2008 Porsche Boxster Review
THE AUTO PAGE
Model: Porsche Boxster
Engine: 2.7-liter horizontally opposed 6
Horsepower/Torque: 245 hp/201 lb.-ft.
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Length x Width x Height: 171.6 x 70.9 x 51.6 in.
Tires: 205/55ZR17 (F)/235/50ZR17 (R)
Cargo volume: 9.5 cu. ft.
Economy: 20 mpg city/23.3 mpg highway/23.3 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 16.9 gal.
Price: $$51,415 (includes $860 destination charge and $4,515 in options)
The Bottom Line: If you've been dreaming of a Porsche and can't afford $122,900 for a 911 AWD Carrera Turbo, you won't be disappointed by the Boxster.
The mid-engined Boxster offers more-then-adequate performance, excellent handling, comfort (if you're agile) and all the cache the Porsche name carries.
Despite its relatively reasonable price, this is no watered-down Porsche. General Motors vice president of design Ed Welburn once told me that the critical differences in vehicle design are the details. He specifically mentioned small storage drawers that are conveniently located and unique cupholder strategies.
Well, the Porsche Boxster is rife with detail charm. When you first get in the car "no mean feat when you're chronologically challenged"; the first thing you notice is the yellow seatbelts. They match, as best as possible, the outside color of the car, which is called "Speed Yellow." A nice thing about the color is that it makes the Boxster more visible to other cars. It also makes it more visible to police.
I was exiting a local restaurant when two policemen who were standing by commented on the Boxster. "You should try our Explorer [cruiser]," they said. I answered, "I could probably go faster in the Explorer than in the Porsche," and they agreed.
The next detail is a negative one; the left-hand mounted ignition switch. Out of habit, I always have the keys in my right hand when I get into a car. I therefore had to switch hands; every time, because I can't remember a simple task like which side the key is located. Granted this is a minor annoyance that an owner could quickly remember.
The next detail is the trunk, or trunks. The Boxster, because of its mid-engine location, has a trunk in the extreme rear that's good for one roll-on suitcase. There's also a front trunk that can handle flatter objects. If you need more trunk space, get an SUV.
My next detail involves the audio system (a $1,665 option) that was nearly impossible to figure out. I finally gave up and inserted one of my favorite CDs, which hasn't been used lately anyway.
Over and above all the details is the excellent performance of the Boxster. This is a Porsche in all aspects of the term. There's more than enough power, excellent handling, and surprising comfort. My experience with some sports cars is their relative discomfort, which is always mitigated by the performance. The Boxster's seats are deep enough for side support, yet flat enough to make entry and exit less of a problem.
The Boxster is a convertible and the mechanical top stows neatly behind the seats and above the mid-mounted engine. At least I'm told the engine is there. I never saw it. I understand that to service it you must drop it while the car is on lifts.
There's excellent foot room to operate the pedals, with an equal amount on the passenger side.
There's an excellent HVAC system that allowed for top-down motoring in chilly weather. We just fire dup the heater and were comfortable. It would be possible, I assume, to drive the Boxster in colder weather with this arrangement, and even adding blankets would be acceptable.
I loved the instrument panel. There's a large center-mounted tachometer with a digital speedometer inserted at the bottom. To the left is a smaller speedometer that's really unnecessary with the digital speedo right in front of you. On the right is a combination water temperature, fuel level, digital clock and outside temperature gauge.
It's frustrating that it's nearly impossible to truly exercise the Boxster to its full potential. There are always obstacles like police and speed limits to take away the fun. I did accelerate on one stretch to an illegal speed, but the color that makes the Boxster easy to spot also makes it easy to spot when sinning, so I behaved most of the time.
However, I did get a few chances to try to Boxster on winding roads, where its true brilliance shines.
© 2008 The Auto Page Syndicate