The Porsche Boxster has always been near perfection and this 2009 Boxter S is no exception. Although I must admit, I was disappointed to see that it was equipped with the PDK transmission instead of a traditional manual. Mechanically, PDK is a great transmission but, like Phil, I found the user-interface - especially the steering-wheel-mounted buttons - more awkward and difficult to use than paddles. So, as with most automated manuals, I played with it for a while but got frustrated and stayed in auto mode for the rest of my time in the car.
The moment I sat down, I noticed that the console is less cluttered and better organized than previous generations of the Boxster. I was happy to see that the numerous - and sometimes unmarked - tiny buttons that littered the central console in previous Boxsters' had been dropped in favor of clearly labeled, fingertip-sized controls. The swing-out cupholders - which are hidden behind a small, flip-down door above the glove box - are a great space saver. Upon first inspection the arm felt flimsy, certainly not strong or secure enough to hold my heavy stainless steel coffee mug. But the crab-claw adjuster tightens firmly, and was more than stout enough to endure sudden stops and rough terrain.
This car is huge fun when pushed hard and driven fast but - in part because it is a convertible - the joy of driving on slower two lanes while taking in the scenery and soaking up the aural goodness of the Porsche in-line six is far more rewarding. Long live the Boxster.
Jennifer Misaros, Production Editor