Boxster Sport Edition Review
There's usually an element of fraud in attaching a sports bodykit to any car. Or almost any car. With Porsche's Boxster, we're prepared to make an exception. Especially as the 'SportDesign' package attached to the 'Sport Edition' variants we're looking at here also includes Porsche's acclaimed 'Porsche Active Suspension Management' (PASM) system as standard. This, in other words, is no sheep in wolf's clothing.
But then of course no Porsche ever was. No Porsche was ever cheap either and these variants are no different. You'll pay £36,450 for the 245bhp 2.7-litre Sport Edition version and a cool £43,110 for the 295bhp 3.4-litre Boxster S Sport Edition model. That means a premium of £3,000 over standard model prices, which takes the 2.7 to within £3,000 of a standard Boxster S and a Sport Edition Boxster S to within £17,000 of what you'd pay for a new 911. In other words, this limited edition variant had better be very good indeed.
The SportDesign package is intended to bring 'additional racing style' to the exterior of the car while reducing aerodynamic lift. The package includes lip spoiler elements for the standard front apron and a revised rear apron with diffuser design inspired by the Carrera GT supercar.
And PASM? Well, it's a specially adapted chassis control system which delivers positive road contact and precise performance across all road conditions. With actively adjustable dampers and a ride height lowered by 10mm compared with the standard Boxster, PASM allows drivers to select from a 'normal' or 'sport' setting. When sport mode is selected, the suspension is set to a firmer rating for a more dynamic driving experience. On the Boxster Sport Edition models, PASM is combined with the six-speed manual transmission standard on the Boxster S.
Other Sport Edition features include 18-inch 'Boxster S' alloys on the 2.7 and 19-inch 'Carrera Classic' alloys on the 'S'. Both models get chrome-plated stainless steel tailpipes, door-entry guards in stainless steel, a roll-over bar painted in exterior colour, a sports steering wheel in leather and red tail-lights.
"The PASM system is almost worth the price of admission alone."
Other than that, it's the standard Boxster recipe, tweaked in 2006 with changes under the bonnet. Whereas the models once made 240bhp and 280bhp respectively, power is these days eased up to 245bhp for the 2.7-litre car and a 295bhp for the Boxster S, a car which sees its capacity rise from 3.2-litres to 3.4. Let's take a look at each of these powerplants in turn.
The entry level model has seen its torque figure rise to 273Nm, pulling power that's available from 4,600rpm. Give it the full monty off the line and 60mph will come and go in 5.9 seconds, Plus you'll also be able to see a top speed of 160mph (none of this 'electronically limited to 155mph' nonsense from the Weissach company). Due to increased engine efficiency thanks to the VarioCam Plus valve control system, fuel economy has actually risen by 1mpg to 30.4mpg on the combined cycle.
Opt instead for the Boxster S and you have a car that possesses performance that not too long ago was the preserve of fully fledged supercars. Here 60mph is a mere 5.1 seconds away and this model will nudge 170mph. Despite this crushing capability, fuel economy remains reasonable at 26.6mpg on the combined cycle. The 340Nm of torque gives this car real punch out of corners and means you'll have to use the gears a little less.
If you haven't tried a Boxster since the second generation version was first introduced in 2004, you may also notice that Porsche have made a few other recent tweaks, although only the most ardent Porschephile will probably notice. Access for servicing has been improved for example. Plus, the coolant and engine oil filler caps in the rear luggage bay have been repositioned behind a neat access flap so that the boot space can be better utilised. This boosts the Boxster's already very good practicality, helped by a reasonably sized rear boot and one up front that's deeper than you might expect.
The great thing about the Boxster is that despite the power boost, it's still slower in a straight line than a BMW M-Roadster or a TVR Tuscan but will batter both of them down a B-road. You'll wait for the others to catch up smug in the knowledge that you're working smarter not harder, doing more with less. The way it steers and stops leaves you in absolutely no doubt that when it comes to building sports cars, Porsche simply know more than the rest - especially at the detailed level.
Likewise, when it comes to running the Boxster, you know that if you choose to sell it three years down the road, it'll still be worth a good deal more of its original asking price than any direct rival. This low depreciation, reasonable fuel economy and an ability to look after its tyres better than most means that once you've swallowed the initial upfront cost, the ongoing costs aren't exorbitant. The one thing to bear in mind, however, is the cost of Porsche options. Even in Sport Edition form, few customers will specify their cars in base trim and Porsche extras aren't cheap. Just to give you an idea, carbon fibre interior door finishers are £1,200 and the sports adaptive seats are £1,700. Go for the big wheel option as well and you'll be looking at over £5,000 worth of extras.
Still built by Valmet in Sweden, the Boxster continues to stamp its authority on the sports roadster segment. Though the range of rivals has steadily become more talented in the last decade, this car has seen them all off and remains the benchmark by which every newcomer is judged. Power, after all, doesn't always mean pre-eminence. Go the whole hog and buy one of these and you can see why one might be tempted by a Sport Edition variant. Personally, we could live without the bodykit but the PASM system is almost worth the price of admission alone. And that driving experience. Can you really put a price on that? We suspect not..