There must be very little doubt that the Boxster is the best handling convertible any five figure sum of money can buy.

While the delivery of its performance is merely preferable to that of any other car in the class, when talk turns to pure handling ability, it blows everything else that even most the imaginative of minds might conceivably describe as opposition into oblivion.

Steve Cropley

Editor-in-chief
It's lighter and more balanced than rivals like the Z4

The starting point is a structure so stiff – despite that wheelbase extension – that all the usual talk of compromised rigidity is utterly redundant. Unless you decide to go off-roading in your Boxster, there is no apparent penalty for its convertible configuration at all.

What’s more, this car is light: at 1310kg it’s 165kg lighter than either the equivalent Audi TTS or BMW Z4. But most of all, what it has and they lack is balance.

You expect a mid-engined car to generate buckets of grip because its major masses are all centralised within the wheelbase. What is less easy to predict from a configuration designed to lower the polar moment of inertia is that such a car should offer also handling that is not only neutral but also relentlessly forgiving.

The limit is high, high enough to be beyond the reach of most sane people on most dry roads in the UK most of the time. Body control is outstanding, good enough to question the wisdom a spending a near four figure sum on Porsche’s PASM active suspension management.

We’d also suggest you think long and hard before spending another similar sum on torque vectoring and the limited slip differential that comes with it. For track driving it’s a must, but if the car’s going to be almost exclusively on the road, we’d leave the set up as passive as possible.

In any event, if you do lose grip it will be at the front and come with breakaway characteristics as gentle as we’ve seen in a mid-engine car. Now the Boxster S has a decisive advantage because you can use its additional torque to bring the back of the car into play and neutralise the tendency to understeer.

As for the steering it is of course accurate and linear and comes with a pleasingly large wheel and slow rack. But the feel it provides needs to be qualified: for an electrically assisted system it’s as good as they come, but it has not yet recovered the ground lost when Porsche abandoned the old hydraulic arrangement for the current generation of Boxster.

People don’t buy cars like this for the silkiness of their ride, but the Boxster’s still pretty good, absorbing more than enough of the every day imperfections of our roads to provide no credible grounds for purchase to be denied on comfort grounds alone.

Top 5 Sports roadsters

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    1
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