Back in 1998, Automobile Magazine took possession of an early Porsche Boxster as a Four Seasons test car. Remembering fondly the fabulous chassis and seductive engine note of that car, we decided to have another go with a Four Seasons Boxster, this time with the new-for-2005 987-series Boxster S. We ordered our yellow German roadster sparingly equipped to avoid sacrificing any of the purity of its driving experience. Mild late-summer weather has allowed most of the miles driven so far to take place with the top down. Comfortable seats, spot-on steering, and refined ride and handling make the Porsche extremely popular for weekend road trips, and we almost always seek out the curviest routes off the interstate.
438 miles Senior editor Joe DeMatio: "The structural rigidity is amazing. I can't think of any other open car that feels as stiff going down the road. But I wish it didn't look so similar to the last-generation Boxster."
650 miles Road test coordinator Marc Noordeloos says that "the fabulous blend of a gorgeous-sounding and powerful engine, along with near-perfect brakes, still makes the Boxster a world-class sports car."
2855 miles During our "Brawn in the U.S.A." test (November 2005), for which the Boxster serves as a support vehicle, we wake up to find it with a flat tire. The initial plan to remove the wheel and haul it to a local tire shop is foiled, since a lug wrench and a jack aren't standard equipment. The owners' manual suggests buying the tools at the nearest dealer--which happens to be sixty miles away. In the end, the twelve-volt air pump and can of Fix-A-Flat that come with the car get us to a tire store.
3100 miles The staff's early dislikes include a slightly confusing stereo system, a single lock/unlock button on the key fob, and a manual HVAC system that could be easier to use and lacks a simple off switch.
12,480 miles Spending time in a warm climate is always good for the soul, so our Boxster S was recently dispatched to live in California with design editor Robert Cumberford. Unfortunately, he had to summon Porsche Roadside Assistance when a coolant leak caused the car to overheat. The diagnosis: a faulty cap on the overflow tank. The cap was replaced, and the Boxster was again free to soak up the SoCal sunshine.
Six-Month Update You can get a pretty good grasp of the merits--or lack thereof--of any automobile after a three-day, 2200-mile adventure across the United States. But such a trip is especially telling if you're driving a two-seat ragtop, a type of vehicle often derided as unsuitable for "real" use. Our Porsche Boxster S, however, performed flawlessly during a jaunt from Los Angeles to Ann Arbor, over the course of which the yellow roadster easily tackled everything from snow and ice in Arizona and New Mexico to eighty-degree, top-down cruising in Missouri. The car's laser-precise directional stability means that long freeway stints are easy on the body and the brain, and the steering provides near-perfect feedback on twisty mountain switchbacks. We also are pleased with the Porsche's seats, which are very comfortable despite a lack of lumbar adjustment. Our complaints are limited to the heavy, bottom-hinged accelerator pedal--thank goodness for cruise control--and the cloth top, which allows a bit too much wind noise. On paper, the Boxster S is overpriced and underequipped. In reality, in exchange for its lofty sticker price, the Porsche provides solidity and an attention to detail that most of its competitors lack. Porsche geeks can rest assured: the Boxster is yet another example of why the German brand is usually worth its premium pricing.
14,900 miles "The Boxster S always feels like a thoroughbred sports car, whether you're carving canyon roads or just slogging through L.A. traffic," pens contributor Preston Lerner. "I do wish, though, that it had slightly more low-end torque for the times you get caught in the wrong gear."
15,300 miles Various comments from the logbook: "The soft engagement of the stability control makes it as safe as a house to drive quickly." "Lots of intake noise; the car sounds as if it could suck small children off the curb if they got too close." "The black interior is a bit somber during top-up motoring."
18,874 miles "I haven't written much in the logbook recently, because I've been trying to find faults," says Eccleston. "The only thing I can pinpoint is a small rattle from the windbreak screen between the seatbacks. This car is just astonishing. I never tire of driving it, even in the worst conditions. I took it to the airport during a hailstorm and a tornado warning. There were only a few feet of visibility, but the Boxster remained glued to the freeway without even a twitch."