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Friday 24th August 2012

Driven: Porsche Boxster Sports Chassis

A quick blast in new hardcore chassis option for Boxster S



For all that puff about high-tech ‘chassis control systems’ presented to us last week by Porsche (well, it's been at least 24 hours since the last Porsche story... - Ed.) it’s interesting to note that for the new Sports Chassis option coming on the Boxster it reverts to passive dampers, rather than PASM.

Faster and with more feedback on track
Faster and with more feedback on track
The German engineering team helping us navigate the technology brought this Sports Chassis equipped Boxster S to Silverstone too, providing an interesting comparison twixt the high-tech approach with active dampers and the more traditional ‘ramp up the rates and off you go’ Sports Chassis.

As you’ll have seen from a previous blog, getting to the bottom of why passive dampers are considered better for a more focused set-up wasn’t an easy task, this being somewhat contrary to the party line that tech – with a supporting cast of acronyms behind it – is best. Indeed, in some ways this and the basic, no frills (relative) Carrera 2 were the elephants in the room, both proving in their own and very different ways how good Porsches stripped of all the electronic gubbins and tuned with good, old-fashioned engineering know-how can be.

Harder, faster ... better?
The Sports Chassis will be available from later in the year and although the hardware is apparently more straightforward than the PASM option we were told the price will be more or less comparable with the active dampers, which add £971 to the price of a Boxster S. The implication seemed to be that the Sports Chassis would only be available on the S too. 

Stiffer rear axle dials out understeer
Stiffer rear axle dials out understeer
You can check the numbers in the comparison table below, which details the changes brought by the Sports Chassis over both the standard and PASM options. And, on the face of it, it’s a significantly firmer set-up, not least in rear anti-roll which is 46 per cent stiffer than standard. Even the PASM chassis is only 10 per cent stiffer and this and significantly harder rear spring rates would suggest Porsche is dialling out some of the stock setting’s understeer to create a sharper, more incisive turn-in and generally pointier character.

Strictly hardcore
And, guess what, that’s exactly what it does. True, we didn’t get a chance to try it on the road so – unfortunately - can’t comment right now on whether it’s a step too far for that default bumpy B-road. But on the smooth surfaces of Silverstone’s National loop the additional front-end is really noticeable, in both slower, tighter corners like the Luffield complex and higher-speed ones like Copse. An ambitious turn-in to either in the standard S induces obvious understeer that you just have to offset with a slower entry or sit out until you can pour in more power.

PASM is the more all-round choice
PASM is the more all-round choice
But the Sport Chassis means the front end turns in with much more aggression and bite and you can get on the power sooner and harder. Transfer that to the road and though you’ll be trading a bit of comfort you’d have to hope that would also mean a bit more seat of the pants feel and less of the slightly inert, aloof detachment of the standard car, at least at vaguely sensible speeds. Higher limits on the track and a bit more feel and feedback on the road? Sounds like just the ticket if you want your Boxster a little sharper and akin to the Spyder/Cayman R in the previous models.  

Credit to Porsche for offering us the choice though. And if you want your Boxster as an all-rounder then PASM makes a lot of sense. If, however, you want something a bit sharper and intuitive, well, you can have that instead. Horses for courses and all that.

A PASM-equipped Boxster...
A PASM-equipped Boxster...
...and one with the new Sport Suspension
...and one with the new Sport Suspension
 
  PASM Sports Chassis
Front axle height -10mm -20mm
Rear axle height -10mm -20mm
Spring rate front +12% +20%
Spring rate rear +15% +25%
Anti-roll bar front +12% +22%
Anti-roll bar rear +10% +46%
Dampers PASM 'Sport Set-up' (passive)
     

Note: all values compared with standard, non-PASM suspension

 

Dan Trent
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Author Discussion

UltimaCH

Original Poster:

2,448 posts

72 months

[news] 
Friday 24th August 2012 quote quote all
At last here comes a "back to basics" solution. Well done Porsche!

Corrected spelling wink

Edited by UltimaCH on Friday 24th August 15:38

P4ROT

939 posts

76 months

[news] 
Friday 24th August 2012 quote quote all
Excluding the spyder, thats the first Boxter I've actually seen and thought "I'd like one of them!".

Krikkit

4,913 posts

64 months

[news] 
Friday 24th August 2012 quote quote all
Want one, can't help thinking it might be a bit stiff for daily road use though... That said, anything that brings a bit more life to the feeling and less electronics isn't a bad thing!

kambites

39,571 posts

104 months

[news] 
Friday 24th August 2012 quote quote all
It wasn't that long ago that Porsche wouldn't have to have a "sports chassis" because they set the standard car up to be a driver's car in the first place; and despite this being the "driver's" version it sounds like it still has the (from a keen driver's perspective) woeful EPAS system.

Porsche, I salute your ability to sell cars in large numbers at a huge profit; but I suspect I will never again have any kind of desire to own one of your cars.

Retset

89 posts

105 months

[news] 
Friday 24th August 2012 quote quote all
When I had my VX220, Hofmann's did a similar trick to reduce understeer: +70% stiffer springs on the front but +100% on the rear. In addition, the cambers were maxed and the understeer disappeared. It was a much more pleasant car which, funnily enough, rode as well as the standard one. I guess the Porsche engineers have done a similar thing and this is an option I would be definitely be ticking if I were in the position to buy a new Boxster S ... which I'm not ...
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Arun_D

1,890 posts

78 months

[news] 
Friday 24th August 2012 quote quote all
Retset said:
When I had my VX220, Hofmann's did a similar trick to reduce understeer: +70% stiffer springs on the front but +100% on the rear. In addition, the cambers were maxed and the understeer disappeared. It was a much more pleasant car which, funnily enough, rode as well as the standard one. I guess the Porsche engineers have done a similar thing and this is an option I would be definitely be ticking if I were in the position to buy a new Boxster S ... which I'm not ...
No downsides at all? I would have thought tyre wear would have seen a marked increase?

handbraketurn

1,092 posts

49 months

[news] 
Friday 24th August 2012 quote quote all
Here is what Evo made of it on the track & road.

"If you’re in the slightly unlikely position of looking for a Boxster S for regular track-work then the Sport suspension kit is definitely worth considering. It sharpens up the standard Boxster S’ already sharp driving experience to an impressive degree. On track it feels noticeably harder-edged than a PASM-equipped Boxster S, with less roll, a more responsive front end and a near-total absence of understeer. A classic case of small revisions having a major impact on the way the car drives: dynamically it feels far closer to a Cayman R than a standard Boxster.



On the road it’s equally hardcore – perhaps a bit too much so – with the same lightning responses but the firmed-up chassis picking up the sort of road imperfections that a PASM-fitted Boxster S would float over."

breadvan

361 posts

51 months

[news] 
Friday 24th August 2012 quote quote all
Good job for giving us the option.

However, I do worry that once the line-up is complete (ie, introduction of the 981R and/or Spyder), I think your S with sports suspension will be a jack of all trades/master of none.

Recommend waiting for the full fat....

Mike Brown

224 posts

70 months

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Friday 24th August 2012 quote quote all
Most Boxsters will never go anywhere near a track, so I really cant see the point of all this, surely the standard car is more than enough?

housen

658 posts

75 months

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Friday 24th August 2012 quote quote all
these cars look soo good !

Ozzie Osmond

15,988 posts

129 months

[news] 
Friday 24th August 2012 quote quote all
P4ROT said:
Excluding the spyder, thats the first Boxter I've actually seen and thought "I'd like one of them!".
Excellent judgement IMO!

Hellbound

2,229 posts

59 months

[news] 
Friday 24th August 2012 quote quote all
Given how well the Boxster has been received, the next Cayman is shaping up to be an absolute corker.

GroundEffect

7,907 posts

39 months

[news] 
Friday 24th August 2012 quote quote all
Stiffer rear ARB compared to front. Pretty standard chassis handling change to reduce understeer.

SimonOcean

157 posts

36 months

[news] 
Saturday 25th August 2012 quote quote all
$$$ K-ching! $$$

Another way of lightening the wallet of eager Porsche fans. I am sure it will be very nice to drive, but the gross margin on these options is obscene. So what to do? Throw caution to the wind and pay up for a dream car, or be sensible and compromise. Is this a purchase with the heart or the head?

Wills2

8,082 posts

58 months

[news] 
Saturday 25th August 2012 quote quote all

Doesn't the grey Boxster look superb in that picture as it goes through the corner.


MrQuick

130 posts

43 months

[news] 
Saturday 25th August 2012 quote quote all
Bloody hell those wheels look comical on the grey Boxster.

Goofnik

106 posts

23 months

[news] 
Sunday 26th August 2012 quote quote all
Question from someone on the other side of the pond: Can you get PTV with a Sport Chassis-equipped Boxster S, or is PASM the only route? I ask since currently for both the base and S require PASM in order to have PTV.

405dogvan

4,161 posts

148 months

[news] 
Sunday 26th August 2012 quote quote all
SimonOcean said:
$$$ K-ching! $$$

Another way of lightening the wallet of eager Porsche fans. I am sure it will be very nice to drive, but the gross margin on these options is obscene. So what to do? Throw caution to the wind and pay up for a dream car, or be sensible and compromise. Is this a purchase with the heart or the head?
It's not about what it costs upfront - it's about what it adds to resale (both in gross cash terms and in how easy the car is to resell).

There are expensive options on some cars which may lose their 'value' entirely BUT they make the car saleable - if they were missing, you'd find it much harder to find a buyer, basically.

It's a lottery of course - you've no idea what will and won't be wanted by a buyer in X years time, but you have to consider both the raw cost and the effect is has on 'resale' over and above just the cost.

Moog72

411 posts

60 months

[news] 
Tuesday 28th August 2012 quote quote all
MrQuick said:
Bloody hell those wheels look comical on the grey Boxster.
By grey I assume you mean the silver one and if so, I think those are the standard 19" Boxster S wheels aren't they?

Wills2

8,082 posts

58 months

[news] 
Tuesday 28th August 2012 quote quote all
Moog72 said:
MrQuick said:
Bloody hell those wheels look comical on the grey Boxster.
By grey I assume you mean the silver one and if so, I think those are the standard 19" Boxster S wheels aren't they?
They look very much like the optional Carrera S 20" wheel to me.

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