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#100963 - 21st Nov 2004 3:29pm Porsche : Boxster (2005-)
Scooby Offline
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Registered: 9th Nov 2003
Posts: 5327
Loc: Birkenhead, Wirral.


  • Money well spent, After its introduction in 1996, the Boxster helped a struggling Porsche back on the long road to recovery with over 160,000 units sold to date. Now, with the launch of the second generation Boxster, the company is booming. Since 1996, its share price has increased a huge 858 percent (not a typo, by the way). And for the first time, Porsche has recorded a pre-tax profit in excess of one billion Euros.





  • So why should you care unless you happen to be a stock holder? Well, under its breath Porsche admits that with its vastly improved financial position, it has spent a very great deal more money developing this second-generation Boxster than it did on the first. So even though a quick glance might convince you that nothing much has changed, there isn't a single body panel carried over from the old car. Not even the windscreen is the same, and overall, 80 percent of the parts and components that make up a Boxster are new.

    The idea was to 'butch up' the styling by swelling the wings, which are larger to accommodate a wider track. The nose has been restyled, too, with individual units for the headlights and larger, more aggressive air intakes. Also, the doors lose their concave surface, opting instead for a more filled-out, muscular look. Even the sideglass has been elongated to improve visibility out with the roof up.

    This approach is meant to mirror what the company has achieved over 40 years with the 911. That is to say, a timeless design that has been updated in the gentlest, evolutionary fashion. So we better get used to the way this Boxster looks, as Porsche reckons it is as timeless as the 911. It will be with us for a very long time.

    The engines - a 240bhp 2.7 and 280bhp 3.2 for the 'S' - gain more power and low-rev torque response, too. The basic Boxster costs £32,320 and the 'S' £38,720.


RELIABILITY AND QUALITY



  • Although a great deal of the Boxster's componentry is new, the heart of the beast are those proven flat-six engines, developed now to the point where reliability and durability shouldn't be a concern. And 4Car's own owners' reports indicate no serious problems with the Boxster. The new car is also more rigid than before, and that should mean fewer rattles and creaks over a long life. The interior of the new car feels higher quality, too, with soft touch surfaces and less complicated, more geometric panel joins.



IMAGE RATING



  • Arguably, the Boxster has the most publicly acceptable image of the Porsche range. The Cayenne has attracted criticism from Porsche-philes for being an off-roader and not a sportscar, and opprobrium from the rest of the world for being a profligate 4x4. And the 911, while being quite a wonderful thing, is still regarded as a bit in-your-face. The Boxster suffers from none of this, and benefits hugely from that badge.


DRIVING RATING



  • With a more rigid structure that allows the suspension to do its best work, combined with a wider track, the Boxster is even more accomplished on the road. The chassis balance is beautifully neutral, so that fast cornering feels secure and predictable - you never get the feeling that either the front or rear of the car will let go. And then there are the tremendous levels of grip left in reserve - the entry-level Boxster gains bigger wheels, up to 17 inches from 16. And in the interests of driver involvement, Porsche has raised the intervention level of its Porsche Stability Management (PSM) system. This means that the driver can slide the car around more, or set it up for a corner with the brakes, without the PSM laying a heavy hand on the car's dynamic behaviour.

    The Boxster S is also available with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), which offers a very sporting suspension setting that lowers the car 10mm and stiffens things up for serious track day outings. 'Normal' mode allows you to survive regular road journeys with fillings intact.

    For the first time, the Boxster is offered with variable-rate rack and pinion power steering. The variable function means that at a constant straight-line cruise, the steering is less immediately direct, eliminating the 'sneeze factor'. When you press on over a twisting road with big steering inputs, the system becomes more direct for a high degree of steering precision. It works brilliantly and is so subtle than most drivers will never be aware of it.


PERFORMANCE RATING



  • This is a bit of a dilemma for Porsche - if it created a very powerful Boxster, the end result might be fewer 911 sales for the Stuttgart firm. Performance from the standard 240bhp Boxster is stronger than before, though, with 0-62mph in 6.2secs, which is half a second faster. The Boxster S shaves a couple of tenths off, too, with 0-62mph in 5.5secs. Top speeds are 159 and 166mph, respectively. But the most significant change here is with revisions to the engine intake manifolds that improve torque response - subjectively, the Boxster feels a good deal quicker because you need fewer downshifts to access the performance. And while the standard car is available with a five-speed manual, we'd highly recommend going for the optional six-speed box, with its lovely, mechanically precise, short-throw action. You can also specify your Boxster with a Tiptronic automatic with sequential shift buttons mounted on the steering wheel. It is a clumsy, slow reacting device that does a dis-service to these marvellous engines. Get one only if you're more interested in the pose than the drive.

    It's worth noting that Porsche's optional Sports Chrono Package offers, along with a silly looking chronometer sitting on top of the dash, a program that gives more aggressive throttle response and a more abrupt rev limit cut-out. For those times when you're coming over all Schumacher.


SAFETY AND SECURITY RATING



  • Porsche offers a whole raft of active intervention measures to sort you out if you find yourself driving beyond your personal limits, which isn't difficult to do in a Porsche. These include standard-fit Porsche Stability Management, which incorporates a range of brake and throttle interventions in the event of an imminent loss of control. The new Boxster has a stronger structure, too, which should perform better in a crash. The roll-over bars are also stronger, and because they've been raised while the occupants sit lower, they are an extra two inches higher.

    The Boxster comes standard with six airbags. But along with the usual front and side items, Porsche is claiming a world first for roadsters with its head airbags. Basically, these behave like normal curtain airbags that would usually deploy from the car's roof structure, protecting occupant's heads from impact with the sideglass in a side-on impact, but they emerge from the tops of the window sills in the roadster Boxster.


COMFORT AND EQUIPMENT RATING



  • The Boxster is just slightly more expensive than the outgoing model, but both models gain a higher level of standard equipment. The entry-level car, for example, gains 17-inch wheels instead of 16-inchers as standard. Head protection airbags are also standard fit as are a CD player and Porsche Stability Management. Air conditioning is also standard fit, although it will come as a shock to many that Porsche had been charging extra for it on a car at this level in the marketplace.

    The cabin is a very comfortable place to spend time, with greater seat travel and a more adjustable steering wheel. The sideglass has been extended further rearwards, which gives better outward vision and easier entry and exit. And the roof itself has gained another layer of insulation for a quieter cruise. A touch we particularly like is the fact that the Boxster's roof can be lowered at speeds up to 30mph, so no more embarrassing stop-light moments.

    The spare tyre has been replaced by a sealant kit and compressor, which has freed up an extra 20 litres of space in the front boot, and with a rear boot that's surprisingly spacious, the Boxster is more practical than you'd imagine. Inside, beefier and more supportive seats sit lower in the car for a more enveloping feel. And now that the steering wheel is rake as well as reach adjustable, even the very tall will find an ideal driving position.

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#100964 - 21st Nov 2004 3:46pm Re: Porsche : Boxster (2005-)
AX_125 Online   content

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Registered: 10th Nov 2003
Posts: 3793
Loc: Home
That is actually a very sexy car.

Far nicer than the old ones IMO
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