I am aware that I have already raved about the new Boxster on these pages, but at the launch the only available cars were Boxster S models, most with Porsche’s PDK transmission.
Now I have driven the standard Boxster with the standard six-speed manual gearbox. At £37,589 it is the cheapest car Porsche makes.
If anything it’s even better. Compared to the previous generation, its engine has shrunk from 2.9 litres to 2.7, but power has actually risen to 261bhp which, in a car weighing just 1310kg, is more than enough. I never found myself wishing for greater urge, only more time behind its wheel.
Unlike the Ferrari 458 Spider reviewed on page 116, there was no detectable structural shake or shudder on the worst roads I could throw at it, nothing to interfere with the sublime feed of information flowing from car to driver.
The Boxster has now progressed to a position where there’s not much point comparing it to traditional Mercedes-Benz and BMW classmates because if you care at all about driving it’s not even in the same postcode anymore. A more informative and, for Porsche, awkward comparison is between this basic Boxster and the new 911, the cheapest of which is almost double the price.
The 911 is quicker of course, but I care far less about that than the fact the Boxster’s six-speed manual transmission is far sweeter than the 911’s seven-speed. More pertinently still, the Boxster is a far more accessible car. It’s not that it has less grip and will therefore slide around at lower speeds, rather that unlike the 911 it doesn’t require you to be trying to outrun the law before its chassis comes alive. One of the joys of an older 911 is that it can be enjoyed at all speeds and effort levels.
All of which leads us somewhere we’ve not visited since before the Boxster was born in 1996: a place where the cheapest Porsche you can buy is also the best. It sounds strange I know, but I believe it to be true.
Engine: 2.7 litres, six cylinders, petrol
Top Speed: 164mph
Power: 261bhp at 6700rpm
Fuel/co2: 34.4mpg, 192g/km