The Boxster 981 and 718 are both great Porsche models, but which one is the better choice? A quick comparison of the Boxster 981 vs 718 reveals that the 981 has a more powerful engine and offers a bit more luxury than the 718, while the 718 is more affordable and fuel-efficient. Ultimately, the Boxster 981 vs 718 battle comes down to what your priorities are — if power and comfort are important then go with the Boxster 981 but if fuel efficiency is key, choose the 718.
Porsche Boxster 981 vs 718: Which is Better?
The Porsche Boxster is a car that has consistently impressed drivers with its performance and longevity. The Porsche 981 is the third generation of the Boxster and was first introduced in 2012 and was produced through 2016. In 2016, the Porsche Boxster was renamed the Porsche 718 Boxster, which is an homage to Porchse’s racing history. The Boxster is a truly impressive car that continues to perform at a high-level year after year.
The Boxster is still one of the most desirable sports cars on the market, six years after its initial release. However, there is a caveat that can affect the lower half of the range depending on your priorities: the flat-four engine of the Porsche has been criticized by some. Porsche attempted to address this issue in 2019 by replacing the flat-four engine in the GTS with a slightly more powerful version of the 4-liter flat-six from the Boxster Spyder. However, this change has made it much more expensive to own one of these vehicles.
The Boxster is an excellent car with many keystone attributes that will remain attractive to Porsche buyers and its rivals. However, there are some kinks that should be considered before making a purchase. Choose wisely and the Boxster will provide years of enjoyment.
Porsche Boxster 981 vs 718 Size
As expected, there isn’t much of a difference between the 3rd generation 981 Boxster and the 4th generation 718 Boxster when it comes to size. The Boxster 981 has 5.3ft³ cargo space in the front and 4.6ft³ in the rear. The Boxster 718 has 5.2ft³ cargo space in the front and 4.4ft³ in the rear. The only other thing that is different is curb weight and this has to do with different transmissions and engines. We’ll go into the different engines featured in both models.
Engines, Drivetrain, & Fuel Economy
When it comes to engine performance, we will be using the present Porsche 718 Boxster and the 2012-2016 Porsche Boxster 981. We’ll be touching on power numbers, 0-60 times, quarter-mile times, and top speed because we know these are the most important numbers when it comes to owning or wanting a Porsche.
Porsche 718 Boxster Performance
The 718 Boxster features a 2.0L turbocharged boxer 4 that puts down 300hp and 280lb-ft of torque. It comes standard with RWD, with the option of a 6-speed manual transmission or PDK automatic transmission. With a top track speed of 170mph, the Porsche 718 Boxster boasts an impressive 4.9 second 0-60 time. The 718 Boxster runs a 14.1-second quarter-mile @ 113mph.
Porsche 981 Boxster Performance
The 981 Boxster featured a 2.7L flat 6 naturally aspirated engine that puts down 260hp and 201lb-ft of torque. It comes standard with RWD and a 6-speed manual transmission or optional 7-speed PDK automatic transmission. With a top track speed of 164mph, the Porsche 981 Boxster boasts an impressive 5.6 second 0-60 time. The 981 Boxster runs a 14-second quarter-mile @ 103.1 mph.
Porsche Boxster 981 vs 718 Price
Boxster 981 Price
A base Boxster 981 was introduced in 2012 and went for $50,000. 981 base Boxsters have surprisingly held their value relatively well. If you are looking to get into a used 981, prices range from $29,900 – $68,000, depending on year and mileage. If you’re looking to get more out of a Boxster 981, there are other trims Porsche offers: Black Edition, S, GTS, and Spyder.
The Black Edition started at $59,100, the S started at $63,900, the GTS started at $74,600, and the Spyder started at $82,100. However, a used Black Editions 981 Boxster ranges from $56,990 – $59,821. A used 981 Boxster S ranges from $34,484 – $71,228. A used 981 Boxster GTS ranges from $59,950 – $78,997. And lastly, the 981 Boxster Spyder ranges from $74,950 – $119,959.
Boxster 718 Price
The 718 Boxster offers excellent value for money, with a base price of just $62,600. Like the 981 Boxster, the 718 Boxtsers also have held their value very well, if not have gained value over MSRP. The prices range from $43,991 – $97,159. It’s well-built and comparable in quality to an Audi TT, making it the best choice in its class. The Boxster’s bottom range is quite desolate. its halogen headlights and plastic dashboard make it feel like a base model. If you’re looking to get more out of a Boxster 718, there are other trims Porsche offers: T, S, GTS 4.0.
The 718 Boxster T starts at $71,100, the S starts at $74,600, and the GTS 4.0 starts at $89,500. However, a used 718 Boxster T ranges from $78,991 – $94,850. A used 718 Boxster S ranges from $54,691 – $128,000. And lastly, the 718 Boxster GTS 4.0 ranges from $116,900 – $151,900.
Porsche Boxster 981 vs 718: How do they compare to their rivals?
The Boxster offers a more refined and nuanced experience than the Alpine A110, but it does have some limitations in daily useability. It isn’t as powerful as the six-cylinder 718 models. The input states that newer versions of something are more powerful and have better performance. The upcoming Lotus Emira will be a direct competitor to the top-end six-cylinder Boxster models. However, we’ll have to wait until late 2022 before we can finally get our hands on one. The Volkswagen Group offers an open-top experience without the dynamic superiority complex. The Audi TTS is less expensive than the basic Boxster and has more grunt as well as standard equipment. Although The BMW Z4 is an open-top option, it is not as easy to drive. It’s also strange-looking.
Porsche 981 vs 718 Conclusion
In conclusion, both models have an attractive aesthetic. The 718 Boxster, since it came out after the 981, is more modern, yet more expensive since it is newer. The 981 Boxster is cheaper, but because they are going on a decade since they were first produced. If you have had any first-hand experience with either model, let us know in the comments. This will not only assist us with our research but also future readers on which model they should choose.
Hi, very informative article, thank you. May I ask how you gathered pricing data? I’m looking to build a depreciation curve database and would like to use the best sources. Thanks!
Ed B says
Just bought a 2019 718 Boxster with high spec. I absolutely love it. Very impressed.
Eddy Seijsener says
Bought a aqua blue 981 2.7 in January 2022, I have driven some 10.000 kms and the Boxster is stunning. I use to drive it both on funtrips as well as a daily driver. The Porsche feeling is there every minute.
Dave Anshen says
Great summary! I was looking for a Boxter and was able to test drive various base and S models from 2006 to 2019, some with manual and others automatic. After much research and test drives, I fell in love with a 981S…2015 Boxter S. The style, handling and sound of the flat six is just outstanding. It just puts a smile on my face every time I drive.
GLENN ANGELO TORRES says
BEST TOP TO BOTTOM MOTOR ON ANY PORSCHE IS AN ASPIRATED FLAT 6. THE 718 IS JUST BEAUTIFUL BUT YOU WONT GET A FLAT 6 MOTOR UNLESS YOU ARE BUYING A GTS. IF THE S MODEL ON A 718 WOULD COME ON A FLAT 6 IT WOULD BE A HUGE OPTION WHICH IS NOT AVAILABLE TO MY UNDERSTANDING. FLAT 6 IS THE WAY TO GO AND FOR THAT REASON AND PRICING I WOULD GO WITH THE 981 S MODEL.
Andy Stirland says
Went to test drive 718 and was blown away by its all round performance. Waited for the right car/spec to become available but in meantime then tested a 981. WOW, sorry but if you enjoy driving and the soul of the car/sound it makes then has to be a 981. Such a timeless interior and beautiful steering wheel (paddle shift). This one’s a keeper 😃. Options list is typically long. Holding their value so well. Enjoy regardless what you end up with.