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Monday, May 6, 2013

Jaguar F-Type Vs. Porsche Boxster Or Porsche 911: Compare Cars

With their lean, two-seat layouts and classic-roadster shapes, the Porsche Boxster and Jaguar F-Type are two of the purest sports-car designs on the market—even though they take two very different design-and-engineering pathways to get there. Likewise, the Porsche 911 carries a classic sports-car nameplate, but it's become a little more of a grand-touring car over time. Which holds as the best overall?

The Boxster comes in two flavors, Boxster and Boxster S. With the Boxster, you get a 2.7-liter flat-six engine rated at 265 hp and a 0-60 mph time of just 5.5 seconds, while the 3.4-liter in the S is good for 315 horsepower and 4.8 seconds. The F-Type comes in three different flavors, each with forced induction. There's a supercharged V-8, as well as a pair of new supercharged V-6s--set apart by twin inboard exhausts, while the V-8 has quad exhausts, mounted outboard. At best, it's also 4.8 seconds to 60 mph, and top speeds range to 186 mph. Meanwhile, the latest Porsche 911 is offered in Carrera, Carrera S, and all-wheel-drive Carrera 4 variants, with the top C4S packing a 400-hp, 3.8-liter six and capable of getting to 60 in 4.3 seconds. Add options like the Sport Chrono package and Porsche Active Suspension Management and you have a grand-touring sports car with almost unassailable handling matched with top-notch road manners. Between the Boxster and the F-Type, however, the Boxster might be more of a dynamic champion as you push ever closer to its limit, so we give it a very slight edge—even though its steering in the latest versions can be a slight bit numb.

While the F-Type is a true sports car, by the book, it's hardly begging to be driven to its limit on the track; although it's balanced and responsive in all the right ways, it's to be better enjoyed on the road. On the other hand, the Porsches feel born and bred for track time, and with just some smart options or accessories—like an extra set of tires and wheels, perhaps—both the Boxster and the 911 can suffice as year-round transport as well as occasional track days.

Inside, between the Boxster and the F-Type, the Porsche is the one with a roomier interior. Although the F-Type's seats are great at holding you in place, it's quite snug and there's barely enough legroom; the Boxster is the pick for taller drivers, although we stepped up the F-Types Comfort and Quality score due to its astonishingly good cabin, with stitched leather and delicate-looking yet durable trims. The interior of the 911, on the other hand, can feel much like that of a luxury sedan at times (although there's barely a back seat of course); we'd recommend its sport seats for serious driving support.

From a safety standpoint, the F-Type has a better set of features than the Boxster, including blind-spot monitoring and reverse traffic detection, along with all the usual electronic aids. But if you step up to the 911 you can get a sophisticated front-end collision avoidance system, as well as adaptive cruise control.

In features, it's between the 911 and the F-Type, but we think the F-Type might have an edge. Its Meridian sound systems are noteworthy, although so is the 911's Burmester system with 821 watts and Air Motion Transformer tweeters. The Boxster is also well-equipped, with Bose surround sound on offer, but its connectivity and infotainment is a step behind.

Who's the winner? There isn't a clear one in this head-to-head, but if you go by our Overall Scores, the F-type edges ahead of the Boxster, with its opulent interior, an awesome feature seat, and yet an on-the-road driving experience that won't let you down.

10Stunningly formed, the 2014 Jaguar F-Type manages to evoke the past without kneeling before it. Read more10Still a tremendous value, the 2013 Porsche 911 range offers a great balance between dedicated sports car handling and daily practicality. Read more9Quick, agile, and glorious to hear, the 2014 Jaguar F-Type is a true sports car--but we could do with a bit more steering feel. Read more10Fast, composed, and simply fun-to-drive, the 2013 Porsche 911 sets the standard for the segment. Read more9The 2014 Jagaur F-Type's interior is beautifully made, but a tiny trunk limits weekend getaway luggage. Read more8Fantastic fit and finish, excellent materials, and ample features make the 2013 Porsche 911 a no-compromises sports car. Read more9No crash tests have been conducted, but the F-Type's rigid structure and standard safety equipment give us confidence. Read more8Without crash test scores, the 2013 Porsche 911 is something of an unknown quantity, but great handling and smart electronic safety systems should help keep drivers safe. Read more10Highly configurable, from nicely equipped to fully loaded, the 2014 Jaguar F-Type offers a balance for everyone. Read more9Even without any add-ons, the 2013 Porsche 911 is well equipped; pile on the extras, and you'd better keep a sharp eye on the price. Read more7EPA figures aren't yet in, but Jaguar's mileage estimates for the F-Type are on the upper end of the sports car spectrum. Read more7At up to 28 mpg highway, the 2013 Porsche 911 proves you don't have to give up any consideration for gas mileage to get good performance. Read moreFuel Economy - Combined City and HighwayGet daily e-mail updates Fresh, trusted car news and reviews delivered to your inbox every day.

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