2007 Porsche Boxster S
More of the same goodnessI never had a reason to go to Tennessee. It was not on my list of things to-do before I die. (Hmmm...let's see: win the Nobel Prize, cure cancer, go to Tennessee).
So when Porsche decided to party smack dab in the middle of the Appalachians, I saw a great opportunity, a chance to reduce that to-do list.
No, I had little desire to visit our 16th state and that's a shame. I came to learn it's got a genuine "must-do" activity on its resume.
The road is called "Tail of the Dragon." a 14-mile stretch of pavement marked by perversely twisted tarmac and stunning scenery. Every few miles the road's surface is tattooed with skid marks while bits of glass and plastic sparkle like gemstones. Locals parked on lawn chairs sit on various turnouts, knocking back cold ones while offering colorful words of encouragement. The faster you go, the more "colorful" their encouragement becomes, like a public version of Daytona Speedway.
In short, The Dragon is the reason cars like the Porsche Boxster exist. Every corner tests the suspension, every straight the engine. And when the road ends you can bet those famous Porsche brakes were glowing cherry red. After the first three miles you'd swear the white coats from Weissach had something to do with this place.
We've been fans of Porsche's Boxster since its first spy photos some 10 years ago. Its simple yet elegant design, ample horsepower and overall utility made the Boxster an easy choice for folks who wanted a utilitarian sports car.
Although times change, the fundamental goodness of the Boxster is still intact, there's just more of it.
The Boxster's recent restyle (2005) left it with lots of new sheet metal although to the untrained eye it's much like the original design. The big news for 2007 are the powerplants. Both the 2.7-liter in the Boxster and 3.4 in the Boxster S are significantly different, offering more power, more torque and more emotion (sound). That's right, sound. The Boxster sounds more like a genuine Porsche than ever before.
The base 2.7 Boxster engine now produces 245 hp, just a few ponies short of what the previous Boxster S did while the new Boxster S makes 295 hp, a bit south of the previous 911 Carrera. Both engines are fitted with Porsche's VarioCam Plus variable intake-valve timing and lift system, hardware typically saved for top tier 911s. VarioCam broadens the torque curve, increases fuel economy and reduces emissions. Both engines contain new internal bits as well including lighter/smaller pistons, lighter cranks and lightened rods. Ultimately, it allows both engines to spin faster than before, and that's a good thing. Porsche claims the Boxster S will breach 60 mph in 5.1 seconds and eventually top out at a heady 169 mph. The Boxster does the same routine in 5.8 sec 0-60 mph and reaches terminal velocity at 160 mph.
Yeah, the Boxster is a quick piece and its impeccable balance means it can be driven at 8/10ths without drama. Hell, you can push it to "11" but that's a lot of work and as I've come to realize, most of my driving does not occur in that spectrum. And that's OK too; the Boxster is just as much fun cruising at a leisurely pace. I think that says a lot about the Boxster in general, the fact that it can be flogged mercilessly one minute and then return to a totally relaxed state.
The Boxster's engine architecture is identical to the Cayman and like its sibling, wears the dual-chamber intake manifold. At low rpm the path is short for maximum torque. As speed increases, a valve opens and effectively doubles the intake runner length. The intake's structure leaves the Boxster with the classis flat-six voice, a metallic "Braaaang" and a slight echo. It was something the first generation of water-cooled Porsche engines lacked.
The Boxster interior has matured into a first-class cabin. The switches, toggles and dials all have a decidedly solid feeling and leather and synthetic materials are superb. As I compared my 1998 Boxster to this new generation it appears to be an entirely different car, far more sophisticated and elegant. I like simplicity as much as the next guy, however, given the choice between a top that refuses to rise unless the car is fully stopped or a car that'll raise its roof up to 30 mph, I'll take the latter. Anyone with an older Boxster will attest to what a drag it is to get caught in the rain. It's not a problem now.
A base Boxster is born with a standard five-speed transmission, PSM (Porsche Stability Management), side airbags, leather seats and 17-in alloys with 205/55 and 235/50 series f/r tires. The Boxster S includes a manual six-speed, 18-in alloys with 235/40 and 265/40 tires. Options include: Tipstronic automatic transmission, 19-in alloys from the 911 turbo, PCCB brakes, Porsche Active Suspension Management, Sport Chrono package, HID headlamps, navigation system (Porsche Communication Management), Park Assist Although its 2.7-liter engine is more powerful than before, it still pales in comparison to the 3.4-liter of the Boxster S and its standard six-speed. If you never drove a Boxster S the base car would be just fine; chances are you'd be very happy. The fact is, the Boxster S exists and I would do everything I could to ensure that model was parked in the Bidrawn driveway. If the Boxster will make you happy, the Boxster S will leave you ecstatic. And the way I figure it, after the additional costs of the S are amortized over a standard loan, the monthly payment difference is fairly painless.
So go ahead and spoil yourself
2007 PORSCHE BOXSTER S
Longitudinal mid-engine,rear-wheel drive
3.4-liter flat six, dohc,four valves per cylinder
Six-speed manual; optional five-speed Tiptronic S
Optimized MacPherson spring strut axles, wheels suspended
on wishbones with trailing links, twin-tube gas shocks
Two-circuit system, aluminum monoblock calipers, cross-drilled and ventilated rotors
Length x Width x Height (in.): 171.6 x 70.9 x 50.9Wheelbase: 95.1 in.Curb Weight: 2,987 lb
Peak Power: 295 bhp @ 6250 rpmPeak Torque: 252 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm0-60 mph: 5.1 sec.Top Speed: 169 mph
Why we love it:
Genuine roadster attitude, very refined interior, willing engine
Why we don't:
styling a bit stale
The Price Tag:
$55,000 ($45,600 Boxster)