Our reigning Roadster of the Year – the Porsche Boxster – is quite simply one of the finest-handling cars money can buy. From the moment you climb into the faultlessly built cabin and lower the beautifully finished hood, the experience is joyous.
The dash wraps around you, the switchgear feels top notch and all the controls are perfectly weighted. On road or track, the Porsche’s ability to make you feel special is second to none.
With the engine tucked away in the centre of the car, the balance between front and rear grip is perfect, body control is simply peerless and there’s an incredible sensation of being at one with the road. The positivity of turn-in, the near-unbreakable traction and the accuracy of the steering mean that, for corner after corner, the Boxster can be placed with pinpoint precision.
The 2.7-litre flat-six engine is silky and there’s a deep flat-six wail as it happily works hard all the way to its 8,000rpm red line. On UK roads you won’t want for more performance than the 261bhp engine can deliver and the six-speed manual box has a gorgeous shift action. Strong brakes and a smooth ride finish a polished package made even sweeter by a sub-£40,000 price.
Options are costly, but add the £2,093 leather, £971 PASM adaptive dampers and £890 locking rear diff, and we think you’ll have everything you could need from a sports car. But in one of the toughest Performance Car the Year decisions we’ve ever faced, the Boxster was pipped by something very special...
We expected the Boxster to be challenging hard on the track, and it does just that – it’s a thrill to drive fast and flatters merely competent drivers. But it’s the car’s behaviour on more mundane roads that really impresses. Given the amount of grip, the quick steering and the lack of body roll, you might expect a rock-hard ride. You’d be wrong. Comfort can now be added to the Boxster’s long list of talents.