The new Boxster – codenamed 981 – comes with a fully automatic cloth hood, no longer requiring manual assistance. It stows behind the cabin in a fully exposed position, with no need for a tonneau cover.
Porsche hasn’t revealed much detail on the new structure, but officials involved in a prototype ride event attended by Autocar indicate it weighs over 100kg less than the outgoing model’s all-steel body. The base model should weigh less than 1300kg, despite offering more standard equipment.
The aluminium body is aligned to an all-new chassis boasting a longer wheelbase and significantly wider front track. The suspension retains MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link arrangement at the rear, supporting wheels up to 20 inches in diameter – up from 19-inches previously. The bigger wheels can house larger brakes.
The steering is arguably the most significant change to the Boxster’s mechanical make-up. Like the new 911, it eschews hydraulic assistance for a new electro-mechanical system developed in partnership with ZF.
Porsche has provided the 981 Boxster with a downsized base engine. Previously 2.9-litres, the new model adopts a comprehensively reworked horizontally-opposed 2.7-litre six-cylinder.
Despite this, the new base engine produces 10bhp more than its predecessor at 265bhp. Featuring fuel saving features such as automatic stop/start, brake energy recuperation and a thermal management system that dispenses with the gearbox oil cooler, it delivers a claimed 36.7mpg on the combined cycle – a 15 per cent improvement.
The Boxster S retains the same 3.4-litre engine as the current model, revised for greater efficiency. Power climbs by 5bhp to 315bhp and consumption is boosted to a claimed 35.3mpg – up from 30.1mpg.
The new Boxster will be offered with a six-speed manual as standard and an optional seven-speed PDK double clutch gearbox, featuring revised software for what Porsche calls “more rapid and smoother shifts”. The PDK ‘box also has a so-called sailing feature that, like that seen on the 911, decouples the engine during periods of tailing throttle on downhill grades, cutting engine revs to just 700rpm for brief periods of added fuel saving.
With the optional PDK gearbox, the new Boxster will hit 62mph in a claimed 5.7sec with the Boxster S reaching the same benchmark in 5.0sec – a reduction of 0.1sec and 0.2sec respectively. Further gains in straight line performance are promised with Porsche’s optional Sport Chrono package, which brings dynamic gearbox mounts.
Further developments centre around the adoption of Porsche Torque Vectoring, providing the roadster with a mechanical differential, although it is only available on the Boxster S.
The Boxster features an Alcantara interior, 18in alloys, auto stop/start and Sports mode, remote control hood operation, audio CD with 7in colour touch-screen control, a universal audio interface offering MP3 connectivity and a three-year warranty.
The Boxster S adds 19in alloys, partial leather interior and Bi-Xenon headlights in addition to the power advantage of the larger 3.4-litre engine.