Quick Drive: 2015 Porsche Boxster
For some, driving is a tedious, mundane task that seems to interrupt their lives of instagraming and twittering. For us, a rather small group, driving is a pleasure – a thrill of moving parts, the rumble of an exotic exhaust note, its man verses machine. Porsche has always held the title of being one of the best driving brands on the market and we never really understood why… until now; when we got our hands on a 2015 Porsche Boxster.
To the Porsche aficionado, this is your down to basics, stripped of its frills Boxster, which starts in life at $51,400 – add in our one and only option, the seven-speed dual clutch automatic transmission (also known as PDK or Porsche Doppelkupplung) for $3,200 brings this Boxster totaling out to $54,600 (before the $995 Destination Fee).
While yes, this is your basic Boxster, it’s a Porsche, which means only one thing – absolute pure driving intoxication. Let’s start with the specs from the brochure. The Boxster’s 2.7-liter flat-6 boxer engine holds 265 horsepower and pushes out 206lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels. Zero to 60 mph 5.4 seconds and a top speed of 162 mph – if you can push hard enough.
Judging by our tester’s plates, this was not our ordinary media vehicle, which means we only had just a couple of days to put this Boxster to the test. Since we were in Los Angeles, what better place to test the Boxster then up in the infamous canyons. This is where we were able to experience not only the Boxster’s perfect 50/50 weight distribution but the glorious weather though a two-seater convertible.
The sound the Boxster makes when it’s first started is reminiscent to almost the sound of a Formula 1 race car being fired up – it’s mind-altering. And that’s just before you slide it into gear. Driving the Boxster down the road is entertainment itself as the exhaust makes catcalls to wandering pedestrians barking when it up shifts and gurgling notes when you take your foot off the accelerator. But then it becomes in ultimate laugh when it put in “Sport” mode, the firm ride gets even firmer, the handling becomes sharper, the throttle is more rapid, and the transmission mapping is more responsive – it’s then the Boxster comes to life.
Barreling through the canyons tight twisty bends, the Boxster handling is so precise that not even the driver could make a mistake. The tight responsive steering provides the driver with intensive feedback, you constantly know and feel where the wheels are – just point and the car responds as such. Pushing hard on the accelerator the Boxsters flat-six just sounds incredible as it echoes through the canyon walls belching and snorting as it reaches maximum 7,400 rpms. The shift points from the dual-clutch transmission were incredibly spot on quick and never seemed to miss a beat when downshifting.
While the Boxster is practically perfect on a high performance twisting road full of steep drop offs that will leave your palms sweaty and fingertip prints in the steering wheel; what is it like to live with on an everyday basis? And that’s where our love affair ends. Even under “Normal” driving mode, the ride quality is terrible and because it’s a slow sunk down sports car, getting out of parking lots or garages, leaves you swearing words that has pedestrians covering their ears as it scraps its nose against the pavements. But worst of all was trying to get in and out of the thing – we wish we knew yoga, because that probably would have helped.
Even though this was a down to basics Boxster, it was still full of excellent standard features like Bluetooth connectivity, touch screen infotainment system with Navigation, and a leatherette interior. When we weren’t being tossed around by the stiff suspension we managed to find the seats to be fairly comfortable and decently supportive for the harsh driving. The navigation system was a bit tricky to learn and still didn’t quite figure all of it out by the time we were done, but we’re confident a quick lesson at the dealership would help out.
Porsche has been known to be one of the laziest designers, but after just a few days with the Boxster, it grew on us. We like the simple streamline design and single center mounted chrome tip exhaust in the rear. The standard 18” wheels come off looking a bit basic but work with our generic black paint. Given this is a soft top convertible, it took a brisk 8 seconds to open up to a world of sunshine and glorious 80-degree November, California weather.
We’ve always known that Porsche had a hidden ingredient tucked behind their driving precision, until now, we finally get what every Porsche owner is on about. As a car, the Boxster is… well, basically don’t trade in your daily driver. But as a machine, the Boxster is magnificent! At nearly 55-grand, it’s an absolute driving pleasure. And for that it’s worth every penny.
We would like to take a quick moment and give a thanks to our good friend and European Automotive Journalist, Colin Rear with TheMotor.net for showing us quite the good time around the Los Angeles Canyon roads.
|2015 Porsche Boxster:||$51,400|
|7-Speed Porsche PDK Dual-Clutch Automatic Transmission||$3,200|
Great review! It is nice to be reading a real account of a test of the base Boxster rather than loaded S’s or GTS’s which are closing in on 100k. A used Cayman or Boxster is top of my wish list, having tested them both, the handling and sound are the most intoxicating sensations I have ever felt in a car and I was not even driving on rewarding roads. Sadly I am not alone in this wish to own Stuggart entry level car, the residuals are a nose bleed. I could ramble on about this car hunt (boxster vs cayman, pre or post 2009, base vs S, IMS etc.), but unicorn hunting, car nerd and “get a life” comments would be forthcoming.
If money grew on trees and I was buying a new base Boxster, the option that may help with the ride quality is the PASM button (active suspension) – still though, I think it would not remove the communication between the road and the seat, which I think is a good thing. I am not a fan of the basic PDK “buttons” on the steering wheel, if staying with PDK, then the sports steering and paddle shifters are a great upgrade, though of course getting manual is a great option as well. Finally the sports exhaust (PSE) is something that many owners rave about, but not sure if available on the base car and like your review I think the new base engine sounds great as is. I found getting in and out of the Boxster easier than the Cayman when the Boxster canopy is down, but they are low to the ground cars and it is something to consider when going this route. A little kudos for the storage in the Boxster, the frunk and trunks are handy. The cup holders are crazy; found a used Cayman where a soda spill had gone down the center stack…..what was the Porsche interior designer thinking when placing these holders here and why was the driver of this car using these cup holders that clearly risk spilling liquid over the controls; shake of the head.
Sometimes I despair at trying to find my target Boxster (the right options, mileage and of course cost). The only other car that I have tested that comes close to that driving sensation and is affordable, don’t laugh, is the FR-S on a canyon road, but the lack of power especially on the freeway is a huge difference….it makes the base Boxster a very desirable step up in power. That said on a canyon road the FR-S is plenty of fun and enough power. Maybe the ND Miata is the unicorn new car worth waiting for as the excellent used Boxsters hold their value (and the cost of ownership/warranty is also a serious consideration, those pre 2009 Boxster IMS issues are scary reading).
Final comment, looking forward to seeing what the flat 4 and 6 cyl Porsche turbo will do for the Boxster. Real dreaming, but could a flat 4 turbo boxster drop below 50k? Sadly I doubt it, Porsche is too clever, they will just up the prices of the 6 cyl and have the 4 cyl turbo as the base 50k is my guess (look how they hiked up the Cayenne when the Macan was launched).
Hi Mark! Thanks for the comment. You do bring up some good points. On this base Boxster the PDK transmission is a little funky with the fore after buttons on the steering wheel. It took us a while to get used to them and a few embarrassing moments of downshifting when we meant to upshift – that was awkward. But it is something that you get used to quite easily which came in handy when we started to push the Boxster to its limits on the canyon roads.
The cup holders too, are weird, at first we thought there wasn’t any until someone had pointed them out to us – it does seem like an afterthought.
The base engine in the Boxster does sound magnificent, being a Porsche however, they love to hit you with the options and I am sure you can opt for the sport exhaust enhancement.
The PDK seems very good at being in the right gear without needing button or paddle shifters (super fast shifts as well). That said, I think that with the sports steering wheel and associated “normal” paddle shifters are a must since the chances of an incorrect gear change with the “base” buttons are high, it seems so counter intuitive.
Yep, Porsche has always been “fun” on the options – makes playing on their configuration pages a challenge. I did just see a new $57k M235i at a dealer lot, on a car with a base of @ $44k….BMW and others are learning this options trick as well.