Over the last 14 years, people have asked me, what is your favorite car?
My answer has always been, the Porsche Boxster. I tested my first one in
August of 1997.
The Boxster was new back then and it wasnít until 2005 that the car
was completely redone. I wondered how I would feel about the second
generation with so many other road tests behind me. The Porsche fleet
manager sent me a 2006 Speed Yellow example so I could find out.
Much has changed. The body styling is thicker through the middle, the
headlamp units are now ovals, and the taillamps are completely resliced.
The side vents are larger. Despite these changes, nobody would confuse
this sports roadster for anything else.
Inside, the soft, organic look of the 1990ís is gone, replaced by a
more buttoned down, straight-lined motif, with metallic accents and a
generally more luxurious feel. Some design details take their cues from
the Cayenne SUV, a model that was unimaginable back in 1993, when the
Boxster concept originally car made its debut at the Detroit Auto show.
Thereís plenty of storage, but itís in small bits, a little behind
the seat, a modest glovebox, and even armrest bins on the doors. There
are two trunks, one at each end, each of which holds about five cubic
feet. The two cupholders, shunned by Europeans and adored by Americans,
are tucked neatly behind a trim strip.
But itís the driving experience that sells Porsches. The engine sings
with a deliciously tuned melody. My car had the Bose Surround Sound
system ($1,865), but the music emanating from the engine compartment
made it pale in comparison. The exquisitely precise manual shifter lets
you control the pitch of that powerplant. The steering is specially
designed to provide less assistance after 15 degrees from center, so as
you roar into the turns on your favorite road you get to work a little
harder for greater rewards. The steering wheel itself sports a very
handsome red, gold, and black Porsche logo, which I admired frequently
as I motored along.
That sonorous 2.7-liter horizontally opposed six displaces 240
horsepower, up from 201 in the original car. Thatís good for a
zero-to-sixty time of 5.9 seconds. Stepping up to the Boxster S, you get
an extra half-liter of displacement, good for 40 additional horsepower
and about 20 percent more torque, so you can hit 5.2 seconds in the
zero-to-sixty dash. Both models will break 150 mph on the test track. My
test car earned 21.0 miles per gallon, a remarkable achievement for a
If you want to look at the Boxsterís engine, forget about it. Itís
hidden. You can add oil from the remote filler in the rear trunk, and
you donít need a dipstick. Itís also nice that when the top is down it
doesnít take up any room in the rear trunk either.
In 1997 I invented trips to the store so I could go out and drive my
Boxster. This time, it was January, not August, but dropping that top
let in the same world of wonderful sights, sounds, and smells as before,
only a little more briskly. The new models have glass rear window, a
significant improvement. Several owners of the older Boxster complained
of the plastic cracking in the back windows.
To go topless, you simply open a single central lever and press a
button on the console. A message on the dash tells you when itís done. A
clear plastic windblocker mounted between the integrated roll bars helps
keep the cabin still at surprisingly high speeds.
The Boxster is Porscheís entry-level model. Thatís not a joke as my
standard Boxster lacked a few things normally present in any uplevel
Honda Accord at two thirds of the price. My test unit did not have
automatic climate control, for example, although it is available as an
option. The seats adjusted manually, although the seatback angle was
electrically variable. The CD player was a single disc only. But I
didnít care, after all, this is still a Porsche.
Part of what elevates the Boxster to superstardom is the wealth of
design and engineering that goes on beneath its handsome skin. Some
parts, such as the front and rear lids, top braces, and suspension
pieces, are made of aluminum and other lightweight alloys. The high-tech
Porsche Stability Management (PSM) system uses computers with multiple
sensors to keep the car going where the driver points it.
Lots of careful tweaks have reduced the coefficient of drag, even
with a larger frontal area. Airflow around the car is carefully handled
to enhance performance and keep the Boxster stuck to the road. The body
structure is stiffer and stronger, and structural elements have been
carefully redesigned for more passenger safety in a collision. Boxsters
are the first roadsters to offer head airbags.
Life with a Boxster is sublime. Utterly useless for families with
children, worthless at carrying a string bass, the Boxster was created
purely to amuse and inspire its driver. And that it does fantastically.
I can overlook the tiny radio buttons and minimal utility.
The message center at the center of the instrument panel relayed
numerous bulletins, but my favorite message was the low fuel warning. It
said, Consider Remaining Range.
Boxsters begin at $43,800, which is substantially less than the
iconic 911 Carrera. My tester had the optional heated front seats,
18-inch alloy wheels, wind deflector, and Bose Surround Sound system, so
with freight it came to $47,740. There are many ways to spend more money
for less enjoyment.
So, what would I say was my favorite car now, in 2006? The same
thing, the Porsche Boxster. The love remains. By
Steve Schaefer © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Porsche Home Page
Byline: Syndicated content provided by
Tony Leopardo ©AutoWire.Net
Column Name: Still my favorite car, the Porsche Boxster
Topic: The 2006 Porsche Boxster
Word Count: 1015
Photo Caption: The 2006 Porsche Boxster
Photo Credits: Porsche Internet Media
Series #: 2006 - 50
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2006 Porsche Boxter
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2006 Porsche Boxter