Review: Porsche Boxster (2012 – 2016)


All-new Boxster is lighter and more economical. Returns a claimed 36mpg. Good looking redesigned interior. Even better to drive than before.

Optional extras can quickly push the final price up.

Porsche Boxster (2012 – 2016): At A Glance

Think Porsche and you more than likely think of the iconic 911. But the fact remains that if it wasn't for the Boxster, first launched in 1996, Porsche probably wouldn't exist in the shape it does today.

The Boxster is the car that brought the famous German brand to a much wider audience and since then the company has gone from strength to strength.

This is now the third generation of the open top sports car and although it doesn't look hugely different than its predecessor there are some key differences. Compared to the 911, Porsche is able to take a few more liberties with the styling of the Boxster and this all new model gets a sharper and more aggressive look than before.

Key design features include more pronounced side air intakes and larger alloy wheels - 18-inch on the Boxster and 19-inch on the Boxster S - as standard. It's a great a looking car, especially when viewed from the back with that prominent edge that runs across the back between the rear lights. This also houses the neat pop-up spoiler.

The key strength of the Boxster is that it's such a useable car everyday. It's just as happy sitting in traffic in London as it is on the motorway or thundering down a quiet back road. The ride is amazingly smooth and serene, the gear changes are light and easy plus it's even easy to park. Yet make no mistake. This is a bona fide sports car that handles just like a Porsche should.

What does a Porsche Boxster (2012 – 2016) cost?

Contract hire from £613.94 per month

Porsche Boxster (2012 – 2016): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4374–4404 mm
Width 1978 mm
Height 1273–1282 mm
Wheelbase 2475 mm

Full specifications

It's the interior where this Boxster is most notably different from the old model. It's been completely redesigned and echoes the Panamera and latest 911 with a high central console and a quality seven-inch touchscreen to control the stereo and sat nav. There are plenty of buttons, there's no BMW-style iDrive controller here, but it's easy to work out what everything does.

The Boxster now gets an electric parking brake too, which frees up space, while the overall quality along with the fit and finish have been even further improved from the high standards of the previous Boxster. There are also changes to the electric hood.

As before it's a fabric roof which means it is light weight, but there's no longer a handle to undo before you retract it. And putting it down takes just nine seconds (which can be done at up to 30mph) with a very smooth mechanism.

With the roof up, which in the UK is how it will spend the majority of its time, there's less noise than before thanks to a new layer of Thinsulate - the thermal fabric used in outdoor clothing. In fact according to Porsche sound levels have been cut by half. With the roof down it is quite blustery, more so than a BMW Z4 for example, but this only adds to the sports car feel.

Child seats that fit a Porsche Boxster (2012 – 2016)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Porsche Boxster (2012 – 2016) like to drive?

The new Boxster gets a traditional Porsche flat-six engine which produces that unique sound and feel. The standard Boxster has a new 2.7-litre engine replacing the 2.9-litre in the previous model, It may be smaller but power is actually increased to 265PS - an extra 10PS - while both economy and performance improve.

But it's the Boxster S which is the real star. It uses the same 3.4-litre engine as before but it's been further improved. Power is up from 310PS to 315PS while 0-62mph now takes just 5.1 seconds. Yet economy is also better, improving from 29.7mpg to 32.1mpg.

While the Boxster is quick, the Boxster S takes things into a different league. The engine is incredibly responsive, remember there are no turbochargers here, while it's amazingly rapid from pretty much any speed.

But of course the big question is, what is it like to drive? Well the answer is simply one word - exceptional. Porsche has always been a cut above other sports cars when it comes to handling and the new Boxster continues this tradition. It may be an 'entry-level' model in the Porsche range but it feels just as special as the more expensive 911.

The fact it's mid engined means it's superbly balanced and it corners with superb reassurance. There's immense grip while it rarely struggles for traction either. It's very forgiving too and feels less intimidating than the rear-engined 911, giving you plenty of confidence to drive it quickly. And at the same time putting a huge smile on your face.

This new Boxster is not only longer and lower than before, it also has a longer wheelbase. This means more space inside but more crucially, improved handling and stability. Thanks to the extensive use of lightweight materials such as an aluminium bonnet and doors it's around 35kg lighter but also 40 per cent stiffer which helps the ride quality.

It comes with a new electro-mechanical steering system and often the introduction of these systems means a big drop in steering feel, but there are no such problems with the Boxster. It's as responsive as ever with plenty of feedback and great presicion in corners. To further enchance the handling there's the optional Porsche Torque Vectoring system (or PTV for short).

This basically imitates a rear differential by gently braking the inside wheel as the car enters and exits a corner while at the same time sending more power to the outside wheels. The effect is that you don't need as much steering input through bends and there's better traction on the way out. If you want to get the most out of your Boxster it's worth the extra money.

The other popular option on the Boxster is the PDK gearbox. This seven-speed double clutch automatic may seem better suited to the likes of the Cayenne and it had a mixed reception when it was first launched in the 911. But Porsche has extensively redesigned it, so it now provides more aggressive and faster changes when you press the Sport button. It's still smooth and sedate at low speeds though so it's ideal if you spend a lot of time in traffic.

There's a manual mode so you can change gear using the steering wheel mounted paddles while heavy braking results in faster downshifts at higher engine speeds, with a nice blip of the throttle inbetween each shift. The PDK also means better economy (35.3mpg in the Boxster S) and faster acceleration.

If you go for the optional Sports Chrono pack which includes launch control, the Boxster S PDK will do 0-62mph in just 4.8 seconds.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
Boxster 34 mpg 5.8 s 192–195 g/km
Boxster GTS 31 mpg 5.0 s 211 g/km
Boxster GTS PDK 34 mpg 4.9 s 190 g/km
Boxster PDK 36 mpg 5.7 s 180–183 g/km
Boxster S 31 mpg 5.1 s 206 g/km
Boxster S PDK 34 mpg 5.0 s 188 g/km

Real MPG average for a Porsche Boxster (2012 – 2016)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

23–41 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Porsche Boxster (2012 – 2016)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

Air-con failure after purchase - is it covered by the warranty?

In March, I bought a low-mileage (10,000) 2013 Porsche Boxster from a Porsche dealer, including - what I thought was - a rock-solid two year warranty. Initially, I didn't use the air-con (to save fuel) but when I tried it for the first time on a wet day - on 10 June - I realised that the air-con wasn't working at all. On my return home on 14 June, I reported the problem to both the supplying Porsche dealership and also my local Porsche service centre. I booked the car in as soon as possible for the work to be done, on June 27 - 28, on the assumption that a repair would would be fully covered by the warranty. I was then told that there was stone damage to one of the condensers which had disabled the air-con. I had no option but to pay the bill, just over £700. My perception is that I was sold a car without working air-con. The service dealer regards this as ‘external damage’ and therefore not covered by the warranty. The salesman was sympathetic but referred to the comprehensive pre-delivery check that the car had passed just before I bought it in March. As a gesture of goodwill, he has offered to pay 50 per cent of the bill but that still leaves me £350 out of pocket. Am I likely to be able to recover my loss or is this the best I can hope for?
Stone damage is the same as any kind of damage to the car. Not warranted. Had you used the a/c from day one you'd have found out if it was working then or not. As it is, you have no proof that a stone did not damage the condenser during your tenure of the car. It's actually stupid not to use a/c. Doesn't affect fuel economy and if you don't use it it doesn't self-lubricate and is prone to lose its refrigerant anyway.
Answered by Honest John
More Questions

What Cars Are Similar To The Porsche Boxster (2012 – 2016)?

Key attributes of the this model are: High performance, Keen handling, Open top, Performance car and Convertible.

Unclear on what your next car should be? Use our Car Chooser to pick something that suits your needs.

What do owners think?

Our view gives your our opinion, based on driving hundreds of cars every year, but you can't beat the views of someone who lives with a car day-in, day out.

  • 5 star 100%
  • 4 star
  • 3 star
  • 2 star
  • 1 star

See all owners' reviews