2008 Boxster New Car Test Drive
The Porsche Boxster is a sweet sports car that feels right at home on a race track, yet it's comfortable enough for daily use. Drop the top, listen to the engine as you accelerate down a winding road and you'll know what we mean by sweet. That classic Porsche sound, the balanced handling from the mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout, and fantastic brakes are among the elements that add up to an absolute delight for driving enthusiasts.
The 2007 Porsche Boxster and Boxster S are quicker than last year's models, benefiting from additional power.
The headliner is the Boxster S, which gets a bigger engine. The 3.4-liter engine produces 295 horsepower and 251 pound-feet of torque, 15 more in each case than the 3.2-liter engine it replaces.
Meanwhile, the standard Boxster's 2.7-liter engine gains 5 horsepower for the 2007 model year, now outputting 245 horsepower and 201 pound-feet of torque. Both engines are now equipped with Porsche's VarioCam Plus setup, which provides variable valve intake timing and lift control, resulting in an impressive combination of power and fuel efficiency. With these changes, 0-60 mph acceleration performance has improved for 2007.
Both 2007 Boxster and Boxster S models models are available with an updated version of the Tiptronic S automatic transmission. This new version features improved responsiveness due to new hydraulics and electronics, and also provides variable shift programs, all of which makes the already compelling automatic even more so. That said, we still prefer the manual.
Besides being thrilling to drive, 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 by a relatively low seating position and placement of the drilled aluminum pedals closer to the firewall.
Driver control is improved over previous Boxster models with the latest generation of Porsche Stability Management, which comes standard. Drivers wanting the ultimate in ride control and electronic handling assist should get the optional Porsche Active Suspension Management, which allows the driver to select Normal and Sport suspension calibrations. This active suspension system is a wonder, fulfilling its task of enhancing the driving experience by maintaining chassis equilibrium in all conditions.
New for 2007: Porsche's Tire Pressure Monitoring System comes standard on all models. Also, serviceability is improved in the 2007 Boxster, with coolant and engine-oil filler caps now nestled behind an easily accessible flap, moving out of the way in the rear trunk.
The Porsche Boxster comes in two models. The base Boxster ($45,600) sports a newly bolstered 245-hp, 2.7-liter flat six that mates to a five-speed manual transmission. The Boxster S ($55,500) is aggressively fitted with a 295-hp, 3.4-liter flat six and a six-speed gearbox.
For those who prefer automatic transmissions, Porsche's newly improved 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 standard Boxster as part of a Sports Package ($2,680) that includes Porsche's Active Suspension.
Standard features include automatic climate control, AM/FM/CD, a power top, power mirrors and power windows, with leather trim on the steering wheel rim, shift lever, handbrake lever and door handles. The list of options is seemingly endless.
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 sports 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 also are 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. 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 205/55R17 and 235/50R17 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 also can be ordered with the 18-inch S wheels ($1,235).
New in 2007 is the availability of 19-inch, forged ally, two-tone wheels. Also available are 19-inch wheels for the Boxster ($2,785) and Boxster S ($1,550), including a 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) are a pricey option, but they 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 has improved in recent years for Boxster models, now with a taller safety bar and higher headrests. The side windows have been enlarged to raise 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.
New for 2007, Porsche's Tire Pressure Monitoring System continuously monitors the air pressure in each tire and offers not only extra safety but also the reduced risk of tire damage (including monitoring for the gradual loss of pressure in tires). This feature also helps prevent inconsistent or unequal tire wear and excessive fuel consumption via its warning function.