Porsche Boxster

2016 Porsche Boxster

The mid-engine Porsche Boxster roadster, known to aficionados as the 981, is in the fourth year of its second generation. A third-generation Boxster called the 718 has been scheduled by Porsche to be introduced June 2016 for the 2017 model year. Until the 2017 model arrives, the 2016 Boxster will be available.

The Boxster was a hit right out of the box that was first opened nearly 20 years ago, not only for its mechanical virtues but for its value. Other Porsche models might be more spectacular, but their price tags are too. The Boxster has all the right Porsche stuff, in fact some would say the best Porsche stuff, because its so solid, handsome, simple, and trouble-free. There are no downsides to the Boxster. Its powerful yet easy to drive, and has a comfortable ride while delivering track-worthy handling. It succeeds by not trying to be spectacular.

For 2016, there are two basic Boxsters, plus the variants. The standard Boxster engine is a 2.7-liter flat six-cylinder making 265 horsepower and sending the car to 60 miles per hour in 5.2 seconds, up to a top speed of 164 mph. The Boxster S pokes that engine out to 3.4 liters and pumps it up to 315 horsepower, cuts the 0-60 time to 4.8 seconds, and raises the speed to 178 mph.

Then come the variants. The Boxster GTS adds 15 horsepower, along with some equipment thats optional on the Boxster S, plus its own front and rear fascia and interior.

For 2016, the Spyder is brought back by popular demand from super enthusiasts who hang out at track days. Its given a 3.8-liter engine making 375 horsepower, lowered one inch, and, to shed 66 pounds, stripped of all creature comforts such as air conditioning, insulation and a sound system, while using more lightweight materials like aluminum, magnesium, and polymer plastics. Total weight is 2899 pounds. More power and less weight drops the 0-60 time to 4.3 seconds and raises the top speed to 180 mph. It has a manual top, and when its down, the Spyder is easily identifiable by its aerodynamic fairing-like head supports that so wonderfully recall the Spyder of the 1950s and 60s.

The standard transmission in the Boxster is a 6-speed manual gearbox, but a twin-clutch 7-speed paddle-shifting automatic/manual is available. Its called PDK, or Porsche Doppelkupplung, and was developed for racing.

The PDK is an efficient transmission, enabling two more miles per gallon than the 6-speed manual. With the 2.7-liter engine and the PDK, the Boxster is EPA-rated at 22/32 mpg City/Highway, while the Boxster S with the 3.4-liter version brings 21/30 mpg. Even though the Spyder is the lightest, because it has the biggest engine, it gets the worst mileage at 18/24 mpg. But who cares? At the track you just fill it up when it runs dry, hand over the cash for high octane, and strap on your helmet.


2014 Porsche Boxster

Redesigned for 2013, Porsche Boxster featured a lightweight new body with fresh styling and a completely revamped chassis, which rode on a longer wheelbase and a wider track with larger wheels. Nothing has changed for 2014, except for some new body-color choices and some new options: The 2014 Boxster is available with adaptive cruise control, Burmester audio, and a Premium Plus package.

Two six-cylinder engines are available: a 2.7-liter for Boxster and a 3.4-liter liter for Boxster S. Each is more powerful, yet more fuel-efficient, than the engine it replaced due to adoption of direct fuel injection and other technologies.

How far things have come since the original Porsche Boxster made its debut 15 years ago. Back then, it was one of an assortment of new German roadsters, along with the Mercedes-Benz SLK and the BMW Z3, aiming to carve out a niche above that most affordable of 2-seaters, the Mazda Miata. That first-generation Porsche was fun to drive and arguably the most sporty and competent of the Teutonic trio, but there was a massive gap between the Boxster and the classic 911. Each successive generation of the Boxster has gotten better and better, both in terms of looks and performance. And thats clearly the case with the 2013 redesign.

This latest version is more mature than the pre-2013 version. The roadster is a significant achievement that took what had long been the entry to the Porsche franchise and moved it up several notches. While its by no means perfect, the current Boxster is good enough to give some Porsche aficionados reason to think twice before moving all the way up to the 911, at nearly twice the price.

The current Boxster is longer, slightly wider and a half-inch lower than pre-2013 models. It makes extensive use of lightweight materials, including magnesium and aluminum, which results in both a lower overall mass and a better center of gravity.

The 2.7-liter six-cylinder in the Boxster delivers 265 horsepower and ekes out an EPA-estimated 22/32 mpg City/Highway with the 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox (20/30 mpg with manual shift). Auto start/stop is standard.

Boxster S features a 3.4-liter engine that produces 315 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. Boxster S cuts about a second off the standard Boxsters estimated 5.5-second 0-to-60 times. With dual-clutch, Boxster S gets an EPA-estimated 21/30 mpg.

The Porsche Boxster is handsome, competent and more fun to drive than the original. If we hadnt seen how far the German maker could go with the latest 911, we might have thought this was the marques flagship.


2013 Porsche Boxster

The 2013 Porsche Boxster features a lightweight new body with fresh styling and a completely revamped chassis that rides on a longer wheelbase and a wider track with larger wheels. Two six-cylinder engines are available, a 2.7-liter for the 2013 Boxster and a 3.4-liter liter for the 2013 Boxster S, each more powerful yet more fuel-efficient than the engine it replaces due to direct fuel injection and other technologies.

How far things have come since the original Porsche Boxster made its debut 15 years ago. Back then, it was one of an assortment of new German roadsters, along with the Mercedes-Benz SLK and the BMW Z3, aiming to carve out a niche above that most affordable of 2-seaters, the Mazda Miata. That first-generation Porsche was fun to drive and arguably the most sporty and competent of the Teutonic trio, but there was a massive gap between the Boxster and the classic 911. Each successive generation of the Boxster has gotten better and better, both in terms of looks and performance. And that's clearly the case with the 2013 redesign.

This latest version is more mature than the outgoing model. The new roadster is a significant achievement that takes what has long been the entry to the Porsche franchise and moves it up several notches. While it's by no means perfect, the new Boxster is good enough to give some Porsche aficionados reason to think twice before moving all the way up to the new 911, at nearly twice the price.

Like the seventh-generation Porsche 911, the new Boxster is longer, slightly wider and a half-inch lower than before. It makes extensive use of lightweight materials including magnesium and aluminum, which results in both a lower overall mass and a better center of gravity.

We were somewhat surprised when we first heard Porsche would downsize the base engine, which drops from 2.9 to just 2.7 liters. But that proved no reason to worry, the wizards of Stuttgart still managing to squeeze out 10 more horsepower than before, at 265 hp. Torque did slip, ever so slightly, but not enough to negatively impact performance, we quickly discovered.

Better yet, the 2013 Porsche Boxster winds up eking out a full 3 mpg increase in highway fuel economy: now rating an EPA-estimated 32 mpg Highway with the 7-speed dual clutch gearbox.

For those who want more performance, there's the new Boxster S which swaps for a bigger 3.4-liter package that takes power up to 315 hp, a 5-horsepower bump over the old Boxster S, while torque holds flat at 266 pound-feet. With the lighter mass and other improvements, the 2013 Boxster S cuts about a second off the standard Boxster's estimated 5.5 second 0 to 60 times.

If there are reasons to be disappointed they include the decision to make the optional manual gearbox a 6-speed, rather than offering the breakthrough 7-speed introduced with the all-new 2012 Porsche 911. The other gripe is with the new electro-hydraulic steering system. Okay, not a big gripe. It does pretty much everything you ask of it except deliver the sort of progressive build-up of resistance you might expect the faster and deeper you dive into a corner. That said, the steering feels slightly more precise than that on the 911, which a Porsche engineer explained was the benefit of launching the 2013 Boxster a half-year later.

But the bottom line for us is that the new 2013 Boxster is what we always knew Porsche was capable of. It's handsome, competent and as much fun to drive as the original. Okay, a lot more fun. If we hadn't seen how far the German maker could go with the latest 911 we might have thought this was the marque's flagship.



 

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