The inexperienced will easily diss the Porsche Boxster as the German automaker's entry-level sports car, and that its performance falls short of the legendary 911. However, these people fail to realize that the Boxster is more than a good baseline from which to know what Porsche is all about. It's time to get to know this roadster more intimately then.
There's a subtle ridge on the edge of the front fenders where it meets the hood, differentiating it from the roundness of the 911. The air intakes, meanwhile, highlight Porsche's mid-engine principle. The bulged fenders and the wide track give the roadster a muscular stance.
The taillights blend with the wing, which, at 120kph, raises automatically to keep the car stable. You can also manually operate it if you wish to do so. Overall, clean and simple lines adorn the Boxster.
The car has 18-inch wheels, with 235/45 rubber at the front and 265/45 at the rear. The friendly ground clearance makes the Porsche easy to live with, without having to worry about speed bumps too much.
Operating the electric roof takes roughly 9sec while traveling up to 50kph.
The inside is classy yet understated; black leather underlines the unassuming appearance. There's no fanciness here--everything has a purpose. The seats are snug and supportive. You sit low with the bulged fenders guiding you where to point the car.
The center-mounted rev counter is typical of the brand, and looking at it just makes you want to go. Most functions such as the operation of the roof are housed in the central tunnel. An electronic handbrake is situated underneath the ignition on the left side.
The Boxster also boasts practicality--the boot volume at the rear can easily put a compact sedan's to shame. Considering its width and length, it will probably even rival a midsize sedan's. The front, meanwhile, is deep enough to swallow two cases of soda or beer atop each other, or a decently sized cooler.
The mid-mounted 2.7-liter flat-six has an output of 261hp and 280Nm. It's mated to the Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK), which is simply the company's dual-clutch gearbox.
Throttle response is instantaneous yet smooth. The PDK is likewise smooth at low speeds. Paddle shifters would feel more natural, though.
With a little over 300km covered over a weekend, combined (city and highway) fuel consumption is a respectable 10km/L.
RIDE AND HANDLING
With the two-seater mid-engine layout, the Boxster is all about balance. An output of 261 horses may sound quite mild, but Porsches hardly ever have anything in excess while keeping things calculated. On mountain roads such as Tanay in Rizal, you can use the momentum of the Boxster on sweeping bends, provided you're aggressive with the throttle upon approach. It's easy to gauge as to where you're going to position this Porsche at the entry of a corner. Because it has perfect balance distribution, you can brake late (Porsche brakes are among the best in the business) while attacking the corner in neat fashion and getting good corner exit. There's just so much grip. Steering is also very precise.
Pushing the Boxster feels natural, meaning you can free your mind as to how to tackle a curve or a corner in relation to the car's balance and weight, and when to step on the throttle. It's a very rewarding sports car.
A two-seater roadster that has an electric roof is simply magical. It may not be practical (practicality is meant to be thrown out of the window with such a car) given our usual surroundings, and a hard top/coupe may make for a stronger argument, but an early-morning or late-afternoon run with the top down makes all the difference. You're one with the car with the sound of the engine magnified. There is nothing like it.
It's hard to find a sports car that is as balanced as--and feels as graceful as--the Boxster. At P5.35 million, it's not exactly cheap. But the fact that it can match or even outdo exotics that's twice or thrice as expensive makes the latter even less sensible. Get behind the wheel and you'll see what we mean.
SPECS: PORSCHE BOXSTER
Engine: 2.7-liter DOHC H6
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch
Power: 261hp @ 6,700rpm
Torque: 280Nm @ 4,500-6,500rpm
Photos by Jason dela Cruz