By on October 9, 2006

newfront.jpgThe English say it’s horses for courses. The French say it’s horses for main courses. And the German say it’s horsepower uber alles Schätze. Well, everyone except Porsche. Since ’96, Stuttgart’s parsimonious power brokers have restricted their entry level Boxster’s engine so as not to steal big brother Carrera’s thunder. Porsche’s policy stands in direct contradiction to Mercedes and BMW, who happily pump-up the volume on vehicles that need more speed like an obese caffeine addict needs a bottle of Black Beauties. That’s just mean; the Boxster deserves proper motorvation. And now, finally, it’s got it.

Don’t ask me why Porsche suddenly decided to upgrade the Boxster S’ 3.2-liter powerplant with the Cayman S’s 3.4-liter 295hp short stroke flat six. Other than its sexy fastback and slightly stiffer chassis, the Cayman’s extra 15 horses and 15 ft.-lbs. of twist provided the primary justification for stumping-up the $6k differential between the ragtop roadster and its hard-topped twin. Now, why bother? Yes, the Boxster S’ roof generates wind roar at speed. Yes, its body flexes more in the corners (not that you’d notice in any absolute sense). But once you’ve joined the Boxster S club, you won’t spend a femtosecond wishing you’d bought the more expensive whippet snapper.

schnell.jpgYou will, however, wish you had more road. Unless you’ve got regular access to 50 miles of lightly trafficed, gently policed winding mountain tarmac, you’ll run out of corners long before you run out of desire to wind out the Boxster S’ silky sonorous six. Although there was nothing wrong with the way the “old” 987 carved-up the twisties, the incrementally more powerful Boxster S turns the speed-crazed sublime into the violently ridiculous. Porsche’s roadster is, finally, quick enough to scare you. Until it doesn’t. Which is even scarier. Until it isn’t.

The new model owes much of its aggressive nature to the Cayman’s borrowed gearbox. The shorter first and second gear ratios all but eliminate the Boxster S’ pre-Variocam lag, giving the German roadster Tyson-esque punch a moment after git-go. Second gear is especially useful; in the “instantaneous and abundant thrust” sense of the word. Third gear is relentless; in the ”you’ll be sleeping in that cell over there with Bubba” sense of the word. Equally important, you can now buy your S with 19” wheels. Unless you order Porsche’s pricey Active Stability Management, the resulting ride is as stiff as a triple Stoli straight up. And twice as intoxicating.

top.jpgIn dry conditions, the Boxster’s mid-engine balance, masterful suspension and fat rubber make it virtually impossible to break the rear end loose— leaving you free to explore cornering limits enjoyed by drivers of stratospherically-priced cars prepared by Maranello’s satanic mechanics. If and when you over-cook it, Porsche Active Stability Management steps in and saves your bacon. Switch off the handling Nanny and overwhelming rear grip is still less likely than securing a Manhattan cab in a 3am snowstorm. Drift kings need not apply, but the new Boxster S [still] isn’t about tire smoking machismo. It’s about tripping the light fantastic.

In fact, the Boxster S’ competition better hope that the old saw about a car only being as good as its brakes is wrong. As improbable as it sounds, the new S’ brakes are even better fear reducers than the previous binders. Porsche drivers familiar with the company’s curious clutch engagement now face acclimatization to the Boxster’s initially touchy brakes. It’s worth it; once mastered, the four-piston aluminum monobloc anchors (with new vacuum brake boosters) provide infinitely variable, endlessly reliable retardation.

side.jpgAnd one more thing: once the revs crest three grand, the Boxster S’ raspy engine note hardens into something not entirely unlike a jet turbine. It’s nowhere near as addictive as the old BMW M5’s burble and roar, but then an unquenchable penchant for Chateau Margaux is less compelling than a crack cocaine habit (if equally pricey). Now that the M’s V10 sounds like a diesel delivery van/F1 racer, there’s only one thing better than an allegro concerto con Boxster S: a Boxster S fitted with a MAXFLOW exhaust. Even without the decibel enhancing (kill the spare cat) mods, if you like sex and violins, the Boxster S is your car.

Now more than ever, the higher horsed Boxster S is a more entertaining machine than the 911. Porsche’s $50k and [WAY] up convertible roadster is simply a more willing and nimble dance partner than the company’s ass-engined slot car. The new engine makes the Boxster S (and its Cayman cousin) only marginally slower than a base Carrera, so the 911′s diddy rear seats and snob value are its only advantage. Put another way, there’s no good reason not to buy a Boxster S (kids when you’re caning?) and use the difference to reduce your monthly nut.

It’s a shame that it’s taken Stuttgart a decade to fit their mid-engined marvel with an engine capable of living up to its phenomenal chassis, remarkable suspension, peerless steering and world class brakes. Oh, and for the record, it’s still not enough. I’ve driven a 400hp Cayman. In any language, that car is the very definition of horsing around. Boxster brokers: you’ve broken the barrier. Now bring it on.

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70 Comments on “Porsche Boxster S Review...”


  • avatar
    jerry weber

    Porsche is amazing, just when critics say they are losing it they come up with performance and style to go another round. The porsche to me is the quintessinal sports car, it is proportioned correctly. Not to large for road racing ala the corvette and a neo-boat tail rear end not like the billboard rear of the modern corvettes. If all around driving fun is what you want and timeless styling, this independent builder does it best. As for price, corvette by going upmarket has lost it’s lure of bang for the bucks. Price for price, wouldn’t most people take a porsche over a vette?

  • avatar
    phil

    corvette gone upmarket? when did i miss that? a few options will take a boxster S up to Z06 territory (money wise) so in my opinion the vette is still clearly the bang for bucks champ. I personally prefer the porsche, but i would choose a 911 simply because of its looks. the boxster, to my eyes, is an ugly machine.

  • avatar

    If you like sturm und drang and you’re not a badge snob, the ‘Vette’s the way to go. It’s cheaper, faster and sounds like a proper V8. These days, it even handles well.

    Where the Boxster S scores is build quality, interior quality, chassis solidity, flickability and composure over rough surfaces (extremely important for 9/10ths driving).

    It’s the difference between a sledgehammer and a scalpel.

  • avatar
    BigChiefMuffin

    The question still begs “Who in their right mind is going to pay the premium for the Cayman !!!”. Once the novelty value wares off ie You buy it simply because no one else has one, it just makes no sense whatsoever.

    That’s why people say Porshe are loosing it. They are becoming like Lotus or TVR, launching more and more variations on the same theme, chasing ever smaller niches…

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    My Corvette loves advertising its billboard ass to Porsches on the local road courses. Calling it a sledgehammer is entirely accurate in the performance sense, but that implies a total lack of precision, which is false.

    Not to mention the fact that the Vette can cruise in comfort with nav, heated seats, heads up display, available magnetic select ride, tire pressure sensors, and XM radio while getting MPG’s in the upper twenties to low thirties depending on the model….it’s FAR more than a sledgehammer. I think that title is more apt on the Viper.

    As far as interior quality goes…unless you pony up for all the leather bits, the basic Boxster dash is really in the same league as the Vette, while lacking things like the heads up display and tire pressure sensors that are in virtually all Corvettes since 1997.

    If only the Z06 was available with the F55 magnetic select ride its lesser stablemates have enjoyed for the past 5 model years….its rough road composure and comfort would match the world class smooth road performance it already possesses.

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    RF’s mentioning the Boxter’s astounding rear grip means one thing: it still doesn’t have enough power. Not having the 3.6 in the Boxster is a tragedy. Not having RUF-levels of power in every Porsche is another problem. They are becoming uncompetitive.

    I’m willing to sacrifice the more inviting interior for the Corvette’s monster powerband (even though I shouldn’t have to) and, after ditching the lousy run-flat tires, show ‘em those four taillights all day.

    Miatas are great low-po autocross specials…Porsche needs to pony up the goods and make something more worthy of its price. Its only a matter of time before the new boosted I-6 finds its way into the Z4.

  • avatar
    biturbo

    Jerry Weber wrote: “Not to large for road racing ala the corvette”.
    I just finished my car craze hunt and got the Z06 over Porsche. Very happy! Porsche need to work their prices!

    The Z06 is 10 cm longer and 12 cm wider than the Boxster. In my books having 6 cm (2.5 inches) on each side is a bonus (stability, interior space, etc)

    I suggest you this exercise: just sit near the “4 missile silos at the back” (Tiff Niedell, 5th Gear, ex LeMans driver) when the Z06 engine starts.
    But don’t try to hear the Z06 engine after the Pierburg exhaust valves open (3500rpm) because you’ll be too far back in your Boxster to hear it properly :-)

  • avatar

    Whoa, ease up their a bit Vette fans. Your champion may be mentally quick, but the Boxster S ain’t no slouch. She’ll sprint from zero to sixty in 5.4 seconds (a tenth of a second better than previous) on the way to a surprisingly stable 170mph.

    As for taillights, don’t forget that the Boxster S is faster through Car & Driver’s slalom than a Ferrari Enzo. That 400hp Cayman would destroy the Vette in most any metric you could name.

    But more than that, it’s not a white knuckle ride. Calling the Vette a sledgehammer may have been a bit OTT, but compared to the Boxster, it is. Like all Porsches (save the Carerra GT and GT3), an average driver can drive the Boxster S like Hell without once killling themselves. Or breaking a sweat.

    And lest we forget, as our Frank Williams pointed out, Vette ownership puts you into your local Chevy dealers’ domain, which is a bit like Hell without the heat.

    Oh, and the S comes with tire pressure monitors now. Anyway, either car is a hoot.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Hmmm….0-60 in 5.4 sec….that Boxster might actually have a chance of keeping up with a 1992 LT1 Corvette. Not bad! ;-)

    I am well aware of the fact that a true sports car experience is not about the numbers….but let’s face it…when a Boxster is SO far behind in the objective performance arena, that matters! A lot!

    (this coming from an average driver that has yet to die behind the wheel of a Vette, even those in the pre active handling era)

    I really wonder if you’ve had the pleasure of open tracking a Corvette, RF….especially a Z06. Sure that last 10/10th of performance may take a true expert to extract on the ragged edge, but at anything less than that, the car is a missile, and a precise one, at that.

    Its limits are much higher than the Boxster, as are the rewards to the driver capable of exploiting them….but at 7/10ths…the Vette is unflappable, even for the newbie, esp with the active handling in competition mode.

  • avatar
    biturbo

    Robert, I value the Boxster S and even more the Cayman S for what they are worth. But they are no match for the Z06.

    As for the 400 HP Cayman just check your prices and also save the ‘destroy’ part for some qualified car publication that will use the same good driver and conditions for both cars.

    Any comparison should consider the price first, as we still live in a material world. The no options RUF Cayman is way more expensive than the Z06. And don’t start with other mods because it is an uphill battle, Z06 has lots of potential.

    Let’s be honest…

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    Robert, I value the Boxster S and even more the Cayman S for what they are worth. But they are no match for the Z06.

    Are they even a match for the regular C6 coupe? Seriously, that’s a real question.

    And don’t start with other mods because it is an uphill battle, Z06 has lots of potential.

    I spent a weekend driving RUF Porsches and a Lingenfelter Z06 thanks to RF’s connections (reviews showed up this summer) and let’s be clear on one thing…Porsche fans don’t wanna go down the “mod” road.

    RUF supercharged Carreras feel on par with a stock Z06 but with more precise turn-in and better seats, and the Lingenfelter’s only competition is a Carrera GT or Enzo.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    If we’re gonna open Pandora’s box of modded cars, the RUF Cayman will still have its hands full with a bone stock Z06, and one with just a cam and headers like mine ran a gently driven 11.35 sec at 130 mph on stock runflats, and I got ejected for running too fast without a roll cage. A decent set of tires and a but more practice, and the Z is a 10 second car.

    If we’re talking touchy-feely stuff here….well, the Boxster may have that in spades. But the Z06 has an engine with more than double the displacement and a world class chassis to match…so let’s leave objective performance out of the equation, please. It takes a 997 turbo to get in the Z06′s league.

  • avatar
    jerry weber

    Since when do we make sports car enthusiasm synonymous with drag racing? Isn’t this to be an overall experience of joy on all types of roads but partiuclarly the back twisties? When I owned my last corvette (a95 convert) it was particularly ill suited for two lane switch backs, here a miata would have been more of a joy. When have you seen corvettes dragging porsches on the street latetly? Notl where I live. Both the porsches and corvettes spend most of their time on normal highways at normal speeds. If you want to talk classic proportions, size, power, all around fun the porsche can not be dethroned by a drag racing vette.

  • avatar

    When it comes to refinement, the Vette can’t touch a Porsche. I have this odd habit of collecting used valves. Porsche valves are smooth and very beautifully shaped and proportioned. I actually made what is probably the world’s only menorah made out of valves, using Porsche valves. (You can see it on my website, motorlegends.com.) Vette valves are not worthy of any sort of display.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Jerry,

    Robert brought up the issue of 0-60 times and the opinion that a 400 HP tuner Cayman can “destroy” a Corvette. I simply responded to this. Also, please don’t let the C4 Corvette you had taint your view…that’s like basing opinions of modern porsches on a turbo laggy ’87 911 slantnose.

    But yes, many of us knuckle dragging cretins enjoy having a car unabashedly leap forward under acceleration, esp when we are paying $60k plus…we want to be able to outrun a new Mazdaspeed 3.

    David,

    Have you seen the Z06′s inlet valves? They’re titanium. That’s gotta be worthy of something, no?

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    We shouldn’t have gone down the drag racing discussion, the C6 Vette is too balanced a package for that. Not to mention unexpected virtures like ample storage and insanely good fuel economy with that much power.

  • avatar
    dreamtech

    The BOTTOM LINE IS: STOP comparing the Boxsters to Corvettes. They are two completely different types of sports cars, meant for different types of buyers.

    If you are a buyer that wants rocket type acceleration, classic american V8 brute engine feel, and all the gadets and amenities for a value price…. the Corvette is your answer. But just remember that every time you get into the Corvette you will be reminded how cheap and unrefined the car is. Its interior is of extremely low quality. A Honda Accord has a nicer & higher quality interior.

    If you are Porsche`s target buyer, the `sophisticated` buyer that enjoys overall refinement and can appreciate all the subltle nuances of delicious handling, fantastic body design, and the amazing sound of a boxer engine sitting just behind you , then the Porsche offers the `no substitute choice`. Although this no substitute car can be a bit pricey, most everything that good, is pricey.

    Sometimes Less is More. McDonalds got rid of SuperSizing.

    The new Boxster is an exceptional car and I really enjoyed this review.

  • avatar

    Unless you’ve got regular access to 50 miles of lightly trafficed, gently policed winding mountain tarmac, you’ll run out of corners long before you run out of desire to wind out the Boxster S’ silky sonorous six.

    Actually, I do have that road, in fact… several of them. ;)

    Porsche makes awesome cars, and this is certainly one of them. However, Porsche drivers are such colossal wankers that I hesitate to be associated with them by buying one. So many 911 buyers are a pain to listen to… “the Boxter is a “chick car”, “not a real Porsche”, blah, blah, blah. Perhaps they should pull a 914 and badge it as a VW (or Audi) so these 911 snobs would just STFU already.

    I have to congratulate Stuttgart for finally pulling the limiters off the Boxster though…. if only a little. That car is a world-beater, and a roadster to boot!

    –chuck

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    However, Porsche drivers are such colossal wankers that I hesitate to be associated with them by buying one.

    LOL, but that’s true of most every sporting car fan club out there. Sad, but true.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Boxster handles better than a Vette

    Vette goes faster than a Boxster

    I’ve spend time with both on the track.

    The Z06 could stomp them both and tear the guts out of a 400hp Caymen, however, no one posting here has the skills needed to get a Z06 around a track anywhere near 10/10s, let alone 9 or 8.

  • avatar
    biturbo

    I won’t comment here on the performance of the Z06, too me it’s obvious.

    But just to let you know I like the Z06 interior, I love all the noises I can hear in the cabin and I would never give up this kind of performance car for any of those expensive roundy cute-mobiles.
    Don’t get me wrong, I still like Porsches, it’s just that the real good ones are way too expensive.
    Don’t even think of comparing maintenance and spare parts prices.
    Get a Lexus if you want refined (and mighty boring). Get a Radical or Atom if you want a track day car.
    Get a C6 Z06 if you want a daily driver that will never shame you on the track and be reasonably priced. Of course those tons of money can bring refinement to the cute-mobiles, but I just won’t go that way.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    I agree that the Boxster is exactly the right car for its market…it just so happens that market doesn’t include me, Sajeev, or biturbo.

    Let’s all give the Corvette comparos a rest….I blame it all on Jerry Weber for mentioning the “C” word in the first post. ;-)

  • avatar

    What is the deal with those ugly wheels?

    Are they the stock rims or the nineteen’s?

  • avatar
    phil

    this string was worth it if for only the “round cutemobiles” moniker. I’m pulling the valves on my M3 this afternoon; if they’re ugly the car’s headed for ebay ;o))

  • avatar

    this string was worth it if for only the “round cutemobiles” moniker. I’m pulling the valves on my M3 this afternoon; if they’re ugly the car’s headed for ebay ;o))

    I’ve seen valves off of BMWs, although probably not from an M3. They are also not nearly as nice as the Porsche valves, but a bit better than the Corvette valves.

    Re the Vette valves, I don’t think they were off a Z06, but can’t put my hands on them right now.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    David,

    Only the 2006-07 Z06 have the Ti valves, so you probably haven’t seen them yet. What exactly makes the P-car valves “nice”? They are certainly much smaller than an OHV V8′s, but aside from flow numbers and materials used…I’ve never given any thought to valvular aesthetics. Interesting.

  • avatar
    Bubba Gump

    Not that it matters, and I’m certainly not comparing the two because their two totally different classes of cars. But I want to answer the boxter HP thing with a retorical question. Could it be that the boxter recently got its ass handed to it on a race track by a lowly Pontiac Solstice GXP? That probably didn’t sit well in Stuttgart.

    By the way as an auto maker you really know you’ve made it when you can rate your engines like Rolls Royce. If you look at their data their engines are rated as Sufficient and More than Sufficient for the turbo V8 Bentley’s

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    the Boxster S is faster through Car & Driver’s slalom than a Ferrari Enzo.

    Yes, but can it do this:

    THE BUMP IN THE ROAD that ended Bo Stefan Eriksson’s fantastic ride is practically invisible. From 10 feet away, all you can see is the ragged edge of a tar-seamed crack in an otherwise smooth sheet of pavement. Only the location is impressive – a sweet stretch of straightaway on California’s Pacific Coast Highway near El Pescador state beach, just past the eucalyptus-shaded mansions of the Malibu hills. On that patch of broken asphalt, there’s barely enough lip to stub a toe. Of course, when you hit it at close to 200 miles per hour, as police say Eriksson did in the predawn light last February 21, while behind the wheel of a 660-horsepower Ferrari Enzo, consequences magnify.

    The Enzo has less than 6 inches of ground clearance, and at that speed, it took only a slight scrape under the front bumper to launch the vehicle. The airborne Ferrari landed in a skid that in a blink became a sidelong drift. Tires shredding, the car bounced over the shoulder onto a grassy slope wet with dew. All Eriksson could do was hold on as the slithering, swiveling Enzo again achieved liftoff, then slammed broadside into a wooden power pole.

    * * *

    WHEN LOS ANGELES COUNTY sheriff’s deputy David Huelsen arrived at the scene of the accident, he thought Eriksson must be the luckiest person alive. That the man was standing by the side of the road after a crash of such intensity was an astonishing testament to Ferrari craftsmanship. The cherry red Enzo had sheared in half on impact with the pole, its back end blasting apart like a roadside bomb. “Multiple pieces of what appeared to be a vehicle,” as Huelsen put it, were spread across the length of four football fields. The chaparral and creosote along the shoulder of the road were riddled with fragments of smoking auto parts, and the shattered power pole dangled from sagging wires like the stiffened corpse of a hanged man. The Enzo’s carbon-fiber passenger compartment, though, was perfectly intact, a protective womb of inflated airbags from which the 44-year-old Eriksson had emerged with nothing but a split lip.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Replying to The BOTTOM LINE IS: STOP comparing the Boxsters to Corvettes. They are two completely different types of sports cars, meant for different types of buyers.

    The problem is: TTAC (and many other car reviewers) would simply compare every 4dr (Camry, RDX….etc.) to the BMW 330 to show that they care about the elusive “handling”. In the case of a 2dr, everything would be compared to a Vette.

    P.S. TTAC just reviewed GS450h at 5.2s for 0-60. I guess some other metrics are needed to prove the worthiness of the Porsche.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Replying to WHEN LOS ANGELES COUNTY sheriff’s deputy David Huelsen arrived at the scene of the accident, he thought Eriksson must be the luckiest person alive. That the man was standing by the side of the road after a crash of such intensity was an astonishing testament to Ferrari craftsmanship. The cherry red Enzo had sheared in half on impact with the pole, its back end blasting apart like a roadside bomb. “Multiple pieces of what appeared to be a vehicle,” as Huelsen put it, were spread across the length of four football fields. The chaparral and creosote along the shoulder of the road were riddled with fragments of smoking auto parts, and the shattered power pole dangled from sagging wires like the stiffened corpse of a hanged man. The Enzo’s carbon-fiber passenger compartment, though, was perfectly intact, a protective womb of inflated airbags from which the 44-year-old Eriksson had emerged with nothing but a split lip.

    There was once a big news in China. A Honda Accord hit a concrete road divider and was cut into halves causing the deaths of 3 persons. The news was elaborated as Honda was in fierce competition with GM and VW. You know what, actually, the front row driver and passenger both were unscratched; only the back seat passengers died. My point is:

    1) Either the Accord is as safe as the Enzo, or
    2) It largely depends on luck (the point of collision) and has nothing to do with rigity, and
    3) Yeah, people do die driving Enzo, I read about one just a few months back

  • avatar

    >>Only the 2006-07 Z06 have the Ti valves, so you probably haven’t seen them yet.

    I haven’t.

    >>What exactly makes the P-car valves “nice”? They are certainly much smaller than an OHV V8’s, but aside from flow numbers and materials used…I’ve never given any thought to valvular aesthetics. Interesting.

    They are extremely smooth, with a deep lustre. There are subtleties about shape which I am not sure how to describe, but the word graceful applies to the nice ones, and does not apply to the others. Mercedes also have nice valves. All of the US car valves I’ve seen except the Vette valves are ugly. The Vette valves are not great, but they are not terrible. You can get a pretty good idea of what some of the Porsche valves look like from the menorah, by going to my website, motorlegends.com, clicking on online store, and scrolling all the way down.

  • avatar

    The Boxster S has Zen. Or creates Zen. Or is Zen. Or now and Zen, there’s a fool, such as I.

  • avatar
    designdingo

    I have a question for all you guys arguing over these incremental power increases: Where do you drive these things? I mean, where are you able to indulge in even half the capabilities of the car?

    I ask because I bought a new Boxster earlier in the year – the lowly NON-’S’ version with a mere 240 horsepower – and have been frequently admonished and given warnings from “helpful” police officers for “excessive exuberance” or somesuch nonsense. No tickets yet thankfully, but the sound of that engine at 5000 rpm and above is addictive.

    The incident a couple of days ago involved “unsafe starting” – I believe that was the exact term used. And I’m not talking about a tire-smoking, wheel-spinning, sideways-bucking start – just a very controlled spirited pull away at a green light that the officers thought was just a little too fun. No other cars around, and no mention of exessive speed mind you. They seemed baffled when I answered that, no, I was not in any hurry, that I didn’t have to be anywhere, and that I was going nowhere in particular – I was just enjoying a beautiful fall day here in Northern California. They let me off with a warning eventually, but frankly I’m getting a little tired of all this.

    If a safe, responsible, middle-aged man like myself runs into these kinds of problems in such an “underpowered” car, I can’t imagine what the real performance types must have to deal with – or are these vehicles only enjoyed on the track?

  • avatar
    Bubba Gump

    Last I heard the supplier for the ZO6 valves was Ferrea. It does not get any better than that!

  • avatar
    jerry weber

    desdigndingo and others again reflect the feeling of a sports car. This whoop your ass on a track stuff. Would all of those guys who go to the track with their stock vettes or porsches and whoop asses or get whooped please register below. Talk about male testosterone. A friend of mine with a regular new corvette can’t wait to buy a zo6 just to burn the tires off and see all that smokes. Please, if it works for you buy it otherwise read what some of the others in this blog do with their sports cars and have great enjoyment. But what a subject to bring them out of the woodwork with.

  • avatar
    RicardoHead

    I really dont get the appeal of Porsches. Yeah they cost a heap, but they look boring as hell and are hyper sensitive. If I cant take hyper sensitivity in a chick, why would I pay to have it in a car?

  • avatar
    crackity jones

    Sigh. There are still dreams in the world.

  • avatar
    Terry Parkhurst

    The Boxster S is a fine automobile. But for less money, the Nissan 350Z Enthusiast Edition will deliver almost as many grins with a fine exhaust note to make you feel as if heaven has come to you.

  • avatar

    >>The Boxster S is a fine automobile. But for less money, the Nissan 350Z Enthusiast Edition will deliver almost as many grins with a fine exhaust note to make you feel as if heaven has come to you.

    For that matter, the RX-8 is about 10k less than the 350Z, and the steering is about as wonderfully precise and responsive as the Boxster’s, and from the reviews, better than the Z’s. But the feel of the Boxster’s is out of this world, and … I’d better stop now before I end up spending a half an hour trying to do justice to it.

  • avatar
    San Diego 987 S

    TTAC has developed a reputation as a site that is unabashed in its cringe-inducing criticism of many of the vehicles reviewed. As someone who has read every one of those reviews I think it speaks volumes that the most unequivocal endorsement every bestowed on a car by Farago et al has been to the new Porsche Boxster/Boxster S (987), which has been reviewed or featured no less than four times since its release. When the site declares the Boxster S to be the car of the year (2005 987S), followed by the love-letter (er review) to the base model, penned by J. Lieberman; it’s noteworthy.

    For those interested in comparing other cars to the new Boxster S, please consider the following:

    * Remind yourself to drive one beforehand. If not, your opinion of the merits of the Boxster S is exactly what you suspected…prejudiced at best, and otherwise worthless.

    * If you still feel compelled to comment, than make sure you’re comparing a convertible or convertible variant of a car to the Boxster. In case you aren’t aware, the engineering of a car with a convertible top adds complexity that makes the class-leading handling, braking and structural rigidity of the Boxster even more amazing. Another car that folks love to compare to the Boxster S is the current e46 BMW M3. In its hardtop form it’s a worthy performance competitor; as a convertible…it’s not.

    * There’s no reason to try and convince Boxster owners of anything. People who buy new Porsches can be characterized, in general, as reasonably successful financially; of average intelligence or better; and well-informed of options for spending their money. If you’re trying to trigger a forehead slapping reaction from a Boxster S owner where he says “damn, I could have had a Vette”, that’s not likely to happen. If you can afford a new Boxster S, then you can afford a new Vette.

    —————————————————————————–

    The 5.4 0-60 time quoted is actually the 0-62 time favored by publications abroad. The 0-60 time is 5.1. Splitting hairs perhaps, but in the 4-5 second range in which performance cars are judged, this should be noted.
    The Boxster S, which is the car in question here, did not get its ass handed to it on a race track by a lowly Pontiac Solstice GXP. The car used in that comparison was a 240 hp 05 987 base giving up 20 hp and 61 lbs-ft. of torque to the GXP. Nor is “ass handed to it on a race track” really a valid description for 1/10 of a second difference in both 0-60 and the quarter mile. Especially when you conveniently left out the rest of the story:

    “Above 110 mph, however, the Boxster’s superior aerodynamics (0.29 coefficient of drag compared with 0.45) allow it to pull away, and it reaches 130 mph 2.6 seconds earlier.”

    Incidentally, this “base” trim Boxster was also Winding Road magazine’s pick in a comparison with the c6 corvette to which it gives up 160 and 201lbs-ft. of torque, so maybe there’s more than brute power to be considered when judging a car; some roads require the driver to turn the wheel.

    Question for Mr. Farago: Did you take part in Porsche’s “Tail of the Dragon” journalist session or was the car reviewed independently?

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    San Diego writes a reasonably well balanced response, but then goes and screws it all up with this paragraph:

    “Incidentally, this “base” trim Boxster was also Winding Road magazine’s pick in a comparison with the c6 corvette to which it gives up 160 and 201lbs-ft. of torque, so maybe there’s more than brute power to be considered when judging a car; some roads require the driver to turn the wheel.”

    I love how Porsche guys love to characterize the Corvette as a 60′s style muscle car that can’t go around a corner without scraping its door handles. Forget the vastly superior lap times of the Vette….it is an immensely satisfying car in the twisties as well, capable of inhaling any convoluted bits of tarmac you care to throw at it.

    The fact that it has a snarling V8 that is simultaneously more powerful and slightly more fuel efficient than the wheezy sounding flat 6 is just icing on the cake.

  • avatar
    schiller

    Any Vette and 911 comparison to the Boxster completely misses the point (which RF hit on the head with the scaple remark):

    The Boxster was created because cars like the 911 (and Vette) are caught in a vicious spiral. More power needs more chassis control, needs more braking force, needs more stability management, needs more weight, needs more power, needs more…. on and on.

    The Boxster was an attempt to turn back the clock and make a Porsche that gave up some power and weight in order to provide a lighter, more nimble, sporting drive. More like an early 911 (I know th Boxster is the successor to the 550, but the point the engineers were really trying to hit is this growth in 911 girth).

    So comparisons to the power in a modern 911 and Vette is besides the point. If you want all that power-to-weight tire-burning fun you can have it. But let’s not argue to turn the Boxster into a 911 or Vette. Or even that they are “better”.

  • avatar
    biturbo

    Schiller, I liked your message. The weight is the enemy! Agree.
    But the Boxster S is only 76 kg lighter than the C6 Z06. The base 911 only 26 kg! Irrelevant, considering the power plants. Porsche must do better than that or show some engines without sky rocketing the price.

    Price is the real problem with Porsche.
    I really believe that these days an expensive car has to have tire pressure monitoring, auto dimming mirrors, GPS Navigation, XM radio, etc. The price of a Boxster S/Cayman S at a similar level of equipment gets into the Z06 territory, while the 911 gets way higher. Base C6 is even a better bang for the buck.

    I know that these cars are in different classes, but I just cannot stand when people speak against the Corvette or ‘go religious’ about Porsche and other expensive brands.

    Throw your money on whatever you please, it’s a free world.
    But save the preaching :-) Other manufacturers are catching up, it’s normal.

  • avatar
    Frank Williams

    “Put another way, there’s no good reason not to buy a Boxster S (kids when you’re caning?) and use the difference to reduce your monthly nut.”

    I can think of one good reason – you can’t sit in it with the top up. I have to drive it with the top down so I can look over the windshield if I want to see stoplights or anything more than about 50 feet ahead of me. With the top up it reminds me of driving a certain MG I used to own.

    But it’s still an unbelievably sweet ride. If I could afford a car just to drive on nice days, I’d own one in a heartbeat.

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    If you want bang for your buck the C6 is the way to go. The only real downside is you have to deal with Chevy dealers. The C6 also handles well with prodigious power but it’s not a light flickable car. Two different cars for two different types of buyers. If it was all about performance and nothing else matters then you are better off getting a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR (man that’s long) and adding $10k in performance mods. You will stomp all over C6’s for $20k less. But then it’s not, its about the whole package.

    If I’m picking between a C6 and a Boxter S or Cayman I’m taking the Porsche. I won’t use half of the C6’s power anyway and you’ll see a lot fewer Porsches running around than Vettes. Somehow I don’t think Porsche is really all that concerned with how their cars rate to Chevys.

    This reminds me of all the Mazda RX8 vs. Ford Mustang comparisons. The Mustang has huge bang for your buck and even if it can turn reasonable lap times it just isn’t as light or tossable as the RX8 and they appeal to different buyers.

  • avatar

    No tail o’ the dragon for TTAC.

    We’re either below the radar or website non gratis when it comes to press events.

  • avatar
    adrift

    Chevy has finally gotten it right with the C5, and now even more so, the C6. The Z06 is an amazing car, no doubt.

    That in no way detracts frpm what an amazing car the boxster is. The sheer fact it draws so much raving from the automotive press, despite being the “Porsche with panties”, that ALL true car guys (people?) should realize it must be something special.

    In some ways, having a LOT of power detracts from the fun, at least for me. I had a 996TT and you got from 0 to too-fast so quick, you didn’t get a chance to really enjoy it. Half the fun is in getting there. Which is probably why in almost all comparo’s I have seen, the reviewers prefer the base boxster over the S. It is just pure lightness and balance.

    Sometimes, less IS more.

  • avatar
    biturbo

    Adrift is right. Less weight is more.
    Make it 1000 kg and we can talk.

  • avatar
    schiller

    Biturbo – never meant to sound like I was preaching. I was just reiterating what some on the Porsche engineering team once said about their motivation to build the Boxster under the 911. It shows a different reason for not raising the power of the Boxster to 911 levels other than just product line stratification, if you believe them.

    I agree with you that the Boxster would better live up to this vision if in fact the power to weight ratio was more dramatic (read – weighed even less).

    Unlike you I can do without all the gadgetry (not that I mind some of it) if I can get better handling and performance instead (ex GT3, though it’s getting “soft” and Lotus Elise).

    TPS systems can be a pain as they don’t always work as reliably as intended (my experience on one of my rides), XPS may yet turn out to be a fad (I have rented cars with them and was supremely disapointed, give me iPod integration any day), auto dimming mirros I have no need for. But, GPS – that should be standard in every car if they are of the quality of the Range Rover’s system, the “Never Lost” variety is better done without.

    Sorry if this has gotten off topic (but it is about cars!)

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    I just… Friends… Robert mentioned Zen.

    I’ve driven Boxsters, 911s, C6s, Z06s, Vipers, 350Zs, 500hp Mustangs, 500hp BMWs, 500hp Mercedes, EVOs, STIs, Maseratis, M3s…

    The Boxster is by far, BY FAR, the best of the bunch. In terms of driving. It’s the Zen thing.

    The only car that comes close, and it really tries, is the new Miata.

    As I mentioned in my review of the “regular” Boxster, the only drawback is other cars.

    And DRV8 — to call the Boxster’s Six “wheezy” means that you A) are not a lung specialist and B) more importantly, have never driven a Boxster.

    The Boxster is as close to perfect as cars this side of $100,000 get.

  • avatar
    adrift

    cars are like politics. people don’t even really hear what you say if it differs from their personal views. but then that is why they make all those different cars. different strokes for different folks.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Hey Liebermann….

    IMHO, on the hit parade of engine sounds, with all kinds of V8s and 12s on the list, there is NO Porsche flat 6 that is even worthy of honorable mention. I’ve driven and ridden in plenty of them, and more importantly, hear their flatulent notes bouncing off the Armco of the road courses down here in TX as they struggle not to get passed by the more powerful V8s out there.

    To each their own….but to me, and legions of others who were raised on the sounds of sonorous V8s, the Boxer 6s are too reminiscent of well tuned VW Beetles and Porsche 550s. Yuck.

    I suggest you stop speculating on my speciality before I secretly replace your Miata with a Super Duty King Ranch Texas Canyonero edition…..with special order crank windows.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Doc-V8,

    Get into a Boxster before you comment on the engine sound.

    I’m not talking about the air-cooled mills of yore.

    I’m talking about the new Boxster boxer-six.

    Actually listen to it before you comment. Sounds a hell of a lot better than the Z06.

    Also, could you delete the power brakes on the King Ranch Canyonero? Those are for liberals.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    JL,

    Does the 2007 Boxster sound significantly different from the Cayman S I drove last month? Or the 996s and pre 2006 Boxsters wheezing around Texas World Speedway? Or the Ruf 997s I sampled in April? Despite gaining water pumps and radiators, they still sound like ass.

    Sorry, the look, feel, and SOUND of 6 cyl Porsches do nothing for me. And I’m not alone.

    As for the Z06….mine has a cam, long tube headers, and a manual switch to open the butterflies in the medial pipes whenever I want….even you would probably like the sound.

    As hard as this seems to be for you to understand, not everyone agrees with you on everything. Deal with it and move on.

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    Well if you want something that sounds really different there is always a Rotary with a good aftermarket exhaust. Nothing else quite like it but then I’m a bit biased. V-8s tend to just be a bit too loud and annoying (BMW 545 sounded good though) of course that just may be due to all the A-holes that rev it at the stop sign infront of my house. Only thing more annoying is the Harleys.

  • avatar
    adrift

    I probably shouldn’t indulge this urge to respond, because you are obviously about as opinionated as they come and this is a no-win conversation, but…

    I see a heck of a lot more Boxsters “wheezing” around TWS (and TMS and MSR and Hallet and…) then I will ever see Z06s. If you want to start throwing rocks at cars at the track, at least you see a significant number of Porsches AT the track, whereas the vast majority of vettes sit in parking lots getting polished, and only getting stretched out from stop light to stop light. God forbid you mention to your chevy service dept that you were at the track and a problem developed… The local Porsche dealers SPONSOR our events.

    DV8, you give JL grief for not accepting other opinions, and then demonstrate a complete lack of understanding (or acceptance) for people who prefer Porsches? Why are you even reading this review if they are so lacking in merit? Wouldn’t a Z06 board/review be a better place to pat yourself on the back for your automotive superiority over the CI challenged?

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Adrift writes:

    “DV8, you give JL grief for not accepting other opinions, and then demonstrate a complete lack of understanding (or acceptance) for people who prefer Porsches?”

    Adrift, I really think you need to rethink your questions after carefully re-reading my posts. I’ve got nothing against Porsches. I’m not one of the Corvette Forum elitist waxers who think everything else is crap. Trust me, I have a couple of German cars, and can appreciate the quality and the engineering refinement. I made some favorable comments on the Boxster’s refinement and acknowledged that subjective feel is paramount in the sports car experience.

    I also am one (of many) who like to open track their Corvettes, and the Vette is usually, but not always, my vehicle of choice. I don’t know how often you go out, but I usually see a dozen or more C4/5/6′s at the track, and yes, they are generally much faster than the majority of the Porsches. There are plenty of poseurs driving all sports cars…don’t you agree?

    All I said was I don’t like the way they sound (opinion) and that the Z06 is faster (fact)….doubt you can argue either of those points….so save the lecture for those who are truly myopic in their views.

  • avatar
    adrift

    Fair enough, but you can hardly claim you are the wronged innocent here after throwing out comments about boxsters wheezing their way around the track. You are intentionally dealing out condescension in a fairly generous dollop.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Sorry, “wheezing” was meant to represent my interpretation of their sound, not as a jab at their performance. On tight tracks, they are damn fast….on open tracks, I’ve met more than a few that don’t want to yield on the straights.

    Sajeev and I were sitting in one at last years auto show with the optional chocolate colored interior with all the extra cost leather bits, and it was gorgeous. If only Chevy would offer interior upgrades and colors like that!

  • avatar
    adrift

    Only a fool would try to hold off a Z06 in a Boxster, especially on a straight! I much prefer to chase than be chased. I hate people in my mirrors.

    I have often wondered if you could double the price of a Boxster if you went all out on the options list. lol I bet you could get damn close! :)

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    I agree with the chasing part…much more fun! There was an instructor guilty of blocking me at the last MSR Houston event I attended….I guess he thought that title meant he couldn’t be passed by a mere participant in a Chevy….on runflats no less! ;-)

    Yeah, my friend’s new Cayman S with Sport Chrono and tons of other options, including (gag) the Tiptronic was well north of 60k. Yikes….Beautiful car, but in an era of 14 second Accords and Altimas, I just can’t justify that much $$ for 300 HP….regardless of how nice it is.

  • avatar
    adrift

    I didn’t really like MSR Houston. No real camber changes at all. The culvert adds a little interest, but in general, I thought it was a boring track. On the other hand, I love the expanded MSR Cresson. Wow wow wow. Love it.

    Oops, weren’t we supposed to be discussing…er….debating…er…arguing about cars? lol ;)

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    Calling the Porsche “wheezy” is like calling George Jefferson a meat-head.

  • avatar
    adrift

    What do you think about the new GT3? I am in serious lust, and in danger of compromising my mid-engined beliefs. lol

  • avatar
    Sizzler

    One of my rides is a 996 with the X50 performance upgade. That makes a nice improvement in the exhaust note.

    The Vette certainly has a great V8 sound. But as the owner of rides with a turbo 4, Boxer 6, V8, and V12 I think all provide pleasing tones in different cords. I love the low end growl my X50 Boxer 6 makes. I adore the roar of my V12 when the gates fly open. To each their own.

    Oh yeah, I owned a Boxster at one time. I miss it. Great car.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Haven’t had the pleasure of sampling a GT3 yet, but a buddy is getting a new 997TT any day now. Should be sweet!

  • avatar
    Henry Groobly

    Picked up my Boxster Wednesday. Had a colossal wank Thursday. And Friday.

  • avatar
    philipwitak

    i have had my evidently-wheezy, 201hp, basic boxster since they were first introduced back in 1997 and i still love driving it.

  • avatar
    bapcha

    I own a base 987 Boxster with 240HP, and I drive it every day – to work, groceries, Costco – yes – Costco, everything. 22K miles in 17 months, and I spent $780 on a set of 4 Michelin PS2′s at Costco, and $500 on the 20K service……

    The ride is NOT fatigueing [especially with heated seats and the Bose Audio System with 13 speakers], and I made sure I had the 17″ wheels as I wanted a more forgiving ride [essential in a daily driver and only car].

    Bottom-line: I traded in my Honda Accord for this carm and I am amazed that a Boxster has lived up to whatever I have wanted the car to do………

    Anyone with a daily-driver Corvette ?

    Bapcha

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    I used to daily drive a C5 corvette. Very practical, aside from limited ground clearance and no back seat. Plus, excellent fuel economy on the highway (30+ mpg) and 25 cu ft of cargo space. If you spring for the optional F55 magnetic ride, you get a very compliant ride and tight body motions with the flip of a switch. This state of the art suspension technology is now implemented (5 years later) in the Ferrari 599 GTB.


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