2023 Porsche 718 Boxster 25 Years 982
To mark quarter-century of the Boxster, Porsche released the limited edition 718 25 Years, a stylish commemorative model based on the same-generation GTS 4.0. We hit the road in one of only 1,250 examples...
Words James Fossdyke
Photography Barry Hayden
TWENTY-FIVE NOT OUT
We evaluate the 718 Boxster 25 Years.
At the 1993 Detroit Motor Show, Porsche revealed a concept it named ‘Boxster’, the name being a portmanteau of boxer and roadster, referencing the car’s engine type and body style. Compact and slightly otherworldly to look at, particularly from the rear, this new Porsche was pitched as affordable and fun. Three years later, the production Boxster was launched without drastically deviating from the Detroit concept, providing Porsche customers with a relatively cheap opentop sports car with all of Zuffenhausen’s trademarks: a flat-six engine, rear-wheel drive and the kind of handling prowess the company’s products are famed for. It was a winning recipe and one Porsche showroom customers lapped up in their droves — to date, more than 350,000 Boxsters have been sold across four model generations.
Of course, the Boxster has changed since the launch of the 986, but the basic recipe has stayed the same. Even the 718, which made headlines when it was launched with a two-litre flat-four, still abides by those very same rules. Indeed, today’s Boxster remains light and compact, and though it’s difficult to consider a £49,000 car particularly cheap, this is still around half the price of the lowest-priced open-top 911.
Little wonder, then, that the Boxster has enjoyed such longevity. Then again, Porsche mixing superb handling characteristicsengine amidships — with engineering excellence and well-appointed luxury, as well as an appealing price point, ensured the model was destined for greatness. It hasn’t disappointed. At every turn, the Boxster has been the best roadster on the market.
Last year, Porsche celebrated twenty-five years of Boxster by building a limited-run special edition for marque enthusiasts. Imaginatively named ‘718 Boxster 25 Years’, the car built on the foundations laid by the 718 GTS 4.0 drop-top, overlaying the appealing GTS baseline with features inspired by the 1993 concept car. Just 1,250 examples are slated for production, meaning you’re unlikely to see one on the road. Even so, we got our hands on a right-hand drive example here in the UK. Needless to say, we took it for a spin.
GOT THE LOOK
The modifications, it has to be said, are not especially ground-breaking — Porsche has stuck more or less exclusively with aesthetic upgrades. And the few mechanical upgrades which do feature can all be specified on a conventional GTS. The 25 Year’s cosmetic highlights, however, can’t be found on the regular 718 Boxster individual equipment list. The most obvious addition is the “reinterpreted” Neodyne accents on the front apron, twin-tone alloy wheels and side air intakes, as well as the lettering on the back of the car. Described by Porsche as a “copper-like shimmering brown,” Neodyne is designed to contrast with the GT Silver body colour, providing a modern version of the two-tone colour scheme which adorned the Boxster concept almost three decades ago. If you prefer, you can replace GT Silver with either Deep Black Metallic or Carrara White Metallic, but the Neodyne remains.
As with the Boxster concept car, these paint jobs are designed to contrast with the Bordeaux leather interior and the red fabric hood. The dark red upholstery is quite loud — the colour covers pretty much everything, rather than just the seat facings and a few bits of trim — but is broken up by metallic interior dashboardand door card strips, as well as black plastic covering the centre console and steering wheel spokes. And if a bright red interior is a little too aggressive for your tastes, you can swap both the red hood and red leather for black alternatives.
Colour schemes aside, the main differences between the GTS and the 25 Years are badges (lots of them, plus an embossed model identifier on the fabric hood) and a handful of what would ordinarily be optional extras, but come as part of the anniversary model’s standard equipment list. For example, in the cabin, you get fourteen-way electrically adjustable sports seats and a heated GT multifunction sports leather steering wheel. Otherwise, it’s stock 718 GTS 4.0 fare, with the same equipment and practicality, such that it is.
As with the GTS, interior space is generous and there’s a 150-litre luggage tub in the nose, plus a more conventional 120-litre load space at the back. The usual selection of cubby holes and storage compartments can be found scattered around the cockpit. More importantly, you also get the same four-litre, normally aspirated flat-six howling away behind the seats. This means you get 395bhp to play with. All that power is sent to the fat rear tyres via a proper six-speed manual gearbox, too. For an additional £2,303, you can option PDK transmission, but in a Porsche as pure as this, anything other than a manual cog swapper feels blasphemous. Not that there’s anything particularly special about this manual gearbox.
It’s taken straight from the GTS, and while it moves quickly and without the slightest hint of recalcitrance, there’s a frustratingly rubbery quality to the gate. But, let’s face it, shift feel is not what makes the manual GTS — and, by extension, the 25 Years — so special. It’s the way in which this transmission fully integrates you with the machine. The simple act of dipping the clutch, selecting a new ratio and moving your left foot once again becomes a vital part of the driving experience, one from which PDK buyers are excluded.
That said, the automatic gearbox is the faster of the two. PDK’s rapid shifts allow both the GTS and the 25 Years to get from a standing start to 62mph in four seconds flat, and if Porsche’s track record is anything to go by, this timing is a ‘worst case’ result. Indeed, we’re sure 25 Years owners will be able to squeeze a little extra from their cars. In which case, the PDK model will be significantly faster than the manual, which takes 4.5 seconds to achieve the same sprint. Regardless of gearbox type, the GTS and 25 Years both boast top speed closing in on 182mph.
Whichever transmission you pick, there’s no getting away from the Boxster’s brilliance as a roadster. Perhaps the 25 Years doesn’t change much from a mechanical point of view, but it didn’t need to. With the sublime four-litre engine on board, the GTS is the pick of the current 718 line-up, and could stake a claim for being Porsche’s most compelling soft-top. As standard, the 25 Years comes with the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), which lowers the ride height by 10mm (a no-cost option on the GTS 4.0), along with the GTS’s Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) with a mechanical limited-slip differential. The Sport Chrono package is also included as standard, delivering the wheel-mounted driving mode switch and the throttle blip system for the manualgearbox, which automatically matches engine revolutions to road speed. Sport Chrono gives you launch control, as well as analogue and digital stopwatches.
The result is spectacularly good and arguably more appealing than the 992 GTS, commonly lauded as the best proposition for a modern road-going 911. We make our claim not because the 718 Boxster GTS or 25 Years is a better driver’s car than a 911 GTS, or because the Boxster is faster on a race track. We say so because the balance between handling prowess and ride comfort is almost perfect in the Boxster. Where a 911 GTS thumps into every pothole, the Boxster 25 Years seems to soak them up with ease, letting you know what the wheels and springs are doing, but never allowing them to jolt the car’s occupants. The Boxster doesn’t quite glide over a British B-road, but it manages to make our notoriously scarred asphalt feel like a page of braille. In other words, long-distance journeys are not the chore they might be in other, stiffer sports cars — you can take the Boxster on a lengthy road trip without questioning your sanity. Handy if, like most people, you don’t live within ten minutes of your favourite deserted backroads.
With most cars, long-distance capability would result in an excitement shortfall on shorter blasts, but the Boxster strikes the perfect balance. Admittedly, it will lean more than a 911 in corners, but there’s nothing wrong with this. You’re given fair warning when you’re approaching the limit, allowing you to manage the car’s weight transfer more effectively, although you’ll need to exercise encouragement to slide the rear end, such is the high level of grip — this Porsche has the uncanny ability to corner perfectly at almost any speed and the typically excellent Porsche steering feel gives you the confidence to push hard in bends. Granted, the four-litre Boxsters are heavier than their two- and 2.5-litre stablemates, but they’re still incredibly agile, and the bigger engine delivers meatier and more linear acceleration out of corners.
The real magic comes not from any one of these features, but the way in which they all work together to produce a car so unbelievably intuitive. Like all Boxsters, the 25 Years behaves exactlyas it should, meaning you can control it instinctively, without worrying about the impact of your actions. This thing is a driver’s dream. It’s even easy to drive around town, with that slick gearbox and clutch, although visibility is a little restricted with the roof up.
But in all this, the 25 Years is no different to the GTS. Yes, the newer model comes with a few choice options, but there’s little you can’t specify on a GTS and nothing to justify the premium Porsche charges for the special edition. Or should we say charged? Porsche has already taken the 25 Years off its price lists, but on the occasion of model launch, this stylish 718 was pitched at £72,760. Although Porsche has changed its list prices in recent months, this means the 25 Years rolled in with a hefty four-figure premium over the stock-spec 718 Boxster GTS 4.0, almost enough to option Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB).
And therein lies the problem with the 25 Years. At every turn, it has to be compared with the GTS, which is less exclusive, but cheaper and infinitely more customisable. Unless the 25 Years colour scheme proves irresistible to you, or you’re some kind of Boxster collector, this particular 718 doesn’t offer much the more conventional (and more widely available) GTS can’t provide. Don’t get us wrong, the 25 Years is brilliant in many ways. Whether you’re pounding around a circuit on a track day, enjoying a cruise through the countryside or simply commuting to and from work, Boxster handling and comfort is the perfect foil for that wonderful four-litre flat-six. And, of course, you get to enjoy a little dose of smugness, which comes with knowing you’ve bought an exclusive Porsche — you’re unlikely to see any other 25 Years when out and about on your travels.
While the Boxster 25 Years is undoubtedly an incredibly good and very appealing car, this is almost entirely because the GTS on which it’s based is such a fabulous Porsche. The 25 Years is a collector’s item, and there’s certainly value in viewing it through the lens of an investor, but if you want a Boxster to use every day, there’s simply no justifying the premium price of this limited edition. Yes, there are styling features which might hit home with some Porsche enthusiasts, but for those not won over by the design alone, there’s little to recommend this car over the standard and more customisable GTS.
Above Even with a roof in contrasting colour to its body, the 718 is an elegantlooking Porsche. Above Model-specific branding is scattered all over the car, including its fabric hood, which is embossed with the 25 Years logo.
WHERE A 911 GTS 992 THUMPS INTO EVERY POTHOLE, THE BOXSTER 25 YEARS SEEMS TO SOAK THEM UP WITH EASE.
Above Think 718 Boxster GTS with a manual gearbox and you’re most of the way toward understanding what the 25 Years is about. Above and below If just the thought of spending time in this cabin is enough to give you a migraine, rest assured black leather is available, though will go some way to disguising the car’s special identity.
- Model 2023 Porsche 718 Boxster 25 Years
- UK Price From £72,760
- Engine 4.0-litre naturally aspirated flat-six petrol
- Transmission Six-speed manual, PDK available as option
- Economy 26.2mpg
- CO2 emissions 246g/km
- Top speed 182mph
- 0-62mph 4.5 seconds
- Max Power 395bhp at 7,000rpm
- Max Torque 310lb-ft at 5,000-6,500rpm
- Weight 1,405kg (DIN)
IN A PORSCHE AS PURE AS THIS, ANYTHING OTHER THAN A MANUAL COG SWAPPER FEELS BLASPHEMOUS
Above Pretty as it is, the premium charged for exclusivity has us questioning whether the 25 Years represents particularly goodvalue for money