Who am I to tell you how to drive? As any Porsche staffer, PR or otherwise, will tell you that their excellent dual clutch automatic gearbox (PDK) is, by all measures, faster than even the greatest driver at the controls of a manual. But then, that doesn’t necessarily have any bearing on what a driver might actually enjoy more– blipping through gears at the flick of the fingers (or not, the paddles are yet another personal choice) or slinging the stick through the gates (not in the strict sense, but you take my meaning).
I talk to owners, journalists, and professional drivers all the time who remain nostalgic for the golden age of the manual transmission. That’s a term I use lightly since, while the ubiquity of the standard box has fallen off, it’s arguable that we are seeing some of the best manual transmission ever built in this same era when they are becoming scarce in the marketplace. So it’s worth noting that the new Boxster, while now a 4 cylinder turbo, still comes standard with a manual transmission— much to the relief of certain buyers.
2016 takes the Boxter S to new heights of speed, precision, and grip. And while Porsche loves to break out that aforementioned list at the dealership, they also have a habit of packing certain iterations of their cars with so many tasty refinements as to make buying ala carte something of a fool’s errand. Although really, quite a number of Middle East Porsche buyers simply want what they want, and cost is only a minor consideration once they cross that threshold.
The headline here is the newly developed four-cylinder flat engine with turbocharging. The 718 Boxster develops 300 hp of power from two litres of engine displacement, while the 718 Boxster S manages 350 hp thanks in part to its variable turbine geometry. You might be wondering how much you’ll feel that difference off the line and the, not very satisfying, answer is: somewhat. It might beg the question, how much is it worth to beat your friend, cousin, or boss etc, in a drag race, assuming they have a Boxster, or it might be more important to you to know that you will clearly hear the difference.
According to the stopwatch department in Stuttgart, the Sport Chrono package, PDK equipped Boxster will do the 0-100 battle charge in an impressive 4.7 seconds, thundering up to a top speed of 275kph. The Boxster S shaves that to 4.2 seconds. Handling all that power in context, available Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) offers several levels of dampening to suit your driving mood. The Boxster will go from nearly track day stiff, to lazy Saturday cruise in the push of a button, making it a decent daily driver for those of us unencumbered by children, large groups of friends who insist on riding along, or acute shopping addictions.
Riding on 19 inchers (20’s are available) the car evinces what my instructor at Porsche Sport Driving School in Leipzig once called the “planted Porsche prerogative.” Or something like that, his accent was kind of thick. The point is the Boxster S enjoys a robust purchase on the tarmac that will have you whipping through the corners like Rocky IV viewed on fast forward. Like any good sports car, the Boxster S makes you want to push yourself and the limits of traction that much harder. Good job the telegraphs the edge well in advance, keeping you on the road and out of trouble if you’re willing to listen to this fabulously feedback friendly whip.
On the road the Boxster takes on two lane winding roads with confidence and grace. Always cool under pressure, the car reacts to various road conditions smoothly, and always feels honed and ready for anything. Tighten up the dampers in Sport mode and the appreciable firmness is useful but not particularly jarring unless you hit a large bump unawares— not that I’d ever do such a thing.
Inside the 718 Boxster is the familiar Porsche interior environment, now upgraded with new elements such as the instrument panel. Another central element of the new interior layout is the Porsche Communication Management unit whihc makes it easier than ever to bump tunes from your smart phone. There are plenty of upgardes on offer— the navigation module with voice control is available, but we didn’t get around to trung it. In addition, the Connect Plus module is available as well; providing extended online services, if for some reason you’re not busy caning the beast into pure motoring fury.
Ultimately, this car is a more affordable alternative to the 911 that sacrifices neither track day agility nor the comfort you need to take a serious road trip in this comely beast. It’s a Porsche anyone could love, and definitely one I would love to spend more time with. Hmm, what’s the going rate for a pint of blood?
Words: Adel Habib | Photos: Jorge Ferrari