Ah the joys of being a privately owned company. No pesky shareholders demanding cereal salesmen as CEOs who will cost cut and dumb down productsuntil they're rolling blandness. Porsche has sustained itself and built a loyal following based on one model-the 911-for over forty years byconstantly improving it, and they'd like the Boxster to join the 911 as a hallowed name that enthusiasts revere. Thus comes the second-generation Boxster, a car that looks pretty much like the first-generation Boxster and carries over its basic architecture and twenty percent of its parts. Instead of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, Porsche has refined and built upon everything that was great about the original Boxster.
So is it up to snuff? The base model gets a 240-horsepower 2.7-liter flat six while the S gets a 280-horsepower 3.2-liter flat six. There is noBoxster that can match the lofty power outputs of droptop rivals like the Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG or the Chevrolet Corvette, but the Boxster is one of the only mid-engine roadsters extant in the U.S. As such, its handling and braking are a clear step above its competitors. While we laud Porsche for resisting the temptation to make something trendy like the new SLK-class orthe Z4, we wonder if the new Boxster is different enough to stand out to anyone other than current Boxster owners.
For those who do notice, the new Boxster offers a lot to get excited about.The new Boxster actually weighs and costs less than the outgoing model whencomparably equipped, and it has a new interior borrowed nearly intact (save the upper dash and vents) from the new 911. Also borrowed from the new 911 are a number of pricey options of dubious value. A Sport Chrono package with a cyclopean stopwatch and a sport calibration for the stability control and throttle response costs about a thousand dollars. Adjustable dampers costabout two thousand dollars. Sport seats with adjustable thigh and side bolsters cost about three thousand dollars. Ceramic brakes cost about eight thousand dollars. But even without all the frou-frou, it's an unparalleled joy to drive, and at around $43,000, the base Boxster almost looks like a bargain.