We’d be lying if we said we could feel the benefit of the new Boxster S’s extra 5bhp. Porsche may have reduced weight so that the total power-to-weight gain is 9bhp per tonne, but it’s still a negligible performance gain – mostly because the allotment of torque is unchanged.
But then the Boxster S wasn’t, and isn’t, a car in need of more get up and go. Porsche’s lightning-quick optional PDK gearbox and amazingly effective launch control system make this a very rapid car from a standstill. The Audi TT RS coupé we tested in 2010, with its significant power, torque and traction advantages, was no faster through either 60mph or 100mph. Or to put it another way, the 911 3.4 we tested a few months ago (a manual without launch control) was a tenth slower than this car to 60mph and would need a full quarter of a mile before hauling in its little brother.
Flexibility, response and creamy smoothness are key to the motive appeal of the car’s flat six. You can rev this turbine masterpiece beyond 7500rpm without the faintest complaint, and once above 5000rpm it’s as potent as any motor in the class.
Porsche’s excellent paddleshift transmission makes keeping that engine on song an entirely enjoyable task. In manual mode the gearbox can drop two ratios without pausing between them, or left to shift by its own logic, it’s laid back in Normal mode and quick witted in Sport.
If there’s one area to criticise, it’s the tendency of that gearbox to interrupt your enjoyment of the powertrain when it ‘coasts’. Like the latest 911, the Boxster’s PDK ’box disconnects from the wheels when you lift the throttle at a cruise. This allows the engine to idle and reduces fuel consumption, but coming back on to the throttle causes a small but unwelcome shunt in the driveline. Thankfully, Sport mode disables this coasting.