- The Washington Times - Friday, August 8, 2008

The last time I drove a Boxster was nearly 10 years ago and, true to Porsche’s philosophy, changes have been incremental and well thought out. This new version has a subtly-restyled front end with lots of details, none of which takes away from the fact that it’s a Porsche. A Speed Yellow one, that is, and nothing is more eye-catching than driving around in a bright yellow Boxster.

The new Boxster’s 2.7 liter mid-engine is further developed, now yielding 245 horsepower and 201 lb-ft of torque which isn’t bad for a horizontally opposed 6 cylinder engine. It’s water cooled, of course, and makes its power through a host of technologies including variable cam timing and lift and a 2-stage resonance induction system. The accelerator gives you instant response and the car’s 0-60 time is a very respectable 6.2 seconds – if you can find somewhere to run it out where you can’t be seen.

The “soul” of the Boxster is its handling, and when it comes to twisted mountain roads and country byways, very few cars will give you the same combination of stick-to-the-pavement feel without shaking your skeleton loose in the process. The body is incredibly stiff even with the top down and if there’s any cowl shake I couldn’t find it. Snicking the transmission into any of the five (yeah, it’s only got five speeds but you do need to keep the revs up for spirited driving) gears is very smooth and rewarded by a nice exhaust note from the big, single center outlet. The 18-inch wheels with their 235/50 series tires keep the car in perfect control and the Anti-Slip Regulation (ASR) system doesn’t intrude into the fun unless you get beyond your limits, so my advice to any owner is to leave the system turned on. It will make you feel like Schumacher as you hammer into the curves and, if you don’t have many DMV points against you, speeds in excess of 150 are quite attainable.

The Boxster’s soft top fits perfectly and kept things inside bone-dry during some heavy rain spells. Hot weather driving was easily made comfortable by the automatic climate control and the Bose High End sound system worked quite well in such a small cabin. It took awhile to master the radio settings but everything on the dash is within easy reach.

The seating is mostly mechanical with power back adjustments and, as you might expect, kept me well snugged-in for all driving situations. The inside trim was in black, accented by optional yellow lap/shoulder belts.

Overall, I have to give the Boxster high marks as a competitive product against the likes of the BMW Z4 and others. It’s exceptionally well made and will deliver nearly 30 mpg on the highway (20 city) so there’s no reason to feel guilty about owning one.

I like the fact that one can own a high-performance sports car that only costs 14-cents a mile in gas at today’s prices, about the same as what it costs to drive a Camry or Accord.

Ownership costs serious money, as the Boxster’s base price is $45,800. The test car had the optional 18-inch wheels, Bose sound system, automatic climate control, wind deflector and yellow seat belts, so all the extras added up to a total of $51,415 with destination charges.

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