Porsche Boxster Review: first drive
Is the new Porsche Boxster the best sports car in the world today? It’s hard to think of anything for similar money, whether you choose the standard 265bhp 2.7-litre model or the harder hitting 3.4-litre S with 315bhp, that can get on terms with the Porsche in every way.
Take the performance, for starters. The 2.7-litre Boxster offers up 0-62mph in 5.8 seconds, or 5.7 if you opt for the seven-speed dual-clutch PDK gearbox over the standard six-speed manual transmission. Go for the S and it drops the 0-62mph time to 5.1 seconds for the manual and 5.0 seconds dead for the PDK.
Those are very quick times by any measure and top speeds anywhere from 164- to 173mph also mean the Boxster has the legs to go with the muscle. Look at the performance figures for an Audi TT RS, BMW Z4 or Mercedes SLK and they are on the pace, but the Porsche has so much more in its arsenal that its rivals struggle to see which way the Boxster went.
Prime among the Boxster’s weapons are its handling and new electrically assisted power steering. As you’d expect of a mid-engine Porsche, the Boxster handles with supreme delicacy, but the new longer wheelbase allows the suspension to be a little more softly sprung for added comfort and to let the tyres stay in perfect contact with the road. Compare this to the crude set-up of a TT RS and the Audi can be dismissed as a complete also-ran in this field.
Porsche’s new electric power steering has come in for some criticism on the 911 by those who think they know better but are simply struggling to find something to moan about. It’s always the way with new Porsches and in a year’s time the same whining voices will be praising it.
So, let’s not bother with those who want to grouse for the sake of it and state right from the start of this third generation Boxster: it’s steering is sublime. It’s the best feature about this car, and there are many fine things to love about the new Boxster.
The steering lets the driver place the car with unerring accuracy, feel how much grip is on offer and adjust the car to suit without upsetting its balance. Try this in some other mid-engined cars and you’ll be inspecting the scenery at speed. Porsche has managed the very clever trick of making the Boxster very forgiving yet pin sharp at the same time, and that is a balance few car makers ever achieve.
As for the brakes, engine noise and day-to-day driving practicality? It’s a Porsche Boxster, of course it does all of this far better than the competition. The same can be said of the comfortable, classy cabin that adopts Porsche’s latest Panamera-inspired centre console that works very well.
Roof up or down, the Boxster’s interior is comfortable and cosseting, helped when the roof is raised by a new, extra layer of Thinsulate to help reduce noise and improve heat retention in cold weather. With the roof up, the Boxster is now almost as quiet as a Cayman to make it even more appealing as an everyday performance car.
Using a Boxster every day is what most owners will do, and so they should. The starting prices of £37,589 for the 2.7-litre car and £45,384 for the S are very much on a par with direct rivals to the Porsche pair. The 2.7 Boxster offers 34.4mpg and 192g/km carbon dioxide emissions with the manual gearbox, improving to 36.7mpg and 180g/km with the PDK ’box. Economy of 32.1mpg for the manual S is decent, as are its 206g/km emissions. The PDK gearbox turns these figures to 35.3mpg and 188g/km in the S, which are impressive for a car of this potency.
However, the new Porsche Boxster is not a car about figures, it’s all about the driving experience. Using the highly accurate seat of our pants, we can tell you without a moment’s hesitation, the Porsche Boxster is absolutely the best sports car in the world right now.
Words: Alisdair Suttie
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