First DriveOptional Sports Chassis turns the standard Porsche Boxster S into a focussed track day blaster
First DriveLike the Boxster S, the standard version's ride, refinement and dazzling chassis make it easily the finest roadster within the reach of modest money
What is it?
This is the facelifted Porsche Boxster S. Porsche has given its mid-engined roadster a host of subtle yet significant visual and mechanical upgrades, in line with its fixed-roof sibling, the Porsche Cayman, which we first drove back in early December.
With BMW getting ready to launch a second-generation Z4 and a soft-top version of the new Nissan 370Z on the way, the introduction of the facelifted Porsche Boxster S is timely.
Holding true to Porsche tradition, the visual changes made to this latest Porsche Boxster S are slight indeed, and will take the Boxster through to 2012, when an all-new model arrives.
As with the recently reworked Porsche Cayman, both Boxsters get a reworked engine, resulting in more power, better economy and reduced emissions.
The base model gets a slightly gutsier 252bhp 2.9-litre horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine, up from 2.7 litres, while the more overtly sporting Porsche Boxster S retains a 3.4-litre engine.
However, the Porsche Boxster S gets direct fuel injection and a host of other enhancements to raise peak power to 306bhp, with torque up by 15lb ft to 265lb ft, although that’s 15bhp and 8lb ft down on the figures Porsche quotes for the Cayman S.
Along with the new engines, the Porsche Boxster S now comes with the option of a seven-speed dual-clutch PDK transmission.
Another interesting development is the option of a limited-slip differential in combination with either 18-inch or 19-inch wheels. This is a complete turnaround from previous models and comes after pressure from owners demanding it.
What’s it like?
Even without a limited-slip differential the new Porsche Boxster S is, frankly, sublime. So good, in fact, that you step out of it after a good back-road thrash and wonder just how Porsche could improve upon it.
The reworked engine brings an added dimension in performance, with improved lower-end response, greater urgency through the mid range and a more linear delivery of power towards the top end.
Most will see the six-speed manual as the obvious choice of gearbox. And with such a slick and precise nature, it’s hard not to see why.
But don’t dismiss the twin-clutch PDK. The automatic operation of the clutch can be over-aggressive as you tip in the power at low speeds, causing some unnecessary driveline shunt, but in all other areas the PDK ’box on the Porsche Boxster S is brilliant. It’s lightning fast and, with an ability to hold on to a given gear all the way to the limiter in manual mode, you’ll never be able to match its operation.
Should I buy one?
Absolutely. Like its fixed-roof cousin, the Porsche Boxster S is one of the most enjoyable performance cars available at any price. And dynamically the Porsche Boxster S is still the king of the roadster brigade.
No rival comes close to matching its overall balance, adjustability, composure and superb braking ability. And the addition of a limited-slip differential now makes it even more involving.