If you’re one of those people who jokingly refer to the Porsche Boxster as “the poor man’s Porsche”, then I’m confident you’ve never driven one. This facetious term was given to the Boxster because it was purchased by those who couldn’t quite afford the next tier of car, the Carrera.
But I took this so-called “poor man’s Porsche” on the road, and suddenly forgot about all that nonsense. The second generation Boxster, also known as the 987, is a beautiful piece of machinery. The car looks fantastic and driving it is an absolute pleasure.
At-a-glance, the 987 Boxster looks akin to it’s previous generation, the 986. However, upon closer inspection, you may notice upgraded headlights, larger side vents, and a beautifully upgraded interior. The headlights are no longer the loathed “fried-egg” headlights of the first generation Boxster; an upgrade that many have rejoiced over. The front-end of the car looks very 911-esque, which really makes the Boxster look quite aggressive.
If you’re set on the looks of the 911, then the Boxster might not be for you. The Porsche Boxster looks closer to that of a spaceship versus that Carrera a bit of a spaceship-look to it being that the cabin sits in the middle of body. But I still really like how it looks. The gorgeous features are present from the front of the car, all the way to the rear. Even the stunning 17″ alloy wheels fit the bill, looking like they were made just to fit the Boxster.
Once you step inside the cabin, you’ll realize that the interior is just as good-looking. The interior is much more refined now in the second generation Boxster. The first gen’s interior leaned more on the side of sporty, however with this generation, the focus seemed to be more on elegance.
There’s not much for the driver to be distracted with in the cabin. All of the gauges are clear and easy to read with the only other controls mainly on the center dash. The steering wheel is simply beautiful to look at; the leather around the steering wheel is hard to the touch, yet still comfortable to hold while steering.
The seats are wrapped in supple leather that hugs you as you sit down in them. I did feel a bit uncomfortable with the seat pushing into my upper torso and shoulders, but it still provided support everywhere else. Everything about the interior just screams quality. Just looking at the fit and finish of all of the materials in the Boxster, it is apparent that Porsche takes pride in the quality of its interiors.
The Bose Surround Sound audio system sounds quite good and the radio and climate controls are premium looking. The rocker switches have great tactile feedback. It’s easy to select between functions, and the button color contrasts well with the grey-textured background of the fascia.
The rest of the interior is very solid and appears to be quite durable. For a car that is just over 10 years old, I didn’t hear one rattle or squeak during my time with the car.
The shift knob feels superb; it is round up top and more square below. Normally I prefer a fully leather-wrapped shift knob with more rounded edges, but it felt wonderful on any shifts.
If I gripped the shift knob with my palm on round portion, I had a really good feel, yet the shifts were comfortable and controlled. When I wanted to relax during shifting, I’d hold the knob between my middle and ring finger. The inside of my hand wrapped the ball-portion of the knob, and my fingers sat just along the squared-off bottom portion of the shift knob. Shifting in any of these positions simply felt comfortable, yet precise and controlled.
The shifter is notchy and if that is what you like then you will love shifting the Boxster into each and every one of its gears. There was some uncertainty between the neutral and 1st gear positions, but it’s likely newer bushings would firm up the shifting operation.
The cupholders are unique to the Boxsters and Carreras of this time. It’s a nice feature to have the cupholders hidden and out-of-sight when they are not in use. Push in on the tray button and the two cupholders pop out, ready for use. However, the center-of-gravity is higher than those that are located in the center console. As long as you have closed-top beverages, this should not be an issue.
The convertible top opens and closes in only 12 seconds. With the press of a button within the cabin you can open and close the top with ease, even while driving at low-speeds. After fumbling with the uncomfortable manual operation in an older Miata, I just couldn’t imagine owning a convertible without a power-operated convertible top– let alone one that works as well as this one.
So the interior is splendid; what about the performance of the Boxster?
I was pleasantly surprised from the moment I turned the key in the ignition. Instantly, the 2.7 liter flat six engine roars to life with the exhaust doing a superb job in accentuating the aggressive tone of the vehicle. Revving the engine produces that familiar flat six melodious rasp that I love so dearly.
The Boxster urges you to stomp on the accelerator every time you drive. The throttle response is quick; this makes the car feel aggressive. As expected, the car has a linear power-band due to having a naturally-aspirated engine. The car produces 245 hp and 201 ft-lbs of torque while weighing 2987 lbs.
If you can get your hands on an S-version, you’ll get an extra 50 horses and 50 ft-lbs of torque, but let me tell you: the base model Porsche is more than capable on its own.
Combine the linear power-band of its engine and its amazing balance and handling around the corners, and you have yourself an amazing sports car that is an absolute pleasure to drive. No matter how aggressive you take the corners, the car feels glued to the asphalt from entry to exit. The steering is firm and is very responsive to the driver’s inputs. The 4-wheel disc brakes exhibits excellent braking and has enough force to stop the car quickly and effectively.
It’s obvious that this car is made for these types of drives, but what about everyday driving? Commuting is not bad, although there is some road noise that is audible through the soft convertible top. However, with the engine mounted right behind you, the engine is what you hear when you’re stepping on it.
Also, look at how much trunk space there is. Since the engine is mid-mounted, you are provided with not only a trunk space, but also a “frunk” (front trunk). Both have a decent amount of room as you can see in the photos below. There is also some limited space behind the seats that can fit a small backpack or two on each side, but keep in mind this is a two-seater so you’ll be sacrificing seating comfort with this space.
I think it goes without saying that the Porsche Boxster is a ton of fun to drive especially when taking long curvy roads. The route I took consisted of long scenic stretches of the Great Highway, and the turns on Highway 84 up to Four Corners in Woodside. The power is not what you’re used to seeing in today’s sports cars, but it surely has enough to feel quick.
The Porsche Boxster’s bread-and-butter is its superb handling and balance. Any sort of spirited driving that involves lots of cornering is where this car shines. It’s these kinds of roads and this car that makes me want to go out every weekend and just drive.
|Vehicle Type||Mid-engine, RWD, 2-passenger, 2-door convertible|
|Engine||2.7 Liter DOHC 24V H6|
|Output||245 hp @ 6400 rpm, 201 lb-ft @ 4700 rpm|
|0-60 mph||5.6 sec. (Motor Trend)|
|1/4 mile||14.1 sec. (Motor Trend)|
|Curb Weight||2877 lb.|
|Turning circle||36.4 ft.|
|Length x Width x Height||171.6 x 70.9 x 50.9 in.|
|Brakes||4-Wheel Disc with ABS
Cross-drilled in front
|Fuel Economy (EPA City/Hwy)||20/29 mpg|
|Fuel Type||Gasoline: Unleaded Premium|
|Fuel Capacity||Fuel Tank: 16.9 gal.|