2006 Boxster New Car Test Drive
Completely redesigned for the 2005 model year, the Porsche Boxster is a superb sports car that feels right at home on a race track yet is comfortable enough for daily use. This is a car meant to be enjoyed every day, rain or shine, commuting or competition.
Porsche says it changed 80 percent of the Boxster for 2005, taking more than half of the car from the 2005 911 Carrera, including the steering, front structure, seats and electronics. And it's all good.
The Boxster is a comfortable sports car, with ergonomically superior seating contours and a steering wheel that can be adjusted for both reach and rake. The taller driver, not always welcome in the two-seater world, is thoughtfully accommodated in the Boxster by a relatively low seat mounting point and placement of the drilled aluminum pedals closer to the firewall.
Driver control is improved over the pre-2005 models with new steering and the latest generation of Porsche Stability Management, which comes standard on all Boxsters. Drivers wanting the ultimate in ride control and electronic handling assist should get the optional Porsche Active Suspension Management, or PASM, ($1,990). This system allows the driver to select Normal and Sport suspension calibrations. In either mode, the active suspension system is a wonder, fulfilling its task of enhancing the driving experience by maintaining chassis equilibrium in all conditions.
With so many upgrades and updates with the '05 model, it's not surprising that the Boxster receives mostly tweaks for the 2006 model year. Safety improvements and upgrades to the navigation system polish a brilliant vehicle.
Porsche Boxsters come in two flavors, fast and faster. The base Boxster ($45,000) sports a 240-horsepower, 2.7-liter flat six that mates to a newly developed five-speed manual transmission. The Boxster S ($54,700) is fitted with a 280-hp, 3.2-liter flat six and a six-speed gearbox. For those who prefer automatic transmissions, Porsche's five-speed automatic Tiptronic S ($3,210) is an option for either model. The six-speed gearbox used in the Boxster S can be ordered for the stnadard Boxster as part of a Sports Package ($2,680) that includes Porsche's Active Suspension.
Leather trim adorns the steering wheel rim, shift lever, handbrake lever and door handles; automatic climate control, AM/FM/CD, and a power top, power mirrors and power windows come standard.
A wide range of seating options is available: six-way adjustable seats are standard; the first of three options is full 12-way power-adjustable seats with pneumatic lumbar support; second is sport seats based on the standard seats but with more side support; and third is adaptive sport seats with full electric adjustment, plus individual adjustment of the various side supports ($3,050). Heated seats are also available ($480). A full leather interior ($2,095) is optional along with several other upholstery trim packages.
A three-spoke steering wheel comes standard, but it can be supplanted with a smaller diameter sport wheel or a multi-function wheel fitted in conjunction with the optional Porsche Communication Management system ($2,640). The optional Bose Surround Sound system is available for the Boxster ($1,665) and Boxster S ($950) along with a six-disc changer for the front trunk ($650). Night vision can be enhanced by a bi-xenon headlamp option ($990), and fitting into tight spaces made easier by Park Assist ($530). Custom paint colors are available ($4,315).
The Sport Chrono Package Plus ($920) includes a gauge atop the dashboard that charts sprints and lap times. But it also interacts with the engine management system, PSM, PASM and Tiptronic S (if those are fitted) to provide a sportier driving experience through quicker throttle response, faster shifts and higher limits to the anti-spin control thresholds.
Standard running gear for the Boxster is 6.5x17-inch wheels up front and 8x17 in back, mounted with 205/55 and 235/50 performance radials, front and rear. The S gets 8x18s at the nose and 9x18s under the tail, wrapped by 235/50s and 265/40s, fore and aft. Boxsters can be ordered with the 18-inch S wheels ($1,235). Also available are 19-inch wheels for the Boxster ($2,785) and Boxster S ($1,550), including a new 10-spoke Carrera Sport wheel. These big units measure 8x19 in front and 9.5x19 in back and roll on ultra-low-profile tires. Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes ($8,150) improve braking performance and reduce unsprung mass by almost 35 pounds.
Safety features on all models include a unique head airbag protection system. Frontal and side-impact airbags come standard. Safety for taller drivers was enhanced when the Boxster was redesigned for 2005 with a taller safety bar and higher headrests. The side windows were enlarged at the same time, raisting the height of the roof. Antilock brakes (ABS), electronic brake-force distribution (ABD), electronic stability control (PSM), and traction control (ASR) come standard on all Boxsters.