Leading the pack of entry-level supercars, the Porsche Boxster has not had a smooth ride in the sixteen years since its launch. This pioneer in its segment however has gone from strength to strength to overcome all cynics. Body Being the first to forge new ground is never easy.
The Porsche Boxster certainly had a tough time being the inceptor in the market space. Not only was it coming off the back of previous sub-911 models which had mixed success rates, but purists continued to espouse that a 911 benchmark just could not be followed. After the varying levels of critical acclaim awarded to the 912, 914, 924, and 944 models, the welcome given to the Boxster was lukewarm from some quarters. Yet the Boxster has sold more than even the 924, which was in production for just as long. It has even gone on to pour oil on the troubled waters of some Porsche traditionalists who could not accept it at first.
In blending some of the classic notes from the 356 Cabriolet and 550 Spyder from the 1950s, with enough of the essence of the 911 without imitating it, as well as including an all-new contemporary package, the Boxster has achieved great success. It is no longer just the ‘poor-man’s 911’ but stands on its own pedestal. Since then, and with many improvements in horsepower later, it has achieved approval. What some people fail to realise is that the Boxster may well have been the reason why Porsche is still here today.
Ever since its launch, the Boxster has repeatedly demonstrated the business sense behind extending the line-up downwards. A model which is slightly more affordable can add volume to the sales figures. Whilst some may say this contributes to brand dilution, lowering the value of an otherwise exclusive-marque, the move certainly paid dividends to Porsche. The unacknowledged contribution of the Boxster therefore is that Porsche is still around to design other models can indeed see the light of day.
The car takes its name from the words boxer, referring to the engine type, and roadster. In doing so, not only did it open up the lower end of the supercar market, but for Porsche it was the first roadster since the 550 Spyder in 1953. It was also a first in that it pre-dated the 996 911 with a water-cooled flat-six. It was also the first water-cooled Porsche to have the front-mounted engine. With the same engine architecture as the 911, the car remains unique having a smaller displacement.
The car was launched with a 2.5 litre engine capable of producing 201 horsepower. This was reengineered in 2000 to 2.7 litres and 217 hp. With the introduction of the Boxster S the same year, the limit grew to 3.2 litres and 249 hp. This eventually became 3.4 litres in 2007 thanks to the Type 987. Now the Type 982 produces 267, with the S producing 311 hp. The handling of the Boxster has also become a winning feature, even for 911 fans. Obviously the mid-engine configuration makes this a natural advantage.
Buying a Porsche with excellent handling has got be a good decision. It is an even better reason to rent one too. In Carrera white with black cabriolet roof or midnight metallic blue on self-drive hire there is no better way to experience the handling, power, and performance of this modern miracle.
Do you like our Porsche Boxster S? Then make sure you vote for it as Signature’s Car of the Year on our Facebook Page! Watch this film to help you decide……