2008 Porsche Boxster
Convertibles take a lot of flak from enthusiasts. Typically when a performance car company announces a dedicated drop-top model, car nerds hit the forums across the Internet with a vengeance, pontificating on the effects of decreased structural rigidity and compromised dynamics. But from behind the wheel of the 2008 Porsche Boxster
, you could really care less what anyone has to say about it. After its successful debut in 1997, the Boxster lineup received a facelift back in 2005 and a supplemental power bump in 2007. Thanks to a centrally placed engine and low center of gravity – in part a tribute to the very first Porsche ever, the 356-001 – the Boxster’s handling dynamics are sublime, and its low weight design means that even the modestly powered 2.7-liter model accelerates with ease. The Boxster is an amazingly easy to live with convertible as well, as its mid-engine design leaves both front and rear compartments free for storage. Whether you judge it by its well-appointed interior or raw performance, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a convertible that beats the Boxster at its game.
What's to Like
The Boxster boasts solid, engaging dynamics and the Porsche experience is intensified with the top down, letting you enjoy that sweet flat-six howl.
What's Not to Like
Expensive, tempting options make buying a new Boxster an exercise in restraint. Standard Boxster models commonly get the Miata treatment of wrongfully being labeled “chick cars.”
DriverSide Driving Impressions
With its engine mounted amidships, the Boxster sports excellent handling dynamics, quickly changing direction without complaint at both high and low speeds. The steering is direct and well weighted, and once at the limit divers can easily steer the car with a stab of throttle here or a minor lift there. Porsche Stability Management gives drivers a lot of freedom and only cuts in at the last second; in fact we think it’s so good it’s one of the few systems we don’t deactivate upon climbing into the cockpit. With 245 horsepower, the standard model can leave you wanting more, which is where the 295 hp Boxster S comes in. With their superb balance of power and dynamics, the Boxster and Boxster S reward patient, smooth inputs and are relentlessly entertaining. Hands down, Porsche has built one of the best convertibles on the market.
Engine and Drivetrain
The standard Boxster houses a 2.7-liter horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine that produces 245 hp and 201 lb-ft of torque. The Boxster S is powered by a 3.4-liter H-6 that yields 295 hp and 252 lb-ft of torque. The rear wheels are driven via either a five-speed manual in the standard model or a six-speed manual in the Boxster S. A five-speed tiptronic auto is available as an option on either car, though it does slow acceleration.
Interesting Vehicle Features and Options
In typical Porsche fashion, the Boxster sports a host of performance features and upgrades. Variable steering comes standard, making low-speed maneuvers less of a strain. For the hardcore Boxster S owner, a Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake (PCCB) upgrade is available and blesses the Boxster with seriously powerful, fade-free stoppers. Porsche also offers its Active Suspension Management (PASM), which stiffens the suspension at the push of a button and uses various sensors to actively manage the dampers and eliminate unnecessary body roll.
Key Technology Evaluation
The Boxster’s folding soft-top lowers in less than 15 seconds, but what’s more impressive is that it’s able to do so at road speeds up to 40 mph, so you won’t have to worry about pulling over in traffic just to get the tonneau between you and the clouds. A Sport Chrono package can also be speced, which changes the engine throttle map into sport mode with the push of a button, and can also track lap times. Navigation also comes as an option, integrating a 5.8-inch digital screen into the dash.
Green Evaluation/Gas Mileage
While the Boxster and Boxster S possess class-leading sporting dynamics, they don’t eat through petrol like most performance cars. The standard 2.7-liter ULEV model returns 20 mpg city and 29 mpg highway, while the 3.4-liter Boxster S nets 18 mpg city and 26 mpg highway, receiving an LEV-II emissions rating.
A Closer Look: Vehicle Details
The driver’s view in the Boxster is dominated by a 911
-esque three-dial setup, with a large central tachometer and smaller speedometer located to the left. The interior is comfortable and spacious given the car’s two-seat design, and can be ordered in a myriad of different colors and leather types.
Side on, the Boxster is especially attractive with its top down, with the front and rear ends being conjoined by a continuous, flowing line. S model Boxsters can be recognized by their additional central front vent, larger brakes and twin tail pipes.
Market Segment and Pricing
Pricing for the Boxster begins at a base MSRP of $45,800, though expensive options are likely to see the 2.7-liter models tipping the scales at over $50k. Boxster S pricing begins at $55,700 and again, is likely to rise into the $60k range quickly. This puts the Boxster up against the Mercedes-Benz SLK
lineup and Lotus Elise
, while the Boxster S competes with the BMW Z4 M Roadster
, Audi S4 Cabriolet
and BMW M3 Convertible
What We Think
The Porsche Boxster offers remarkable performance in a package that’s astonishingly easy to use on a daily basis. Those seeking thrills are highly advised to spring for the S model, as the extra power really brings the chassis alive. Let the performance nerds bark about its lack of Cayman chassis rigidity all they want, the fact is, this is a proper sports car. Besides, Formula 1 cars don’t have roofs either, right?
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