The Porsche Boxster remains unequivocally at the top of the roadster class for handling purity and driver reward. Electro-mechanical power steering is no more to be feared here than it was with the 991 911, and the car’s extra size seems to have taken almost nothing away from the impression of poise and agility that it possesses.
Although the car grips harder and corners more sweetly than any of its immediate rivals, the really striking aspect of the Boxster’s dynamic temperament is how undemanding it is and how easily its unflappable composure is delivered. Body control is never in question and under most everyday conditions its hold on the road is consistently strong, yet it doesn’t need the trolleyjack chassis of, say, an Audi TT RS. The Boxster’s sporting brio is so effortless that it’s almost uncanny.
Porsche’s new optional PASM adaptive damping system must get some credit here. With four new vertical chassis sensors, it seems capable of making the car as supple as a family saloon when cruising, while reacting quickly enough to restrain the car’s mass when you barrel into a fast bend. It’s a definite improvement even on the system it replaces, which was already a good one.
Forget about scuttle shake and chassis flex: over the course of a week in the car and close to 1000 test miles, we never encountered a hint of either.
We did, however, notice a slight deterioration in the Boxster’s balance of grip in wet conditions, when understeer flagged up the car’s limits more persistently than we’d have liked (see ‘On the limit’, below left). This is more likely to be a quirk of the particular wheels and tyres of our test car than a symptom of any overarching dynamic malady, but it’ll take further tests to know for sure.