Porsche Boxster

Whether you’re a Porsche a fan or not the 50th anniversary celebrations given earlier this year for their 911 were hard to miss. Love it or loathe it, (I’ve always been very much in the former camp), the 911 is probably one of the most instantly recognisable sports-cars of all time and its appearance on all matter of things, from the front cover of numerous magazines, to the very top of Gerry Judah’s magnificent sculpture at this year’s Goodwood Festival Speed meant it’s half century was sure not to pass without notice.

What may have escaped you attention though, especially as Porsche have always exercised a somewhat cautious approach when it comes to radical changes of design, is that they also recently launched a new Boxster. OK, so the Boxster may never evoke the same dewy-eyed looks from Porsche faithful as the 911 does, but don’t whatever you do think that for Porsche it’s not still a very important car.

 The Boxster you see is Porsche’s “entry level” model; it’s the cheapest Porsche you can buy. It’s their way of tempting you away from the likes of BMW’s Z4 and Mercedes Benz’s evergreen SLK. If you’ve got £37,000 at your disposal, or perhaps a little more – some of Porsche’s option list delights are after all anything but cheap – this is your way in. So then, what do you get?

Like the 911, with which the Boxster unsurprisingly shares some of its parts, aluminium now takes the lion’s share of the construction; a 35kg weight reduction which helps both performance and economy is the end result. For the first time though the Boxster no longer shares its doors with its legendary rear-engined sibling meaning suddenly  its gained a much more muscular, less feminine identity. The way the rear spoiler flows in to the new rear light clusters is fabulous; the “fried egg” headlamps have been replaced by more rectangular items a la 908, and the Boxster’s new slightly wider and slightly longer stance means it’s hard not to be reminded of Porsche’s Carrera GT supercar on first acquaintance.

There’s familiarity too, when you turn the key. The mid-mounted 2.7 litre flat-six (what else?) fires instantly, before settling into a characteristic and rather metallic sounding idle. It may be down in capacity when compared with the previous generation Boxster, but power is up to 261 bhp, which in a car weighing just 1310kg, I’m sure you’ll agree, is ample enough. A 0-62 time of 5.8 seconds may not be headline grabbing news these days, but it’s still quick by anyone’s reckoning and 164mph flat out is faster than most of us will ever need to go.

But the beauty of the Boxster is you don’t have to be trying to set the new fastest time to the office in order to enjoy it. The steering – it’s electric now rather than hydraulic - is sublime and almost telepathic in its action; the 6 speed gearbox feels deliciously mechanical and has the sweetest of shifts: it also lacks the complication of the 911’s seven-speeder; the roof can be raised or lowered in just 9 seconds, and as you’d expect the Boxster feels beautifully balanced, and grips it like limpet too. There’s two boots, and even with the optional (£1,942!) 20 inch rims fitted the ride is compliant enough to make driving a Boxster an everyday consideration rather than just a sunny day indulgence.

Of course there are a few criticisms, no car is perfect. Rearward visibility is akin to looking through a letterbox; there’s little of the way of in-cabin storage for anything bigger than your phone and sunglasses (I’m assuming your wallet may be a little fatter); Bluetooth and sat-nav cost extra - in a near £40K car! And even if you do manage to match Porsche’s claims of 34.4 mpg, which is unlikely as the engine thrives on revs and sounds all the better for them, a 64 litre fuel tank means the Boxster’s range isn’t exactly the longest. But hey – ho, travel light, learn to reverse with the mirrors, and enjoy.

Fifty years after it was introduced Porsche’s 911 remains the celebrated icon. Make no doubt about it though, their new Boxster is very, very nearly, every bit as good.

 

Porsche Boxster

Engine: 2,706cc horizontally opposed (flat) 6Cyl 24V petrol

Transmission: 6 speed Manual, rear wheel drive.

Power:  265 hp @ 6700pm

Torque: 206 lbft @ 4500 – 6500rpm

0-62MPH: 5.8 Sec

Max Speed: 164mph

CO2: 192g/km

MPG: 34.4 combined

Price: from £37,589 (car driven £52,686)

Many thanks to Jo and Chloe at Porsche’s UK press office for the loan of their Boxster

www.liam-bird.com

@bird_liam

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Liam Bird Liam Bird

I'm Liam Bird, a freelance Motoring Writer based in the South Shropshire Marches. I currently write car reviews and road tests for a number of regional lifestyle magazines and newspapers which are distributed throughout Cheshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, most of Wales and beyond.

As a member of the Welsh Group of Motoring Writers I'm as happy behind the wheel of a super-mini as I am in the latest super-car. I have press accreditation with most of the major motor manufacturers, meaning that as well as always being on the look out for further commissions, I always have a number of cars arriving each month ready to review.

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