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Road test: Porsche Boxster - prestige plus performance

By Roger St Pierre with Hazel Kempster

Porsche’s entry-level Boxster 718 sportscar might not exactly qualify as bargain basement but the £44,758 off the forecourt lead-in price tag does represent value for a car that adds a huge measure of prestige to its many other merits.

For once, that much over-worked motor industry ‘all new’ epithet comes close to being justified – the windshield, cloth roadster top and luggage lid being the only body parts to carry over from the previous model.

The car’s previously rather effete looks are much enhanced, more purposeful, reflecting what’s going on in the engine bay where a completely new generation of turbo-charged flat-four engines and a re-tuned chassis produce impressive performance.

The suspension has been tweaked to make steering response sharper without reducing ride comfort. This has been achieved by the fitting of stiffer coil springs, thicker anti-roll bars, a stronger rear sub-frame and wider rear wheels.

Complimenting the quicker steering is a smaller diameter steering wheel that, apart from anything else, makes it easier for the driver to get in and out of the car. That wheel is free of knobs, dials and switches.

Thanks to the turbo, the 718 Boxster develops 300 hp, which is 35 hp more than was achieved by its normally aspirated predecessor. Torque readings are up 36 per cent.

Even more potent, the Boxster S features a 2.5 litre flat four to boosts its power to 350 bhp with 309 lb/ft of torque.

The cabin is neat and purposeful, its chairs being hip-hugging but wide enough to suit those pf us who are a little broad of beam.

A major drawback of mid-engined two seaters is their general lack of luggage space. The Boxster offers two fairly capacious bins – one under the bonnet, the other in the car’s rump. Their shape means you will need soft bags rather than suitcases but they do provide a total of 275 litres of stowage.

The car’s latest generation of PCM (Porsche Communication Management), comes as standard and is ready for mobile phone installation and an audio interface and can be enhanced with services such as real-time traffic information, Google Street View and Apple Car Play. The touchscreen interface is commendably easy to navigate.

Porsche’s Sound Package Plus Provides a high-quality sound system, with six speakers and 110 watts of power.

Though, as we say, this is by no means a poor man’s Porsche. But at almost exactly half the price of the Stuttgart company’s 911 Carrera it does provide supercar style, handling and performance, with a 5.1 seconds acceleration figure and a potential 170-mph top speed. A claimed 38.2-mpg in the combined cycle is also impressive.

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