g of pavement adhesion.
With just 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque on tap, the Boxster T certainly lacks the outright hustle of a GTS 4.0 or even an S model, but it’s not like waiting for a late-arriving bus. With the exception of the lowest depths of the rev range, the turbocharged 2.0-liter flat-four builds boost quickly as the exhaust note changes from flat-brim-cap bass to a more fitting yowl. With clean footwork and one of our favorite six-speed manuals underhand, we recorded a 4.3-second run up to 60 mph, exactly the same as we achieved in 2017, and four-tenths of a second quicker than a 2.0-liter Toyota Supra. Keep your foot in it, and the T will run the quarter-mile in 12.9 seconds at 109 mph, 0.1 second ahead of the 2017 Boxster and 0.4 ahead of the Supra.
The Boxster T uses the base car’s brakes, but that’s not a cause for concern. The T stops from 70 mph in 143 feet and from 100 mph in 293. Not only are these impressive numbers on par with the 2017 Boxster and the 2.0-liter Supra once again, the 100-mph result is a foot better than what we recorded with a 2020 Corvette Stingray convertible (stopping from 70 mph is more impressive by four feet).
One place where Porsche’s four-cylinder engines do very well is fuel economy. Sports cars aren’t often pillars of efficiency, but the Boxster T doesn’t mind a bit of thrift. While the EPA estimates a 26-mpg highway figure—1 mpg higher than an entry-level manual Boxster—our own 75-mph highway fuel-economy test returned an impressive result of 34 mpg.
Perhaps the most frustrating part of the Boxster T is that it’s already leaving. Porsche discontinued the 718 T from the lineup for the 2024 model year, but there’s a workaround that will get you nearly there. A base Boxster can be fitted with the PASM suspension (albeit with half the ride-height reduction), torque vectoring, and nearly every other Boxster T component, save for the interior upgrades. Throw in a set of upsized wheels, and the out-the-door price won’t be too far off from our test car’s as-tested $83,120.
Whether you assemble your Boxster T one piece at a time or get lucky and find a 2023 model chilling on the dealer lot, your hard work won’t go unrewarded. The Boxster T is about as value-laden as a two-door Porsche can get, marrying base-model sensibilities with more than enough agility for the weekend canyon carver or enthusiastic commuter.
2023 Porsche 718 Boxster T
Vehicle Type: mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 2-passenger, 2-door convertible
Base/As Tested: $76,050/$83,120
Options: 718 T Interior package, $2770; navigation with Porsche Connect, $2320; Premium package (heated steering wheel, power folding exterior mirrors, Light Design package, luggage net in passenger footwell, Porsche Entry and Drive), $1980
turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve flat-4, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 121 in3, 1988 cm3
Power: 300 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 280 lb-ft @ 1950 rpm
Suspension, F/R: struts/struts
Brakes, F/R: 13.0-in vented, cross-drilled disc/11.8-in vented, cross-drilled disc
Tires: Pirelli P Zero PZ4
F: 235/35ZR-20 (88Y) N1
R: 265/35ZR-20 (95Y) N1
Wheelbase: 97.4 in
Length: 172.4 in
Width: 70.9 in
Height: 49.7 in
Passenger Volume: 49 ft3
Cargo Volume, F/R: 5/4 ft3
Curb Weight: 3069 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 4.3 sec
100 mph: 10.4 sec
1/4-Mile: 12.9 sec @ 109 mph
130 mph: 18.7 sec
150 mph: 28.8 sec
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 5.9 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 9.9 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 6.2 sec
Top Speed (C/D est): 170 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 143 ft
Braking, 100–0 mph: 293 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 1.03 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 20 mpg
75-mph Highway Driving: 34 mpg
75-mph Highway Range: 280 mi
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 22/20/26 mpg
C/D TESTING EXPLAINED
Cars are Andrew Krok’s jam, along with boysenberry. After graduating with a degree in English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2009, Andrew cut his teeth writing freelance magazine features, and now he has a decade of full-time review experience under his belt. A Chicagoan by birth, he has been a Detroit resident since 2015. Maybe one day he’ll do something about that half-finished engineering degree.
Source: Reviews - aranddriver.com