Eight years after its first appearance, the Boxster is now entering its second generation – and in the process it is becoming even more dynamic, more sporting, more self-confident. Indeed, this is no surprise considering that almost 80 per cent of all parts and components on the new Boxster model series are new: Larger wheels and a wider track clearly symbolise the increase in power and performance. The 2.7-litre six-cylinder featured in the Boxster now develops maximum output of 176 kW (240 bhp), 8 kW (12 bhp) more than before. Maximum output of the Boxster S, in turn, with engine capacity remaining unchanged at 3.2 litres, is now up from 191 kW (260 bhp) to 206 kW (280 bhp). Acceleration from 0 – 100 km/h in the Boxster now comes in 6.2 seconds, the Boxster S completing the same exercise in 5.5 seconds. This extra power, combined with enhanced aerodynamics and improved streamlining, provides a higher top speed on even less fuel, the Boxster now reaching a maximum speed of 256 km/h or 159 mph on composite fuel consumption in the EU cycle of 9.6 litres/100 km premium plus (29.4 mpg Imp). Top speed of the Boxster S, by comparison, is 268 km/h or 166 mph on average fuel consumption of 10.4 litres, equal to 27.1 mpg Imp. And it almost goes without saying that both models outperform the EU4 and LEV II (USA) emission standards.
This enhanced performance clearly means even more driving pleasure on the road. Not only the wider track up by 24 – 35 millimetres (0.94 – 1.38.’) depending on the combination of wheels and tyres, but also
the larger wheels on both the Boxster and Boxster S as well as the improvement of torsional and flexural stiffness, power steering with a variable transmission ratio, an even shorter and crisper gearshift, and, not least, all-new seats with enhanced side support all contribute to this improvement of driving pleasure. Active safety, in turn, is enhanced by an optimised brake system and PSM Porsche Stability Management now featured as standard and serving, inter alia, to re-stabilise the car on under- or oversteer by applying the brakes specifically on individual wheels and intervening in the engine management system.
The higher level of standard equipment – including, inter alia, larger wheels, PSM, air conditioning, a CD-radio, and an on-board computer – does not mean a higher price. On the contrary: Taking the level of equipment into account, the new models come at a price down by six per cent (Boxster S) and, respectively, even nine per cent (Boxster) versus their predecessors.
New Face, Similar Features
The new front end of the Boxster clearly and proudly boasts that characteristic look of a Porsche sports car, while at the same time retaining that typical Boxster face. A characteristic feature is the new headlights concept with separate main headlights and front light units complete with integrated foglamps. Another significant sign of distinction versus the former models is to be admired at the rear, the dividing line between the rear panel and the actual body of the car no longer running beneath, but rather above the rear light clusters. The new models come with the same characteristic exhaust tailpipe in the middle of the car already to be admired before and serving, again as on the previous models, to distinguish between the ‘basic’ and the S-version: The Boxster comes with round dual tailpipes. From the side, the larger wheels are obviously a particular sign of distinction, the ‘basic’ version now running as standard on 17-inch wheels, the Boxster S being fitted with 18-inch wheels in regular trim. And as an option three different types of 19-inch wheels are available for both models in the range.
Further signs of distinction are the larger air scoops up front of the rear axle and the new, protruding door handles. A further point is that all concave surfaces, for example on the door panel of the former model, have now been dropped. Instead, the side walls of the new Boxster ‘bulge’ out clearly and proudly as a strong sign of power and performance. Yet a further change in design becomes clear as soon as you open the roof, the higher rollbar now flattened at the top being moved back a few centimetres to provide more space behind the seat backrests.
The new Boxster series, already best-in-class, now comes with even more outstanding aerodynamic qualities even though the frontal area of the car is larger than before due to the wider wheel arches as well as the larger and wider wheels: Drag coefficient is down on the ‘basic’ model from 0.31 to 0.29, with a corresponding improvement on the Boxster S from 0.32 to 0.30. At the same time Porsche’s development engineers have been able to minimise lift forces on the front and rear axles, giving this outstanding sports car safe and stable driving behaviour even at very high speeds. Inter alia, this is attributable to aerodynamic refinement both front and rear as well as the redesigned rear spoiler moving up automatically at speed.
The underfloor of Porsche’s new sports car is now fully covered, the area covered by panels beneath the car thus being enlarged by approximately 70 per cent. This helps to provide an even higher top speed and reduces fuel consumption in the high speed range. In particular, such improvements serve to give the car an even better balance above all at high speed, say on the Autobahn.
More Power for the Boxster
Ever since the initial introduction of the Porsche Boxster in October 1996, the six-cylinder power unit has been consistently developed step-by-step for more power and torque. Originally introduced into the market with engine displacement of 2.5 litres and maximum output of 204 bhp, the ‘basic’ engine was enlarged to 2.7 litres and maximum output of 220 bhp for the 2000 model year and supplemented by an S-model delivering 252 bhp from 3.2 litres. Then, entering the 2003 model year, engine output was increased once again to 228 and, respectively, 260 bhp, with torque – perhaps even more importantly – increasing consistently throughout the entire range for even ‘beefier’ performance.
Developing the new generation of the Boxster, Porsche’s engineers have once again significantly updated the car’s engines: The Boxster now develops maximum output of 176 kW (240 bhp) from 2.7 litres, the Boxster S churns out 206 kW (280 bhp) from 3.2 litres. As a result, both models set a new standard in their power-to-weight ratio, the Boxster at 5.40 kg/bhp and the Boxster S at 4.80 kg/bhp. These two figures alone clearly describe how agile the Boxster responds to its driver’s commands. Translating this superiority into the standard figures for acceleration and engine flexibility, the Boxster powered by its 2.7-litre engine accelerates from a standstill to 100 km/h in 6.2 seconds, while the Boxster S completes this exercise in 5.5 seconds. And should the driver press down the gas pedal in full in the secondhighest gear, the Boxster takes just 6.9 seconds to accelerate from 80 to 120 km/h, with the Boxster S handling the same requirement in exactly 6.8 seconds. A point to be considered in this context is that this compares the ‘basic’ Boxster with five gears and the S-model with its six-speed gearbox featured as standard.
Operating in conjunction with twin-chamber intake pipes and a new, even larger exhaust system, the larger intake manifold serves to boost torque on both six-cylinder power units particularly at low engine speeds. This is done by closing a distributor flap in the intermediate pipe at low speeds in order to separate the two intake channels. The result of this separation is a significant improvement of torque, with much more thrust building up from just 1500 rpm.
The Boxster and, respectively, the Boxster S develop their maximum torque of 270 Newtonmetres (199 lb-ft) and, respectively, 320 Newton-metres (236 lb-ft) throughout a wide speed range from 4700 – 6000 rpm. And this increase in power and performance is not only easy to feel, but also pleasant to hear, with both engines now generating an even lower, muscular and more ‘throaty’ rumble.
New Six-Speed Gearbox in the Boxster S
The new Boxster comes with the former five-speed gearbox now upgraded to an even higher standard, while the Boxster S features an all-new gearbox with six gears. Gearshift operation has been improved to make shift travel a lot shorter and crisper than before, with shift travel down by approximately 15 per cent on the six-speed transmission and no less than 27 per cent on the five-speed gearbox. The big advantage for the driver is that he can shift gears quickly and precisely with a very good and direct feeling for the gearshift process. As an option both the Boxster and the Boxster S are available with five-speed Tiptronic S. Even more sporting suspension with variable rack-and-pinion steering
Further enhancement of driving dynamics was one of the most supreme objectives in developing the suspension for the new Boxster generation. In this process Porsche’s development engineers took a very close look at each and every detail, working consistently and thoroughly on the overall set-up: Wider track, new combinations of larger wheels and tyres, weight reduction on the individual components, and the improvement of crash safety enhance the sporting performance of the new Boxster to an even higher level, at the same time offering greater safety reserves with driving comfort remaining just as superior as in the past. And thanks to the better qualities and all-round performance of the new generation of tyres, finally, the new Boxster is able to efficiently convey a lot more power and performance to the road.
As before, front suspension consists of a spring strut axle and separate arrangement of the longitudinal and transverse control arms – simply because this superior concept ensures very precise wheel guidance combined with superior roll comfort. The front axle subframe, in turn, has been re-developed for the Boxster, lighter but nevertheless stiffer aluminium swivel mounts ensuring far greater stiffness in the interest of enhanced steering precision and maximum lateral acceleration. Introducing the new generation of the Boxster, Porsche is giving its mid-engined sports car a hydraulically supported rack-and-pinion steering with variable steering transmission. The big advantage here is the combination of excellent agility particularly on winding roads and enhanced driving stability at very high speeds.
The McPherson rear axle concept typical of the Boxster has been further improved and upgraded for the new model series. The objective in redesigning the components of the rear axle was in particular to enhance lateral stiffness while at the same time reducing axle weight through consistent lightweight engineering. And the individual components of the axle have also been improved and upgraded in terms of stiffness.
Active Suspension Available as an Option
Instead of the ‘regular’ suspension, the new Boxsters are also available as an option with active suspension: PASM Porsche Active Suspension Management lowers the entire car by 10 millimetres or approximately 0.4′. And in the 2.7-litre Boxster PASM also comes as part of a sports package comprising Porsche’s sporting six-speed manual gearbox.
Porsche Active Suspension Management incorporates adaptive dampers with infinitely adjustable damper force, two accelerometers determining vertical movement of the car’s body, as well as the PASM control unit. The purpose of this ‘intelligent’ control system is to relate the signals emitted by the two accelerometers fitted on the damper domes front right and rear left to the car’s lateral acceleration, steering angle, road speed, brake pressure, and engine torque. Then, applying this data provided through the CAN-bus, the system determines the optimum damper control map and adjusts damper response accordingly on each individual wheel.
In this process the driver is able to choose one of two suspension control programs via a button in the centre console: The Normal mode offers a more comfortable damper setting automatically switching over to an increasingly sporting mode as soon as the driver starts to push his car faster and more dynamically. The Sports mode, on the other hand, activates a harder damper control map for a particularly agile and dynamic style of motoring.
Incorporating a special unit referred to as the load change module, PASM serves to enhance active safety in both of these modes: When accelerating with full power, taking back the throttle and changing gears, the damper control maps are automatically adjusted individually on the front and rear axles. Under such conditions the dampers are briefly switched to a harder response in the Normal mode to prevent the car from ‘diving’ excessively. In the Sports mode, by contrast, the system switches briefly to a softer damper curve whenever required in order to improve traction when accelerating, for example on bumpy surfaces.
The Sports Chrono Package For Even More Dynamic Performance
Porsche’s Sports Chrono Package offers the Boxster driver an even higher standard of sporting and dynamic performance in his – or her – car. The particular features of this special package are the even steeper gas pedal control map, a ‘harder’ and even more abrupt cutoff function at top engine speeds, as well as ‘harder’ intervention by PSM Porsche Stability Management now fitted as standard. And in conjunction with PASM, the Sports Chrono program offers an even harder damper set-up in the Sports mode.
To verify the advantages offered by this technology in terms of driving dynamics and to time the extra speed down to the last hundredth of a second, the Sports Chrono Package also features an analogue/digital stopwatch on top of the dashboard.
Larger Brake Discs – as an Option Even in Ceramics
Reflecting the enhanced power of the two engines, the exemplary brake system of the Porsche Boxster has been modified on a number of significant counts: Now brake discs measuring 299 millimetres or 11.77′ in diameter ensure optimum stopping power on the rear axles of both models, the brake discs measuring 20 millimetres or 0.79′ in thickness on the ‘basic’ model and 24 millimetres or 0.94′ across on the Boxster S. Brake disc diameter at the front is the same 298 millimetres or 11.73′ as before on the Boxster and 318 millimetres or 12.52′ on the more powerful Boxster S. All brake discs are now cross-drilled and innervented in the interest of enhanced cooling. A sign of distinction setting the two models apart from one another also through their brakes is the black eloxy finish of the brake callipers with four pistons each on the ‘basic’ Boxster as opposed to the somewhat larger, red-painted callipers on the Boxster S.
For the first time the Boxster S is now also available as an option with PCCB Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes – an achievement in technology quite unique in this class. In conjunction with the brake linings also quite different in this case, the ceramic brake discs subject to far less wear and abrasion immediately build up a high and, in particular, consistent frictional coefficient during deceleration.
A World-First Achievement: the First Roadster with Head Airbags
Yet another innovation offered by the new Boxster comes in the area of passive safety: This is the first open car in the world to feature an innovative head airbag beneath the side-sills on each door. Together with the thorax airbags in the seat backrests, these new head airbags ensure a very high standard of safety in collisions from the side. This restraint system is rounded off by frontal airbags for the driver and passenger as well as three-point inertia-reel seat belts with belt latch tensioners and belt force limiters all fitted as standard.
Interior Enhanced to an Even Higher Standard
Completely redesigned and improved in ergonomic terms, the interior features new materials in ‘slush’ technology and leather as well as trim components painted in aluminium look providing unique flair and style. The lower position of the seats, the steering wheel now also adjustable for height, the pedals moved to the front, and the seats with longer fore-and-aft adjustment are particularly beneficial to the tall driver. A further advantage of the newly designed seats is the extra space and greater side support they have to offer, the range of seats available comprising no less than four different options: First, there are the standard seats with electrical backrest adjustment, then the enhanced seats complete with lumbar support and electrical adjustment of all positions, the leather sports seats with improved side support, and, finally, the new, adaptive sports seats with individual adjustment of the side supports both at the bottom and on the backrest. Indeed, this range of choice and versatility is quite unique in the Boxster segment.
A further standard feature hardly requiring particular mention in this context is the electrically controlled roof which can now be opened or closed at speeds of up to 50 km/h or 31 mph. At a speed between 10 and 50 km/h, all the driver has to do is briefly tip the roof operation button to open or close the roof in a mere 12 seconds. Other features fitted as standard include electric window lifts, a CD radio, air conditioning with an integrated activated carbon filter, an on-board computer, and central locking. And last but not least, the Boxster S also comes with an alarm system.
As an alternative to the regular steering wheel, the Boxster is available not only with a sports steering wheel, but also – in conjunction with PCM Porsche Communication Management now comprising a DVD navigation module – with a multifunction steering wheel finished in particularly smooth and refined leather. Depending on the level of equipment in the car, this special steering wheel enables the driver to control important audio, navigation and telephone functions directly from six function buttons on the steering wheel – one example being the new BOSE Surround System specially tailored to the interior of the new Boxster and available as individual equipment. In this case no less than 11 loudspeakers and a seven-channel digital amplifier integrated in the digital MOST-bus provide an experience in sound setting a new standard in the roadster segment.
Low Cost of Ownership
Cost of ownership comprising the cost of maintenance, fuel and insurance as well as tax, without taking the possible loss of value into account, is down on the new model by no less than 13 per cent (based on German prices and rates). This calculation is based on a period of use of four years with average annual mileage of 15,000 kilometres or 9,300 miles. The maintenance and oil change intervals on the new Boxsters have been extended from 20,000 kilometres on the former generation to 30,000 kilometres or almost 19,000 miles. A further feature is that the air filter, benefitting from its far larger surface, now has to be replaced only after 60,000 kilometres and no longer after 20,000. This again saves the customer the need of going to the workshop and reduces the cost of regular maintenance by 21 per cent. Should the customer not accumulate the mileage required for regular maintenance, the car has to be serviced at the latest every two years.
Price this car:
MSRP: $43,800 -$53,100
Invoice: $38,172 -$46,314
Source: Porsche Press Release