Porsche Boxster

Perhaps not as speedy as other Boxster versions, but for the price, you can't knock it

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

While it sits at the bottom of Porsche’s range, the new 2.7-litre Boxster is still a joy to drive whatever the occasion. Although far from slow, its pace is the only aspect of the experience that makes it feel a poor relation to its stablemates. Yet despite the lack of shove-in-the-back acceleration, the car is still fabulous from behind the wheel. As an entry point to Porsche ownership, the basic Boxster is exceptional.

Ever wondered if drop-top drivers are being ripped off? After all, equiva-lent coupés are nearly always cheaper – despite the fact that they offer more metal for the money!

In reality, the extra cost of cabrios stands to reason – there’s the hood mechanism and extra stiffening to pay for. All of which makes Porsche’s new entry-level Boxster look even better value. At £33,170, it actually costs less than the coupé model: the £36,220 Cayman is £3,050 more, but does that necessarily mean it’s better?

Fire up the Boxster and the stiff click of the short-throw gearstick gives the impression that this is a genuine driver’s car. All the controls share this pre-cision feeling, setting the tone for a truly special drop-top. Under the bonnet, the VarioCam Plus system adjusts the valve management to increase the power output by 5bhp to 245bhp.

On paper, improvements in acceler-ation are relatively small. The 2.7-litre model covers 0-62mph in 6.1 seconds – 0.1 seconds quicker than before – while the top speed with the optional six-speed manual box rises by 3mph to 162mph. Everything from the steer-ing to the brakes offers huge involvement. However, such capabilities are a constant reminder that this chassis can cope with far more power. At no point does the car feel slow, but neither does it have breathtaking thrust.

That said, there’s still plenty of punch to explore the Boxster’s near-perfectly balanced handling. Activate the PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management) Sport mode and the stiffer set-up gives trackday-ready cornering ability. What’s more, the engine upgrades boost economy by 1mpg to 30.4mpg.

Other than the underbody tweaks, there are no changes to the Boxster. Buyers get the same well built cabin and slick hood; the latter is operable at up to 31mph, and takes only 12 seconds to fold. But a word of warning. The price will soon rise if you raid the options list. You’ll pay £1,426 for the six-speed manual gearbox with PASM, and £380 for a short-throw lever. All of these will be needed to appreciate the roadster’s powertrain to the full.

So, does the basic Boxster live up to the Porsche promise? And can £33,170 really look like good value for money? Yes! Although the price is high, this car offers a £100,000 driving experience that’s easily a match for the more expensive Cayman.

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