The automobile serves us in many ways. There are cars that exist purely as a mode of transportation and cars that exist purely to impress all who behold them. Some cars make a political statement, some make a fashion statement and still others exist purely to showcase their manufacturer's most sophisticated technological advances. And then there is the Porsche Boxster, a car that can do all these things but exists to do only one: please you.
The Boxster roadster is Porsche's most affordable car. It is a stunning automobile whose alluring body seems to stir passion even amongst those who care little for cars. There is something timeless about this machine and it's easy to see how on a warm summer evening you could lose yourself behind the wheel of this car for hours on end.
The Boxster competes directly with such fine drivers cars as the Audi TT, BMW Z4 and Honda S2000. It is a two-person roadster with a retractable soft top, a mid-engine design and an unusual six-cylinder design that lays the pistons in horizontal opposition to each other. It is this design that spawns the Boxster name; the engine itself is actually known as a "boxer" because when the pistons are in motion, they resemble the gloved hands of two boxers swinging wildly at each other. As the engine is low and wide, its design gives the Boxster an uncommonly low center of gravity which in turn gives the car its amazing road holding abilities. Balance, not power, is the key to a truly successful roadster.
The base Boxster's 2.7-liter engine develops 228 horsepower; its light weight and linear torque curve (power comes on strongest right around 4000 rpm) send the car into a constant velocity sweep that will have you grinning wider than the Cheshire Cat. As you row through the 5-speed manual's tight pattern, you'll feel completely in control of this car as if it were now a part of you. For those who need even more of an adrenaline fix than the base car can provide, Porsche offers the Boxster S; the most powerful Porsche roadster ever to wear the galloping stallion crest. The S derives its power from a larger 3.2-liter power plant that employs a host of innovative technologies including variable-valve timing with four valves per cylinder; coupled with a sophisticated engine management microprocessor, the Boxster S is capable of producing 260 horsepower. No matter which you decide upon, you'll be getting a car that can rip through turns with unyielding grip yet still exhibit all the playfulness for which rear-wheel drive cars are noted.
Another performance feature worth checking out is the optional Tiptronic five-speed automatic transmission. With this transmission in place, you can drive your Boxster as an automatic or you can choose to shift gears for yourself, only without having to use a clutch pedal. To operate the Tiptronic, you simply set the console-mounted shift lever to the M position and then tap the steering-wheel mounted shift paddles up or down depending on the direction you wish the gearbox to go. While many car companies offer similar systems, most have too much lag time between shifts to make them truly effective during high-speed performance driving; this is not the case with the Boxster's Tiptronic shift, which changes up and downshifts the second you tell it to.
Securely inside the Boxster, you'll find a simple yet elegant interior that befits the car's exterior. The gauges are grouped in an overlapping trio placing the tachometer center stage. The radio and heating controls are just off to the driver's right, situated slightly lower than the cluster but still within easy reach. Equally wonderful are the leather-covered bucket seats that on first glance don't seem altogether special but become indispensable after your first open road romp. Some other notable features that will enhance your driving pleasure include heated seats, a fabulous Bose audio system and a retractable rear wind deflector.
During everyday use, you'll find that the Boxster returns a very livable ride. With the convertible top in place, wind and road noise are kept at bay thanks to a generous application of insulation and to the new glass rear window that also greatly improves visibility. The power top retracts in about 12 seconds and stows itself behind the built-in roll-over protection bars.The Boxster offers an optional aluminum hard top that can be quickly secured into place creating a watertight seal that lets you drive your Boxster year-round without fear of the elements. As for storage space, you'll find a small luggage compartment under the front hood and another around back, just behind the engine.