Porsche has spent years working on their 911, but while that might be their ultimate sports car, the Boxster is one of their best sellers. It was first seen as a disgrace to the Porsche name, as it was smaller and not as powerful, but once the Cayenne came along, all was forgiven.
The first ever Boxster was introduced in late 1996 as a 1997 model and a 2.5-liter flat six-cylinder engine powered it. Three years later, the new Boxster S variant was introduced with a larger 3.2-liter motor, while the base model received a more powerful 2.7-liter engine.
More changes came in 2003, 2005, and then again in 2007, when the Boxster got some of the stuff from the baby 911, called the Cayman. In 2009, the Boxster models received several new cosmetic and mechanical upgrades that upped the power and performance.
The changes kept coming and the Boxster kept taking them all in. Now the Boxster has been updated one more time and is looking better than ever.
UPDATE 03/14/2012: The Boxster S model lapped the Nurburgring race track in an impressive 7:58 - or about 18 seconds shy of the new, more powerful Porsche 911 which scored an heart-racing time of 7:40.
This speedy lap time means the Boxster S is faster than models like the Corvette C6 (7:59), the Viper SRT-10 (7:59), and the C63 AMG Coupe (8:01) - which are far more powerful than the tiny Boxster. This result also makes the new generation better than the model it replaces which had a lap time of 8:10.
UPDATE 06/08/2012: Porsche has found a very interesting way to promote the new generation Boxster: the company displayed the 2013 Boxster S and some members of its iconic lineage - the 550 Spyder and the Carrera GT - at Grand Central Terminal. Check out the video by clicking in the image above!
Hit the jump to read more on the Porsche Boxster.
Porsche isn’t the best when it comes to designing things. One look at the first generation Cayenne and that becomes perfectly clear. There are more examples as well, as the 911 has been updated every few years, but not much ever changes visually. While Ferrari are the Versace of style, Porsche is the Kmart brand.
Although the new Boxster might look like the current model at first sight, when you look really hard you can see that every panel is all new. The front of the vehicle was inspired by the Porsche race cars of the 1970s and features a completely new lightweight body and a completely revamped chassis. It also gets large, imposing air intakes, a long wheelbase, and a low, raked windshield. Elements like the distinctive wings and the side air intakes were inspired by the 718 RS 60 Spyder. For the back of the Boxster, Porsche added a rear wing that is only visual when the car hits a top speed of 75 mph.
The new Porsche Boxster will be offered with a fully electric convertible top that opens and closes in about 9 seconds and is operable at speeds up to 31 mph.
While the exterior was updated to deliver better performance, the interior "is purposefully designed as a declaration of independence." It was updated with a 3-spoke sports steering wheel and three circular dashboard instruments. The information on the on-board computer, communication, audio settings, and the navigation system are now displayed on a high-resolution 4.6-inch TFT color screen. It also received standard sport seats which were designed to be comfortable and provide excellent support even during performance driving.
Both models, the Boxster and Boxster S, are powered by a flat-six engine with direct petrol injection. In the base version the engine has a displacement of 2.7 liters and delivers a total of 265 HP, while the S version gets a 3.4 liter version with 315 HP. Both versions can be combined with either a manual six-speed gearbox as standard or a seven-speed Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) available as an option.
When equipped with the manual gearbox, the Boxster will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.5 seconds and up to a top speed of 164 mph. With the PDK transmission, the model will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds and up to a top speed of 162 mph. The Boxster S will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds and will hit a top speed of 173 mph when equipped with a manual gearbox and can make the sprint in 4.7 seconds with a top speed of 172 mph when equipped with a PDK transmission. The Porsche Boxster’s fuel consumption with PDK is 7.7 l/100 km and 8.0 l/100 km for the Boxster S.
The new Boxster will go on sale at a starting price of $49,500 and the S version can be had for a starting price of $60,900.
The obvious competition for the Boxster are the other German sports roadsters, like the BMW Z4, the Audi TT, and the Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class. Nissan’s 370Z might also be in the same conversation.
The SLK features a hard-top folding roof, so weight will be a bigger issue for the Mercedes. Being a couple years away from launch, the information of the next SLK is still fairly scarce. Most sources suggest the current lineup of engines will carryover to the next SLK. That means that the base motor will be a six-cylinder with about 230 horsepower, while the upper model will get a 300 horsepower 3.5L V6.
BMW isn’t planning on any major updates for the Z4, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be competitive. The Z4 has a smooth motor, wonderful handling, great looks, and top notch build quality. Like the SLK, it has a retractable hard-top. There are three models to choose from; sDrive30i, sDrive35i, and sDrive35is.
The Audi, like the Z4, doesn’t have any major changes coming its way. The car is available with a four- or six-cylinder engine. The entry-level turbocharged inline-four motor delivers 200 horsepower, while the larger V6 mill serves up 250 horsepower. There is also a TT-S and a TT-RS. The RS is powered by a direct injected and turbocharged 2.5 Liter five cylinder engine that makes 335 HP. For the TT-S, the standard 2.0 TFSI power plant has been upgraded to produce 265 HP and 260 lb-ft of torque We like the look of the TT the best out of the other four, though we will have to wait and see how it compares stylistically to the 2012 Boxster.
Finally, Nissan offers up something a little less German. Although Nissan might not have the same high-end badge as the other two, it drives around the track with just as much authority. That being said, the 370Z is a little harder on the road. The 370Z has a V6 displacing 3.7-liters and delivering 332 horsepower and 26 mpg on the highway.
Overall, the competition is fierce, but not much compared to the Boxster’s overall handling and performance. As an everyday vehicle, the Porsche is just wonderful.
Chris Harris drives the Porsche Boxster S
Completely new lightweight body and a completely revamped chassis