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Boxing Clever PDF Print E-mail

The new Porsche Boxster S is way ahead of the original creation and represents perhaps the pinnacle of Porsche’s Stuttgart engineering.  Jeff Heselwood reviews this incredible machine.


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The two-seater Porsche Boxster was initially introduced in 1995, the first of a raft of new models from the renowned Stuttgart manufacturer in recent years.  It was however radically different from the 911 which had sustained the company since as long ago as 1963.  The original Boxster had a 204 bhp, 2.5 liter flat-six engine which was mid-mounted as opposed to the 911’s rear-mounted unit.  At the time – because it was a Porsche – it was criticised as being underpowered.  This was perhaps true, as its handling surpassed anything else in its class. That has now been completely remedied.

The latest Boxster S is without doubt a significant step forward and now boasts a 3.4 liter all-aluminium engine, delivery a magnificent 315 bhp at 6,700 rpm and 360 Nm of torque, produced between 4,500 and 6000 rpm.  The power unit is not quite a racing engine but it’s not far off.  Four valves per cylinder, horizontally opposed and with dry-sump lubrication, it is a very sophisticated power plant.   The valve timing is variable to increase torque at lower speeds, while there is a fly-by-wire throttle and an auto stop-start function.  This gives the Boxster a benchmark sprint time of 4.6 seconds from a standstill to 100 km/h and a top speed of 277 km/h. 

The power is transmitted to the rear wheels through a 7-speed dual clutch gearbox and there is an automatic rear spoiler – located within the rear LED lights - which activates at speed to increase stability.  Braking from high speeds is taken care of by ventilated, perforated discs and 4-piston light alloy, classic red calipers.

The interior, while initially it appears a little cramped, quickly becomes a driver’s cockpit allowing complete control at all times.  Finished in a mix of cloth and leather, it exudes luxury through and through. The leather-rimmed steering wheel adds to the feeling of opulence.  For convenience there are a number of storage compartments, including a lockable glove box, while there is additional storage space behind the seats.


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On the Road

There is only one word to describe the performance of the Boxster S: impressive.  In Sport mode – which effectively increases power and stiffens the suspension – the acceleration is stunning.  It can be left in automatic mode when in heavy traffic, but on a clear road, switch to manual shift and, using the steering wheel-mounted paddles, go through the gears for maximum effect.

It also features the automatic stop/start system which initially causes a little paranoia in the form of will-it-or-won’t-it restart when the accelerator is pressed.  However, as you would expect from Stuttgart, it all works effortlessly.
The steering wheel is adjustable, as of course are the seats, so the perfect driving position is easy to arrive at.  Rearward visibility is limited, although the large door mirrors alleviate this considerably. All ancillary controls fall readily to hand and all appear to have been placed perfectly logically – unlike some manufacturers.
As with the original, the roadholding and handling are superb, yet it is surprisingly comfortable, soaking up bumps and road undulations with ease.
The Boxster S is not just a conveyance; a means of getting from A to B.  It is a driving experience that is as exciting as the styling of the car.  On downshifts the electronics blip the throttle, emitting a lovely throaty roar from the exhaust.  This just adds to the overall satisfaction to be derived from driving a Porsche such as this. 

An unusual electronic aid is what they term a ‘torque-vectoring’ system, which improves turn-in by gently braking the inside rear wheel.  McLaren introduced a similar system on its F1 cars a few years back, but it was instantly banned by the sport’s governing body, the FIA.  Quite why remains unexplained.

Electric power steering  has two benefits: it allows the steering wheel to be turned even when stationary at lights with the engine off, and it does not consume any significant horsepower as a hydraulic power device would.  All-round win-win: more power and accurate steering.

Up or Down

The soft-top roof is raised and lowered electronically, using a switch mounted on the center console. Open or closed it is relatively draught-free, but particularly with the hood up and the windows closed, there is virtually no wind noise, unlike many soft-top cars.  Much of the interior is shared with the other current Porsche models: the Panamera, Cayman and 911.

Interestingly, the wheelbase of the latest car has been extended by almost five centimeters but overall length remains approximately the same as the outgoing model, giving the car a much more balanced appearance.

Since its introduction, Porsche has delivered close to a quarter million Boxsters and the latest incarnation is sure to add to this tally in the forthcoming years. 

The Boxster S is priced at $975,000, but equiped with the usual options this rises to $1,223,971.

 
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© 2018 Jeff Heselwood. All rights reserved.
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