1997-2005 Porsche Boxster S Anniversary Edition

Monday, June 7
Even a short cross-town trip is an adventure

Mmmm! The garage smells enticingly of leather upholstery. I backed in the car last night, and now those powerful-looking haunches are voluptuous.

Another beautiful day. Needing to work at my desk, I stay in Park (and sometimes Reverse) till late afternoon, when at last I venture cross-town to the photo lab, never surpassing third gear. I'm now used to the car and forget it's a Porsche and everybody's looking. Or rather, not quite forgetting. At stoplights I maintain good posture: left elbow out the door and right hand on the wheel or the gearshift. No grooming activity, as I might otherwise do.

This Boxster S is such a sweetie around town. The engine pulls from 800 rpm. It's like using the same sharp implement on lettuce that you also use on two-by-fours.

Near home, sitting at a light, I hear a man's voice: "That's a nice car." There's a late-middle-aged couple in an Olds Aurora.

"Thanks," I say, having long ago given up making the confusing disclaimer that the test vehicle isn't really mine. Not to mention the fact that I'd like to think the Boxster S really is me. "Yes," I continue, "a perfect day for a convertible."

"But a special car," he says, evidently recognizing the anniversary edition. "Want to trade?"

"Just buy one of your own."

This draws a big reaction from the wife: "That's what I say!"

When they drive off I see the Aurora's roof is rusty.

Tuesday, June 8
A Major Interruption

The presence of the Bentley Continental GT in Automobile Magazine's short-term fleet interrupts my test of the Boxster S. The big $149,900 coupe needs to be driven-by me. (You can buy two and one- third Boxster S 50th Anniversary Editions for that price.) It's interesting to see how simple the Boxster S is by comparison. And how practical. The six-speed manual transmission and the comparative lack of electronic governance and protocols stand out as prime examples. On the other hand, open up the Bentley's bonnet and you can see the engine. Or at least a lot of plastic shrouding.

Wednesday, June 9
From Here to Kalamazoo

Today I'm going on an expedition with my friend P. (I will call her that because she works for another well-known magazine.) The destination is Kalamazoo, about 100 miles west, and the goal is an exhibition of Impressionist paintings.

This most promising morning, the temperature has already reached the mid-70s; but P. states her desire-no, her requirement-that we travel with the top up. Riding in the open Boxster S will muss her hair. But then, sensing my disappointment, she concedes that perhaps we can lower the top on the way back.

We escape the city by a back way and ride 35 miles through the countryside to Jackson before joining expressway traffic. Racing up the entrance ramp, I shift out of second at 5000 rpm, and we glory in the engine's commanding report. It's guttural but at the same time highly refined, like the German tongue, like Beethoven.

Approaching our destination, I think the available navigation system would be nice. But that's really asking too much of the Boxster S. And besides, how hard could it be to find anything in Kalamazoo? Not hard at all. We view the exhibit and I announce that I'll take home one Monet and one Czanne. My dear P. will have a Matisse.

Returning to Ann Arbor, we cruise along the Interstate. Sixth gear is just fine; there's still plenty of pull at 75 mph. The rougher stretches make the ride a bit unpleasant. At Chelsea we get off the big, busy road. At a stoplight, the truck driver beside us honks three times, scaring the hell out of the woman in the car ahead of him. Finally, P. looks over; he gives thumbs up and mouths, "Nice car." It's definitely time to unseal this verdict, so in the downtown area we stop, lower the top, and experience pure pleasure on the country roads leading back home.

Thursday, June 10
The Return of Rain

Rain has returned. Before a morning errand, everything about the power top is appreciated: its alacrity, the tight and quiet seal, and the rear glass. Whatever changes are to come with the next Boxster, the convertible top can pretty much be left alone. In fact, there aren't many changes recommend except a stiffer chassis and better-looking front lamps. Thank God a Porsche is still a Porsche.

Tomorrow morning the Boxster goes back to its keepers. And if I don't head directly to the home equity department, it'll be a miracle.

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