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Week at the wheel: Porsche Boxster. Image by Porsche.

Week at the wheel: Porsche Boxster
The new Porsche Boxster is without doubt the best car in its class, but what's the basic model like?

   



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| Week at the Wheel | Porsche Boxster |

Overall rating: 4 4 4 4 4

There's only one reason this particular Boxster only gets four stars - the PDK gearbox. In isolation it's a great unit, but with the base 2.7-litre engine all it does is highlight the lack of low-down urge on offer, something we've not had an issue with in the manual models. Otherwise the new Boxster is a masterstroke; it's engaging, great-looking and fully capable of scaring some of the bigger boys in its class.

Key Facts

Model tested: Porsche Boxster
Pricing: 37,589 (51,996 as tested)
Engine: 2.7-litre flat-six petrol
Transmission: seven-speed dual-clutch automatic (PDK), rear-wheel drive
Body style: two-door roadster
Rivals: Audi TT, BMW Z4, Mercedes-Benz SLK
CO2 emissions: 180g/km
Combined economy: 36.7mpg
Top speed: 162mph
0-62mph: 5.6 seconds (5.5 seconds with Sport Chrono package and Launch Control)
Power: 265hp at 6,700rpm
Torque: 280Nm at 4,500- to 6,500rpm

Inside & Out: 5 5 5 5 5

Gone is the push-me pull-me soap bar looks of the previous generation Boxster that caused so much controversy, replaced with a new model that clearly knows what direction it's heading in. It looks great, every inch the junior supercar rather than poor-man's 911.

The same can be said for the interior, with a delightfully detailed and expertly constructed cabin, the rising transmission tunnel offering an impression that you sit lower than you already do. It's an abject lesson in how to create the perfect driving position, design and construction and for a cabin that feels more special than this you'll need a load of extra cash. But it's not all about thrills, as the Boxster is relatively practical thanks to front and rear boots for a total 280-litre load space.

Ride & Handling: 5 5 5 5 5

To label the Boxster a regular mid-engined sports car in this department would be to do it a disservice; there's none of the spiky handling and response that cars of that type are often criticised for. Even on track you'd have to work hard to get the Porsche to misbehave and wag its tail, so neutral and confidence inspiring is its surfeit of grip and balance.

In fact it's a car that flatters to deceive, your ability to manhandle and abuse the car will look like feats of astonishing driving to your passenger. It reacts better to smooth driving of course, with measured inputs between steering wheel and pedals, repaying you with equally exact and faithful reactions.

It even rides pretty well, our particular car using its optional Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) to mask any imperfections sent through its 20-inch Carrera S wheels (1,942 + 801 for painting if you so desire). This new Boxster is around 35kg lighter than its predecessor too, so it doesn't trouble the standard brakes either - the ceramic items (4,977) are certainly not required on the road.

Engine & Transmission: 4 4 4 4 4

If you want to get anywhere quickly in this Boxster you'll need to rev it out - peak torque doesn't arrive until 4,500rpm and peak power a full 2,200rpm later. Thankfully it's an engine that spins freely, the howling exhaust note (even without the optional sports exhaust) encouraging you to bounce it off the limiter at every available opportunity. In the manual cars we've driven the regular Boxster feels every inch the only car you'd ever need, but with this PDK model it's a slightly different story.

Slotting between each of the six speeds in the manual car only adds to the experience, but despite having another cog to choose from the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic seems to alter the car's character slightly. In fact, such is the change that this particular Boxster just occasionally seems a little slow, the task of revving it out more of a chore than something to revel in. It's a shame, as in isolation both the transmission and engine work beautifully, but if you must have the PDK system we'd advise opting for the more powerful Boxster S instead.

Equipment, Economy & Value for Money: 4 4 4 4 4

This is Porsche's entry-level car with prices starting at just over 37,000, which may seem like a large chunk of money, but compared to similarly capable Audi TTs and BMW Z4s is broadly competitive. The Porsche is much more fun, better built and more exotic feeling than its main rivals anyway.

It's clean too, emitting only 180g/km (making annual tax just 215) and promising over 36mpg, while residuals for Porsche's models are traditionally very strong. Be careful with the options though, as our basic model added over 14,000 of extra kit including the PDK gearbox (1,977), Porsche Torque Vectoring (897), Bi-Xenon headlamps (1,060) and Porsche satnav with iPod integration (2,141) amongst others.


Graeme Lambert - 20 Jan 2013



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2012 Porsche Boxster. Image by Porsche.
 

2012 Porsche Boxster. Image by Porsche.
 

2012 Porsche Boxster. Image by Porsche.
 

2012 Porsche Boxster. Image by Porsche.
 

2012 Porsche Boxster. Image by Porsche.
 

2012 Porsche Boxster. Image by Porsche.
 






 

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