Fifteen years ago, the original Porsche Boxster made its debut. Porsche’s classic and successful approach of creating an affordable mid-engined sportscar with engines in the right place became the backbone of the Boxster and its derivatives such as the Cayman. That first-generation Porsche was fun to drive and arguably the most sporty and competent of the then Teutonic trio represented by Mercedes-Benz SLK, BMW Z3 and inexpensive sports cars like the Mazda Miata. However, from the very beginning, there was a massive gap between the performance and handling of the mid engined and rear engined siblings, the Boxster and the classic 1963 911. Over the years Porsche has tried to narrow the gap between the two models and never in its history has Porsche ever neglected the Boxster. In fact, the sports car maker kept it fresh and as a result each successive generation of the Porsche Boxster improved significantly.
One of the prime objectives with the new Porsche Boxster was to make the car more attractive, package it with improved hardware and secretly somewhere try to narrow the performance gap between the model and its illustrious 911 sibling. The starting point for such exercises usually begins with what you don’t see. Actually, there’s almost nothing that’s been carried over from the earlier 987 in the new Boxster, also known as the 981 internally. It is based on the all-new seventh generation 911 and that means there’s a completely revamped chassis which sports a longer wheelbase and a wider track also. Like the new 911, the new Boxster is longer, slightly wider and a half-inch lower than before.
EXTERIOR AND LOOK
Having already seen the facelifted 718 Boxster and knowing the kind of upgrades the previous GTS had, the upcoming range-topping model wasn’t much of a mystery design-wise.As expected, the new GTS got a more aggressive front fascia with larger air intakes below the headlamps and a wider lower grille for improved cooling and aerodynamics. The central trapezoidal section is also sportier, while the horizontal slats in the side vents are gone, replaced by a fine mesh in some areas and by nothing at all in the center. Between the nose and the splitter, there are only black elements that seem to float in the fascia, which give the GTS a very unique look.On top of these Boxster-specific features, the GTS also sports tinted headlamp and indicator lights, and a revised splittler. In the bumper, we can see two additional winglets that most likely enhance aerodynamics.
Onto the sides, the latest 718 Boxster didn’t change much, and as a result neither did the GTS model. However, we can see black “GTS” graphics on the lower doors and a set of matte black, five-twin-spoke wheels. This rims aren’t only lighter than the standard units, but also cover upgraded brake discs and much larger, red-painted calipers.Around back, changes include a redesigned air diffuser with more aggressive cutouts, as well as larger exhaust pipes. Above the fascia, there’s a movable spoiler that not only improves downforce but also becomes useful under braking and during cornering too. The redesigned taillights with 3D LED technology and the black strip with “Porsche” lettering between them also give the GTS a more aggressive look. The beefed-up roadster should also get a couple of new paint colors and new, lighter wheel designs. The GTS-spec rear end is rounded off by smoked taillight lenses, “718 Boxster GTS” lettering in black, a black diffuser-like element, and black tips for the standard Sport Exhaust system.
INTERIOR AND COMFORT
The steering of the Porsche Boxster is the typical three spoke Porsche steering. But this steering has no controls. The area is hollow. The volume and track changer is a knob extending at the lower right side of the steering. Just in front of the of the stick for scanning through the system. On the left there is a similar stick for cruise control. Behind all this are the chrome paddle shifts. The three pod instrument cluster are again typical Porsche. The circular a/c vents have chrome lining around them for added value. And the old school analogue clock in the centre looks classy. The large screen for the infotainment is good but the icons seem old and not up to the current level of cars.
Luckily this car has way less button than the likes of Macan, Cayenne etc and leads to less confusion. I am in love with the abundance of chrome strip on the dash board and the door sills. There is still more chrome in the back side of the bucket seats. These seats in spite of being extremely sporty are extremely comfortable. The Sports seats are comfortable and provide support even during performance driving. They come equipped with electric backrest adjustment and mechanical height and fore/aft adjustment. The seat centres are lined with Alcantara®.ISOFIX child seat preparation for the front passenger seat is available as an option and includes a deactivation function for the front passenger airbag. The Porsche Tequipment range of genuine accessories offers a selection of Porsche child seats specially tested and approved for Porsche cars. The roof though cloth is of a special waterproof material.
ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE
Under the bonnet, both the variants of this model series are fitted with a powerful 3.4-litre petrol engine, which comes with a displacement capacity of 3436cc. It comprises of six cylinders and 24 valves that receives fuel through high pressure direct fuel injection technology. This motor is incorporated with an advanced hydraulic valve adjustment system and electronic engine management. The petrol engine of S variant is capable of unleashing a maximum power output of 315bhp that results in a commanding torque output of 360Nm in the range of 4500 to 5800rpm. At the same time, the engine of GTS (Gran Tourismo Sport) variant is slightly tuned and offering a peak power of 330bhp (15bhp extra than S trim) in combination with a hammering torque output of 370Nm, instead of 360Nm between 4500 to 5800rpm. This engine is coupled with an advanced six speed manual transmission gearbox that is integrated with features like dual mass flywheel, self adjusting clutch and stop period management system. However, customers can opt for a robust seven speed Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) automatic transmission gearbox, which further enhances its efficiency. On the other hand, the newly launched Black Edition trim houses a 2.7-litre mill that displaces 2706cc. This mill churns out 265bhp of peak power along with a torque of 280Nm. Like the aforementioned engine, this mill too is available with an option choose between 7-speed manual and an automatic transmission option.
This petrol mill is integrated with an advanced direct injection fuel supply system, which allows the vehicle to deliver a maximum mileage of 7.8 Kmpl within the city limits, which goes up to around 14.08 Kmpl, when driven on the bigger roads. While its 2.7-litre mill has the ability to give away a peak mileage of 15.87 Kmpl.This vehicle is now available with two engine options like 2.7-litre and 3.4-litre. The 3436cc petrol engine in Boxster S variant can generate a maximum power of 315bhp and yields 360Nm of peak torque. The same engine in GTS (Gran Tourismo Sport) trim can develop a peak power of 330bhp in combination with a hammering torque output of 370Nm. On the other hand, the 2.7-litre mill can unleash a maximum power of 265bhp that results in a pounding torque of 280Nm.
RIDE AND HANDLING
Performance of the Porsche Boxter in India is very smooth, thanks to its high powered engine. The awesome suspension system provides the car the much required stability while braking, cornering and accelerating. Straight and mid line stability of the car can be maintained pretty well.
The Variable steering ratio, good turning radius, six speed gearbox and fantastic road contact allow the driver to just fly the car with ease. The car, thus gives the driver maximum comfort and makes the handling very efficient.
Four-piston aluminum monobloc fixed caliper brakes are present in the Porsche Boxster. These brakes are extremely resistant to deformation. Along with that, this design of brakes also ensures that fast and sensitive braking response can be garnered owing to their light weightedness. At the front and rear axles, brake ventilation system with air spoilers is fitted which helps with brake cooling. For improved braking in wet conditions, appropriate brake discs that are internally vented and cross-drilled are available. An electric parking brake is released automatically when one pulls away. This brake can be manually activated or deactivated and helps the ride go smoother on an incline.Porsche provides anti-theft protection to its users. The Boxster is equipped with an alarm system for contact-sensitive exterior protection. For interior protection, a radar-based interior surveillance system is present. The Porsche Vehicle Tracking System (PVTS) is also offered to the users as an option. In case of an accident, the driver and passenger safety requirements include two airbags that pop out and inflate. Sensors are installed to determine the severity of the impact to decide on the inflation of the air bags. Porsche Side Impact Protection System (POSIP) ensures safety of the occupants through side bags that inflate out in case of a side impact. In the event of a rollover or side impact, the dual rollover protection makes survival space in the vehicle.
The thing is, I’ve also driven the new 718 Boxster S, with its larger 2.5-litre flat-four engine. It makes 350hp and 420Nm, and can do 0-100kph in 4.2sec, but more than all that, it just feels so much better to drive than the regular 718 Boxster. The larger motor is more effortless and doesn’t feel like it’s squeezing every last horsepower out. The sad news is that this is not the one we’re going to get in India; we will get the standard car, but I do hope Porsche reconsiders and offers the S as well later on. There is one rather big upside, though. Because this new motor is below 3,000cc in displacement, it now has to be homologated for India (a reason the old 2.7-litre car was never sold here) and it falls into a lower duty bracket. This means it will cost around Rs 85 lakh (ex-showroom), or about Rs 20 lakh less, when it goes on sale in September.