Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 16:53 EDT

Porsche Boxster Tops Mercedes-Benz SLK, Audi TT and BMW Z4 In Consumer Reports Tests

April 24, 2013

YONKERS, N.Y., April 24, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Consumer Reports tests find the Porsche Boxster tops a quartet of convertible two-seat sports cars that blend a fun-to-drive character, plenty of performance, lots of features, and striking style.

In its latest tests of the Porsche Boxster, Mercedes-Benz SLK, Audi TT, and BMW Z4, Consumer Reports engineers found each model scores well, but the redesigned Boxster easily comes out ahead scoring eight points higher than the SLK–which had the next highest test score.

The mid-engine Boxster delivers the purest sports-car experience of the four roadsters CR tested. CR’s engineers found it to be quick and agile, with an invigorating engine note. Braking is superb. Turn-in response is telepathic, and the body stays even-keel. All of that makes it truly fun to drive. The Boxster also has an impeccable interior, a tolerable ride, and a convertible top that operates with the press of a button and can be quickly raised or lowered while driving up to 31 mph. Thanks to a wind blocker, wind buffeting is minimal with the top down.

“The Boxster might not feel as brawny as a Corvette from a standstill, but acceleration builds quickly, and it’s smooth,” said Jake Fisher, director, Consumer Reports Auto Test Center.

The full report and road test results for all four roadsters are available at ConsumerReports.org on April 24(th) and in the June issue of Consumer Reports on newsstands May 7. Updated daily, ConsumerReports.org is the go-to Website for the latest auto reviews, product news, blogs on breaking news and car buying information. Check out CR’s ongoing Twitter feed at @CRCars.

Helped by its retractable hard-top, Consumer Reports found the SLK was the most luxurious of the four cars and the best for a long cruise. With the top up, it provides the enclosed quiet and comfort of a sports coupe. But the top can be folded away with the press of a button. The SLK also shines for its sporty character. Handling is crisp and agile, with good steering feedback. At its handling limits, the stability control allows some tail slide, but the car is balanced and predictable. The ride is firm yet supple. And stopping distances are very short. The 1.8-liter turbocharged engine in the SLK250 can sound a bit wheezy, but it delivers plenty of thrust while getting an impressive 26 mpg overall.

Consumer Reports engineers found the TT convertible is not only a nimble, fun-to-drive roadster but also one of the few convertibles available with all-wheel drive. Handling is sporty but less engaging than the Boxster’s or SLK’s. Stops are very short, but the stiff ride can be somewhat taxing. A lot of noise comes through the soft top. At its high handling limits, the TT showed tenacious cornering grip. The TT is relatively roomy inside and has a nicely finished cabin with stylish details.

Consumer Reports also found the Z4 performs well, accelerating faster than many competitors. It garners better fuel economy than the Boxster, SLK and TT– an impressive 28 mpg overall from its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The retractable hard-top operates slowly but keeps the cabin relatively quiet. CR’s engineers found the Z4 isn’t as fun to drive as the others. Braking is excellent, and handling is secure, but more body lean and a penchant for running wide when pushed makes it less engaging. The taut ride often becomes jarring. And the diesel-like clatter of the idling engine is not the purr that enthusiasts crave. The interior is well finished, with firmly padded and supportive but very snug seats.

Consumer Reports is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website and other publications. Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.

APRIL 2013
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