Drive – Porsche Boxster Review

29 Oct 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Drive – Porsche Boxster Review
Porsche Boxster

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Willing and silky engine

Brilliant dynamics

Slick gearbox

Practical body

Potent brakes

Simple roof operation


Missing the equipment of some rivals

Manual gearing could be shorter

Go shopping for a Porsche sports car and the Boxster is the most affordable on the market. The two-seater shares design cues with the legendary 911 but is its own beast, with a more traditional mid-engined layout rather than the rear-engine configuration that defines the 911.

Like the 911, the Boxster was recently updated with an all-new body, fresh interior and revised engines. Code-named 981, it’s the biggest change to the pure-bred sports car, which has previously won Drive’s Best Convertible category in our annual Car of the Year awards.

With this latest iteration the Boxster also looks more distinctive, with more-upright headlights, prominent lines flowing to the larger side air intakes and a more aggressive tail characterised by a wing that bleeds into the tail lights. #160;

Price and equipment

Gadgets and trinkets have never been high on Porsche’s list and it’s no different with the Boxster. There’s no smart-key entry, for example, while advanced technologies such as lane-departure or blind-spot warning aren’t even available as an option.


Affordability, too, is a relative term. The Boxster sells from $107,500 and you can spend many thousands more on extras.


The Boxster comes with the basics, including leather trim, a touchscreen with satellite-navigation, dual-zone climate-control airconditioning, rear parking sensors, Bluetooth and cruise control.


There’s also a separate, circular colour screen to the right of the instrument cluster allowing things such as the satnav or phone settings to be displayed independently.


Safety comes courtesy of pop-up roll bars, stability control and six airbags (front and two on each side for full side protection).


The more powerful, better-equipped S costs $133,300.

Under the bonnet

With the new car comes a new engine that’s dropped in capacity from 2.9 to 2.7 litres. Peak power for the Boxster has risen 7kW, though, to 195kW. It’s brisk without being potent. Low-rev performance is only adequate, but the excitement builds as revs rise.

There’s a crispness to the power delivery across its broad rev range and just when most people will be ready to change gears it’ll happily shriek towards its 7800rpm cut-out.


And with the engine sitting just behind the occupants there’s greater access to the distinctive six-cylinder snarl that is never invasive but always there as a reminder you’re driving something special.


But in toying around with lower gears one wonders if shorter gearing may better suit the base Boxster. Second gear is good for about 120km/h and the car feels as though slightly shorter gearing could help with improving punch and allowing the car to be revved out legally in more than just first gear.


It may not be helped by a slight reduction in peak torque, from 290Nm to 280Nm. It’s largely offset by a slight weight reduction of 25 kilograms (the Boxster S is up to 35 kilograms lighter) thanks to a body that’s now 46 per cent aluminium. There are only six gears to play with (the new 911 gets a seven-speed manual) but it’s a beautifully crisp, driver-friendly gearbox that makes for precise shifts and accuracy.

Those wanting an auto can pay another $5300 for the seven-speed twin-clutch auto. The so-called PDK transmission also makes for smarter acceleration; use the optional launch control system and it can get from 0 to 100km/h in as little as 5.5 seconds, whereas the manual is claimed to hit the same benchmark in 5.8 seconds.

How it drives

Boxsters have always loved corners and it’s no different with the 981. New electric steering is beautifully weighted and constantly informs the driver of what’s going on at road level. That’s indicative of the Boxster generally, with a tactility that makes it an extremely engaging drive.


Grip from the Pirelli tyres is superb and the Boxster is beautifully balanced in bends, sitting flat and responding quickly to inputs from the driver. But the Boxster doesn’t need to be driven like a race car to be enjoyed. It’s also happy doing more mundane driving tasks and copes well with suburban imperfections and challenges.

One of its highlights is its ability to cope with bumps, expertly settling and preparing for whatever comes next.

Comfort and practicality

As a strict two-seater the Boxster does a good job of pampering its occupants with decent headroom and legroom. Seats are comfortable and impressively supportive and the cabin is noticeably more upmarket than any Boxster before it, with elegant metallic finishes and softer, more tactile plastics.


Storage isn’t exactly generous inside, though. There’s a small compartment for some coins and a shallow, covered centre console as well as flip-out pockets in each of the doors. But once you’ve thrown a phone, wallet and other odds and ends in there you’re down to the glovebox for the rest.


Fortunately luggage storage is far more forthcoming and great for a sports car. As well as a small boot at the back there’s a deeper hole under the bonnet.


Removing the roof is done with the press of a button; it no longer has a separate, manually operated handle. It takes just nine seconds and can be operated up to 50km/h. An automatic wind deflector keeps unwanted buffeting out of the cabin.

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