Porsche Boxster

There are a few niggles with this revamped version of the sports car, but you can't help but like it

Porsche. You know, the hedge fund that also makes sports cars which used to be bought by other hedge fund managers until Porsche had the nerve to be cleverer than they are. A few weeks ago, Porsche caused shares of Volkswagen, the company in which it now has a controlling interest, to rocket in value such that VW became, briefly, the world's most valuable car company. The short-sellers were spooked and Porsche is now on track to own three-quarters of its giant cousin.

A senior Porsche spokesman told me that this corralling of shares was not intended to make Porsche fabulously wealthy. Rather, it was done to protect the supply and technology collaborations between the two companies, at risk if outside investors were to break up the Volkswagen group.

Porsche has returned to its primary purpose and launched a new car. Or a revised one, at least: it's a makeover for the 12-year-old Boxster. Something similar has happened to the Porsche Cayman, and it involves new engines, revised suspension settings, some subtle styling changes, and the option of a Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe, or double-clutch gearbox. We, like Porsche, shall abbreviate it to PDK.

The Boxster, from £40,388, is unusual in being an open car cheaper than its closed relative. It's all about market positioning, which presumably makes the Cayman a very profitable car because it must cost less to make than the Boxster, lacking the latter's folding hood mechanism. Mechanically they are almost identical, except that both of the new engines produce 10bhp less in the Boxster than they do in the Cayman in a token effort towards creating a power hierarchy.

These engines are lighter, simpler, bigger in capacity, more powerful and more frugal than before. The base-model version makes 255bhp from its 2.9 litres, while the Boxster S has 310bhp from 3.4 litres, the better to justify its £6,684 price premium. As with the Cayman S, the Boxster S also gains direct fuel injection.

So we're talking about a Cayman with the advantage of an openable roof? Not quite. The Boxster is a tamer car although still a very quick one. The flat-six engine is quieter, still with its distinctive hum and remarkable smoothness but lacking the aural edge that makes you want to take a Cayman and just drive. The mid-engined design configuration gives impeccable balance and great agility, but the Boxster's steering is duller and more aloof.

Softer suspension and a less rigid structure are why. That's understandable in an open car, and in isolation the Boxster is one of the more engaging roadsters you'll find. Driven hood up, though, it is compromised. At speed there's a low-frequency roar, quiet but insistent, at ear level which drowns out the engine's tuneful but muted note, although its vocals are roused if you work the engine hard. And, with no rear shelf or meaningful space behind the seats, the Boxster is sorely short of stowage places.

You lower the hood by releasing a handle above the interior mirror, then pressing a button for electrically powered stowage. Now the Boxster is in its element; you hear the world outside and the engine's aural subtleties. Wind rush still drowns it, but you stay snug with a potent heater and heated seats and imagine you're driving a glamorous Porsche sports racer from the 1950s. That's what Porsche would like you to think, anyway.

There is, however, no point to the firmed-up suspension settings in the Sport and Sport Plus modes that come with the optional Sport Chrono pack. Those modes sharpen the throttle response and sequential PDK gearshifts pleasingly, but you had better separately switch the suspension back to normal unless a) you're on a racetrack or b) you know a good chiropractor.

Likeable car, the Boxster. Always was. Unfortunately, Boxsters with manual transmission, normal suspension or the smaller engine weren't available on the test drive. And I'm fairly sure I would like the purity of that combination more.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
Gabriel Agbonlahor, Alexis Sanchez, Alan Pardew and Graziano Pelle
footballAfter QPR draw, follow Villa vs Arsenal, Newcastle vs Hull and Swansea vs Southampton
News
news
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... with this review
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
New Articles
i100
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Cover Supervisor

    £75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

    Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

    Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

    £22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

    SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

    £1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam