Porsche Boxster GTS 4.0

   

First, an apology. The car you see in the pictures before you is not quite the same as the car I drove recently. However, I can explain.

     This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Porsche Boxster, and Porsche have built a special edition – the car you see in the pictures – to celebrate the occasion. Well, they haven’t built just one, they’ve built a limited run of 1,250 which will be sold worldwide. Isn’t it (aren’t they) lovely? I certainly thought so when I saw car No.50, the Porsche Cars Great Britain’s press demonstrator, at an SMMT event earlier in the year and then again at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. Neither occasion sadly afforded either the time or the opportunity to drive it.

      With its silver paintwork, gold bespoke five-spoke Cup edition wheels, red fabric hood, and striking Bordeaux red leather interior, the Boxster 25 Years instantly reminded me of the original Grant Larson designed Boxster concept car that first drew public attention at the 1993 Detroit Motorshow. (I have a scale model of it, bought at around the same time); something tells me that’s exactly what Porsche intended to it to do.

     Usually, concept cars are designed more-or less purely for motor shows, to whip up enthusiasm; finished production cars often end up watered down. Not so the Boxster. The car unveiled to the press in Motor City had very few amendments made to it by the time it went on sale in 1996. A quarter of a century on, and now into its fourth iteration as the 718, the Boxster has sold more than 350,000 units worldwide, 43,000 of which came here to the UK. Not that you’ll find a 718 badge on the Boxster 25 Years though, however hard you look. Instead you’ll find lots of ‘25 Years’ badging; on the tail, on the dashboard, and on the sills when you open the doors. They’ve even stamped it into the roof.

   Beneath the extra bling – Porsche says the Boxster 25 Years has around £10,000 worth of additional equipment when compared to the more widely available Boxster GTS 4.0, including ‘PDLS Plus’ LED headlights, 14-way electric sports seats, a heated steering wheel and that lovely smooth leather interior – you’ll find… well… a Boxster GTS 4.0.

    Which, I hasten to add, that is in no way a bad thing at all.

    You see, Porsche GB’s Boxster 25 Years had already been snapped-up buy a very lucky buyer by the time my appointment to drive it came along. Fortunately though, they had a Boxster GTS 4.0 on fleet they were willing to lend me for the weekend instead. Same engine, same 7-speed PDK gearbox, same everything essentially. Hey, who am I to complain?

    The view down bonnet and over those curved wing tops is as familiar as ever, so too the dashboard with the rev-counter sat centre stage. Snug fitting sports seats hold you nicely in place, and the thick-rimmed steering wheel can be pulled-in until the driving position is just-so. Everything you need falls equally perfectly to hand. So insulated and tight is the Boxster’s hood, so crisp the door-shut, you almost forget you’re in soft-top.

      Turn the key – no starter buttons here – and the uneven chunter of the flat-six tells you instantly it’s a Porsche you’re sat in. The 4.0 litre flat-six seems as happy to pootle along in traffic is it does to spin up to the red line, wailing like a chainsaw when it does. The steering is excellent; sharp, direct and beautifully weighted. The same could be said of both throttle and brakes. With both trunks full of luggage you could cover big distances with ease; alternatively you can tear up mountain passes as if your life depended on it. The Boxster plays the tourer roll as well as it does the sports car. Roof down it’s a pleasure; roof up it’s your own little safe and secure cocoon.

      It’s not entirely perfect of course. Rearward visibility with the hood up is a tad compromised; there’s still little in the way of in-cabin storage for anything bigger than your phone and your sunglasses; and 28mpg and a modestly sized fuel tank means the Boxster’s range isn’t exactly continent crushing. Hey–ho, travel light, reverse with the mirrors, make a pit-stop or three, and above all enjoy.

     A quarter of century on and the Boxster is still as good as it has always has. It retains that undefinable Porsche ability that always makes it feel special, and yet it remains subtle. It is very nearly as fast and as sharp as many a so–called super car, and yet it never resorts to having to scream look at me; it oozes quality without ever being showy . Quite whether or not the 4.0 litre engine adds significant benefit over the Porsche’s 2.5 flat-four – engine noise aside perhaps – is something those fortunate enough to be in a position to purchase will no doubt be left to ponder (I’d be happy with either, and the 2.5 does cost less). In either form, it is genuinely a pleasure to live with.

    And one other thing… If, just if, you can get your hands on a Boxster 25 Years, you’ll be buying an instant collector’s item. Just think what it might be worth in another 25 years’ time.

 

 

  

Porsche Boxster GTS 4.0

Engine: 3,996 cc horizontally opposed (flat) 6-Cyl 24V petrol

Transmission: 7-Speed Doppelkupplung Auto. Rear wheel drive.

Power:  400 bhp

Torque: 317 lbft

0 - 62 MPH: 4.0 Sec

Max Speed: 179 mph

CO2: 247 - 230 g/km (WLTP combined)

MPG:  25.9 - 28.0 mpg (WLTP Combined)

Price: from £67,250 (as driven £78,273).

 

Many thanks to Rob at Porsche’s UK press office for the loan of the Boxster

@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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