2019 Porsche 718 Boxster vs. 2019 Alfa Romeo 4C

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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The 718 Boxster PDK offers optional Porsche Active Safe, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The 4C doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The 718 Boxster has standard ParkAssist to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or in front of their vehicle. The 4C doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

The 718 Boxster’s optional blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The 4C doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

The 718 Boxster has standard Porsche Connect, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The 4C doesn’t offer a GPS response system, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the 718 Boxster and the 4C have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

The Porsche 718 Boxster weighs 457 to 649 pounds more than the Alfa Romeo 4C. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.


The 718 Boxster’s corrosion warranty is 8 years longer than the 4C’s (12 vs. 4 years).

There are over 9 percent more Porsche dealers than there are Alfa Romeo dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the 718 Boxster’s warranty.


A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the 718 Boxster’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the 4C’s camshafts. If the 4C’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the 718 Boxster has a standard 175-amp alternator. The 4C’s 160-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.


The 718 Boxster’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 63 more horsepower (300 vs. 237) and 22 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 258) than the 4C’s 1.8 turbo 4 cyl. The 718 Boxster S’ standard 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 113 more horsepower (350 vs. 237) and 51 lbs.-ft. more torque (309 vs. 258) than the 4C’s 1.8 turbo 4 cyl. The 718 Boxster GTS’ standard 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 128 more horsepower (365 vs. 237) and 51 lbs.-ft. more torque (309 vs. 258) than the 4C’s 1.8 turbo 4 cyl. The 718 Boxster GTS’ optional 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 128 more horsepower (365 vs. 237) and 59 lbs.-ft. more torque (317 vs. 258) than the 4C’s 1.8 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the Porsche 718 Boxster is faster than the Alfa Romeo 4C (automatics tested):



Boxster S


Zero to 60 MPH

4 sec

3.7 sec

4.1 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

9.9 sec


10.7 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

5 sec


5.1 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

3.5 sec


4.2 sec

Quarter Mile

12.5 sec

11.9 sec

12.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

112 MPH


107 MPH

Top Speed

170 MPH


159 MPH

The flat cylinder configuration of the boxer engine in the 718 Boxster lowers its center of gravity, enhancing handling stability. The 4C doesn’t offer a boxer engine configuration.

Fuel Economy and Range

Regenerative brakes improve the 718 Boxster’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The 4C doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the 718 Boxster’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The 4C doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The 718 Boxster’s standard fuel tank has 3.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the 4C (14.2 vs. 10.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The 718 Boxster’s optional fuel tank has 6.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the 4C (16.9 vs. 10.5 gallons).

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Porsche 718 Boxster higher (3 out of 10) than the Alfa Romeo 4C (1). This means the 718 Boxster produces up to 22.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the 4C every 15,000 miles.


A seven-speed automatic (SMG) is available on the Porsche 718 Boxster, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the 4C.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the 718 Boxster’s brake rotors are larger than those on the 4C:



Boxster opt.


Front Rotors

13 inches

13.8 inches

12 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

13.8 inches

11.5 inches

The 718 Boxster offers optional heat-treated ceramic brake rotors, which last ten to twenty times as long as conventional cast iron rotors, don’t rust, don’t fade during repeated high speed braking, and their lighter weight contribute to better braking, handling and acceleration. The 4C doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.

The 718 Boxster stops much shorter than the 4C:





70 to 0 MPH

143 feet

144 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

98 feet

113 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the 718 Boxster has larger standard tires than the 4C (F:235/45R18 & R:265/45R18 vs. F:205/45R17 & R:235/40R18). The 718 Boxster’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 4C (F:245/35R20 & R:305/30R20 vs. F:205/45R17 & R:235/40R18).

The 718 Boxster’s optional 245/35R20 front and 305/30R20 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series front and 30 series rear profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 4C’s optional 40 series front and 35 series rear tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the 718 Boxster has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch front wheels are standard on the 4C. The 718 Boxster’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch front wheels and 19-inch rear wheels optional on the 4C.

Suspension and Handling

The 718 Boxster offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The 4C’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The 718 Boxster has standard power steering to make quick and controllable low speed maneuvers easy. The 4C doesn’t offer power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the 718 Boxster’s wheelbase is 3.7 inches longer than on the 4C (97.4 inches vs. 93.7 inches).

The 718 Boxster’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (45.5% to 54.5%) than the 4C’s (41% to 59%). This gives the 718 Boxster more stable handling and braking.

For better maneuverability, the 718 Boxster’s turning circle is 4.4 feet tighter than the 4C’s (36.1 feet vs. 40.5 feet).

Passenger Space

The 718 Boxster has 1.3 inches more front headroom, .3 inches more front legroom and 1.7 inches more front shoulder room than the 4C.

Cargo Capacity

The 718 Boxster has a much larger trunk than the 4C Spider (9.7 vs. 3.7 cubic feet).

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the 718 Boxster’s available trunk can be opened just by holding your hand near the emblem on the trunk, leaving your hands completely free. The 4C doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

The 718 Boxster uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The 4C uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

The engine in the 718 Boxster is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the 4C. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.


When three different drivers share the 718 Boxster, the optional memory system makes it convenient for all three. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, steering wheel position, outside mirror angle and climate settings. The 4C doesn’t offer a memory system.

The 718 Boxster’s optional easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The 4C doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The 718 Boxster’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge – which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The 4C does not have an oil pressure gauge.

The 718 Boxster’s front power windows open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The 4C’s power windows’ switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.

The 718 Boxster’s standard power window controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The 4C’s available power window controls are spread out on the center console where they can’t be seen without the driver completely removing his eyes from the road.

Porsche Entry and Drive optional on the 718 Boxster allows you to unlock the driver’s door, trunk and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Alfa Romeo 4C doesn’t offer an advanced key system.

The 718 Boxster has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The 4C doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The 718 Boxster’s optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The 4C’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The 718 Boxster offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The 4C doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The 718 Boxster has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The 4C doesn’t offer automatic headlights.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the 718 Boxster detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The 4C doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the 718 Boxster offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The 4C doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The 718 Boxster’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The 4C’s power mirror controls are on the center console where they can’t be seen without the driver completely removing his eyes from the road.

When the 718 Boxster with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The 4C’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The 718 Boxster’s optional rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The 4C doesn’t offer the luxury of automatic dimming mirrors.

The 718 Boxster offers optional heated front seats, which keep the driver and front passenger extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated seats aren’t available in the 4C.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the 718 Boxster keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The 4C doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the 718 Boxster’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The 4C doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The 718 Boxster’s optional dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The 4C doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

The 718 Boxster’s optional automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The 4C doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

A built-in pollen filter with a charcoal activated canister removes pollen, exhaust fumes and other pollutants from the 718 Boxster’s passenger compartment. This helps prevent lung and/or sinus irritation, which can trigger allergies or asthma. The 4C doesn’t offer a filtration system.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the 718 Boxster PDK offers an optional Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The 4C doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

To help keep the driver’s hands on the wheel, the 718 Boxster offers optional steering wheel controls for the radio. The 4C doesn’t offer steering wheel audio controls.

Optional smartphone integration for the 718 Boxster allows the driver and passengers access to select programs on their smartphones, including playing internet radio stations, searching the internet and other connected activities without taking their eyes off the road or their hands from the wheel. The 4C doesn’t offer factory integrated smartphone program access.

To direct the driver from any location to a given street address with audible turn-by-turn directions, a GPS navigation system is available on the 718 Boxster. The 718 Boxster’s navigation system also has a real-time traffic update feature that offers alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The 4C doesn’t offer a navigation system.

With optional PCM Voice Control, the 718 Boxster offers the driver hands free control of the radio and the navigation computer by simply speaking. The 4C doesn’t offer a voice control system.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the 718 Boxster owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the 718 Boxster will cost $4350 less than the 4C over a five-year period.

The 718 Boxster will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the 718 Boxster will retain 56.74% of its original price after five years, while the 4C only retains 44.51%.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Porsche 718 Boxster will be $14510 less than for the Alfa Romeo 4C.


Consumer Reports® recommends the Porsche 718 Boxster, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Boxster was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 14 of the last 14 years. The 4C has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The Porsche Boxster outsold the Alfa Romeo 4C by almost 9 to one during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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