2020 Porsche 718 Boxster vs. 2020 BMW M4

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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Both the 718 Boxster and the M4 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes and blind spot warning systems.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Porsche vehicles are better in initial quality than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Porsche 15th in initial quality. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 20th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Porsche vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Porsche second in reliability, above the industry average. With 14 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 7th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Porsche vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Porsche fourth in reliability. BMW is ranked 17th.

Engine

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As tested in Motor Trend the 718 Boxster S is faster than the BMW M4 (base engine) (automatics tested):

718 Boxster

M4

Zero to 60 MPH

3.7 sec

4 sec

The flat cylinder configuration of the boxer engine in the 718 Boxster lowers its center of gravity, enhancing handling stability. The M4 doesn’t offer a boxer engine configuration.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the 718 Boxster gets better fuel mileage than the M4 Convertible:

MPG

718 Boxster

Manual

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/28 hwy

S 2.5 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/26 hwy

Auto

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

22 city/29 hwy

S 2.5 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/28 hwy

M4 Convertible

Manual

3.0 turbo 6-cyl.

17 city/25 hwy

Auto

3.0 turbo 6-cyl.

16 city/22 hwy

An engine control system that can shut down some of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the 718 Boxster Spyder’s fuel efficiency. The M4 doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

Regenerative brakes improve the 718 Boxster’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The M4 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

The 718 Boxster’s optional fuel tank has 1.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the M4 (16.9 vs. 15.8 gallons).

Transmission

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To facilitate fast shifting and allow the driver to focus on the road, the 718 Boxster has a standard up-shift light to indicate when to shift, based on a value pre-entered by the driver. The M4 doesn’t offer an up-shift light.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the 718 Spyder’s brake rotors are larger than those on the M4:

Spyder

Spyder opt.

M4

M4 opt.

Front Rotors

15 inches

16.1 inches

15 inches

15.7 inches

Rear Rotors

15 inches

15.4 inches

14.6 inches

15 inches

The 718 Boxster stops much shorter than the M4:

Boxster

M4

80 to 0 MPH

189 feet

193 feet

Road and Track

70 to 0 MPH

143 feet

151 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

98 feet

108 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

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For better maneuverability, the 718 Boxster’s turning circle is 3.9 feet tighter than the M4’s (36.1 feet vs. 40 feet). The 718 Spyder’s turning circle is 2.5 feet tighter than the M4’s (37.5 feet vs. 40 feet).

Chassis

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The Porsche 718 Boxster may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 700 to 950 pounds less than the BMW M4.

The 718 Boxster is 1 foot shorter than the M4, making the 718 Boxster easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the 718 Boxster GTS/Spyder has an electronically controlled liquid-filled front engine mount and conventional liquid-filled engine mounts (standard liquid front mount on other versions of the 718 Boxster). A computer-controlled electric current in the liquid changes its viscosity, allowing the mount to dampen the engine completely at all RPMs. The M4 uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

Cargo Capacity

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The 718 Boxster has a much larger trunk than the M4 Convertible with its top down (9.7 vs. 7.8 cubic feet).

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Porsche service is better than BMW. J.D. Power ranks Porsche first in service department satisfaction. With a 46% lower rating, BMW is ranked 11th.

Ergonomics

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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 M4 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 M4 has neither an oil pressure gauge nor a temperature gauge.

The 718 Boxster’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch. The M4 has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

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 M4 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

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 M4 doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the 718 Boxster owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the 718 Boxster will cost $7155 to $12150 less than the M4 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 57.09% to 60.51% of its original price after five years, while the M4 only retains 47.57% to 52.61%.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Porsche 718 Boxster will be $20093 to $35881 less than for the BMW M4.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/05/28

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 15 of the last 16 years. The 4 Series hasn’t been picked since 2014.

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

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