Skip to main content
what car should i buy?

We compare the Porsche Boxster, the Audi TT and the Mercedes-Benz SLC Roadster

I've never bought a new car in more than 30 years of driving and all my cars have been very practical. Now, I want to treat myself with an impractical two-seater. My husband has a BMW X5 as a company car, so I don't need space. I want a car I can love to drive and that will be reliable, and that I can give a name to. I like the looks of both the Porsche Boxster and the Audi TT – is one better than the other? Is there anything else you recommend? – Marie, Calgary

Richardson: I drove the 400-horsepower Audi TT RS recently and it's a marvelous sports car, but it's also close to $80,000. I don't think Marie is asking for something so brash and costly. What do you think of the base models?

Lightstone: If she is, the TT RS is a good option … but about those base models: Each has its own personality, but I'd lean more toward the base Audi TT and here's why: Not only does it come in cheaper than the Porsche 718 Boxster, I think the new exterior look is more sophisticated and the interior is more comfortable than the Porsche to live with on a daily basis. Bet you're shocked because it's got less horsepower, eh?

Audi TT.

Richardson: It's got a lot less horsepower, at just 220 compared with the Boxster's 300, but if this is Marie's first "statement" car, I think she's more concerned for driveability than blowing away Camaros at the lights. The two of them are pretty close on price, too.

Lightstone: It looks like Marie is thinking of the convertible TT, which is a bit more costly than the coupe. We're talking cars in the mid-sixties here. She's comparing it to the Boxster, which is the convertible version of the Porsche Cayman. And nothing makes a statement like a convertible, huh?

Richardson: True that. And with the top down, you feel like you're driving a lot more swiftly than you really are. Actual performance isn't so much of an issue.

Porsche Boxster.

Lightstone: Both the TT and the 718 Boxster are a couple of years into their current production run and it really comes down to sitting in them and making a personal choice. Is there a third choice you'd recommend, Mark?

Richardson: Well, the Benz, obviously.

Lightstone: Ah, yes, the SLC Roadster. It's got a little more oomph than the Audi with 240 horsepower (but still less than the Porsche) and it falls in just under the $60k mark starting price. But Marie said she wants to love to drive her new drop-top, not just be comfortable sitting in it, and I'm not sure the Merc will have enough personality for her.

Richardson: The best thing about the Benz is that it's a hard-top convertible, so it's just like a coupe in the winter, but open air in the summer. That's worth a lot in my books.

Mercedes-Benz SLC 300.

Lightstone: True, but Marie mentioned her hubby drives an X5, which I'm going to assume becomes the go-to winter ride, so hard or soft top seems like a moot point. Speaking of BMW, I'm going to throw out one more idea here, just because they're already in the family: the BMW M240i Cabriolet. She gets room for four (if needed), 340 horsepower, the driving dynamics and personality she's looking for – all under that $60k mark at $56,000 to start, and perhaps even a better deal since they already own a Bimmer.

Richardson: That's not really the two-seater roadster style Marie was going for with the TT and Boxster though.

Lightstone: So then, back to the original question: TT or 718 Boxster? It'll come down to her driving both, back to back, on the same day. She'll notice each one's personality immediately.

Richardson: Agreed – one isn't really better than the other, they're just different. But don't forget to take a drive in the Mercedes SLC, too.

What car should you buy? Write to Mark and Miranda at

Shopping for a new car? Check out the new Globe Drive Build and Price Tool to see the latest discounts, rebates and rates on new cars, trucks and SUVs. Click here to get your price.