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Porsche Boxster 2012 review

Styling of third generation Porsche Boxster is a solid evolution of the previous models.

Is the Porsche Boxster’s shape headed down the same path as the 911 in longevity?

It looks that way, Porsche purists are extremely vocal if they feel the styling of new 911s doesn’t follow traditional paths, resulting in striking similarities between the recently launched 911 and the 1963 original. We love this continuation of tradition that’s so welcome in these ever-changing times.

VALUE

With a recommended retail price list that begins at just $107,500 (plus on roads), the new-generation Porsche Boxster provides a pure bred machine for a modest outlay.

TECHNOLOGY

As before, you can buy a standard Boxster or a high-performance Boxster S. The standard car now runs a new-design 2.7-litre flat-six powerplant with direct fuel injection in place of the manifold injection 2.9-litre of the previous model. Despite its smaller capacity the new unit has 15 per cent more power (now 195 kW), yet uses 13 to 15 per cent less petrol.

Opting of the Porsche Boxster S puts a revised version of the existing 3.4-litre flat-six just behind your seats. With 232 kW of power and 2360 Nm of torque it too uses less fuel than in its superseded incarnation.

Transmission options are six-speed manual and seven-speed double-clutch PDK. We sampled both; while the automatic is faster and more economical our preference is for the extra driving pleasure provided by the manual. Your call...

The two powerplants have switchable stop-start in the interests of emission reduction. The engine starts almost imperceptibly so we hope most drivers don’t feel the need to disable the system.

DESIGN

The third generation Porsche Boxster, tagged the 981, is taking the same styling route as the just superseded one. Look at the air intakes in front of the rear wheels and the shape of the bonnet and headlights to see what we mean. At the tail there’s more change in the design, with a strong style line that runs the full width, with the taillights even following the near-horizontal shape of the metal.

Talking of metal, more aluminium has been used than ever before with the bonnet, rear deck and door skins all benefitting from the lightweight material. The new Boxster is bigger than before and would have weighed substantially more, but the aluminium, combined with other weight saving measures has trimmed the weight by around 25 to 35 kg depending on model.

DRIVING

On the road the latest Boxster is even better than previous models in its balance and nimble handling. The use of a mid-rear engine, rather than the full-rear unit as in the 911, gives it close to perfect weight distribution.

Using a test route behind Brisbane that involved more than its fair share of demanding hills and curves (excellent!) Porsche Australia demonstrated the extreme competence of its new baby. The Boxster simply hung on to the surfaces at speeds well in excess of those achievable by anything other than an ultra-expensive pure supercar.

The electrically assisted power steering (used to trim fuel use and emissions) provides better feedback than any similar units we have tested in other cars and really does feel as though your hands are in direct touch with the road.

Depending on the model and options chosen there are various adjustments for the suspension and steering setups (as well as for the engine and transmission). So Boxster can be tuned to provide a comfortable ride, a firm one or a full on racetrack hardness. Some sharp potholes and bumps did send a shudder through the car at times when on Sport setting, but we have felt a lot worse in other convertibles.

Both engines have excellent response and noise levels that are sure to bring a smile to your face. The way the Porsche engines sound during gearchanges and on throttle liftoff is just superb. Even in speed regulated Australia you can get a lot of pleasure from dropping the roof (it only takes nine seconds and is fully automatic) and just listening to your progress.

VERDICT

Interestingly, the 2.7 doesn’t lag all that far behind the 3.4 in its feel due to acceleration with a nicely continuous feel. So if you’re on a tight budget and not interested in fanging everywhere you may find it more than meets your needs.

If you’re halfway interested in buying a new Boxster may we suggest you contact your favourite Porsche dealer asap? The Boxster is selling its socks off in other countries and there’s a likelihood supply could be constrained for much of the remainder of 2012.

Pricing guides

$47,735
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$26,500
Highest Price
$68,970

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
(base) 2.7L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $34,200 – 44,220 2012 Porsche Boxster 2012 (base) Pricing and Specs
S 3.4L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $41,000 – 52,470 2012 Porsche Boxster 2012 S Pricing and Specs
S Black Edition 3.4L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $40,600 – 51,920 2012 Porsche Boxster 2012 S Black Edition Pricing and Specs
Spyder 3.4L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $46,700 – 59,070 2012 Porsche Boxster 2012 Spyder Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide

$26,500

Lowest price, based on third party pricing data

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