Porsche Boxster S

15 Jun, 2012 7:37pm Mat Watson

Is the brilliant new Boxster S ready to edge out the 911 as the Porsche to own?


There will always be some Porsche fans who demand nothing less than a 911. However, those people really need to drive the latest Boxster. This S version is one of the best cars the company makes. It’s very nearly as fast as the much more expensive 911 Cabriolet, has a better-balanced chassis and is more fun to drive.
Some people say the Boxster is a poor man’s Porsche, but the new S model puts that idea to rest – it’s as quick around Germany’s infamous Nurburgring circuit as the legendary 996 GT3.

It’s not hard to see why. The Boxster S has one of the finest chassis of any car, incredible brakes and a cracking 311bhp 3.4-litre flat six-cylinder engine – largely the same as the one found in the latest 911.

The engine may not have quite the same low-down pull as it does in the 911 (Porsche couldn’t allow the Boxster to upstage its bigger brother), but it’s still a great performer, and feels stronger than the 2.7-litre engine in the normal Boxster. This extra poke also makes the S a better choice for general driving – crushing performance is just a flex of the toe away.

When it comes to extras, most buyers will pick the paddleshift PDK dual-clutch gearbox, which is £1,992 extra, and automatically blips the throttle on downshifts.

At lower speeds, its changes aren’t quite as smooth as a normal torque converter automatic, but in manual mode, it moves gear faster than you can blink: the car does 0-62mph in five seconds – a tenth of a second faster than the manual car. Fit the optional Sport Chrono Package, which includes a lap timer on the dash and launch control, and you take a further two-tenths off that time.

Really, though, how often do you think you’ll need launch control? Not enough to warrant the £1,861 extra it costs, we’ll wager. Better instead to spend your money on the limited-slip differential with torque vectoring and Porsche Active Suspension Management adaptive dampers. Together, they ensure the car handles to its full potential.

Yet that’s the annoying thing with Porsches – there are too many items on the options list. A wind deflector really should be standard on any convertible, but Porsche wants £182 for it. Little wonder that after options the total cost of our test car was nearly £60,000. Now who was it who said that the Boxster is a poor man’s Porsche?

Key specs

* Porsche Boxster S PDK
* Price: From £45,384
* Engine: 3.4-litre 6cyl
* Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch auto, rear-wheel drive
* Power/torque: 311bhp/360Nm
* 0-62mph: 5.0 seconds
* Top speed: 172mph
* Economy: 35.3mpg
* CO2: 188g/km
* Equipment: Part-leather interior, xenons, air-con, 19-inch alloys
* On sale: Now