Open Season: Porsche Boxster


If I had worn a hat, it would have been perfect. We're kicking off our PH 'Open Season' with Porsche's simplest offering and, after an (icy) afternoon blast around some of Surrey's quieter roads, an object lesson in how to make a damn fine sports car. And a reminder of how cold a fellow's head can get.

The current iteration of the Boxster has been around more or less unchanged (barring a mild refresh in 2009) for half a decade or so now, and it remains a shining example of how Porsche can sometimes get a car so bang on straight out of the box.


Everything it does just feels absolutely right, from the ideally balanced, weighted and positioned pedals, to the just-so gearbox, to steering that responds quickly but without seeming hyperactive.

But we all know that the Boxster is a fine car to drive; what really counts for the purposes of 'Open Season' is whether it's a decent soft-top. And you have to say that here the Boxster scores pretty highly.

One of the key benefits of open motoring is that you can hear engine notes that much better. Of course, this only works if said engine sounds good in the first place, but that's all right, because the Boxster does sound rather lovely.


The 2.9-litre flat six (this is hair-shirt Porsche - no posh 3.4-litre 'S' model here) is nothing spectacular in the power stakes - 255bhp and 214lb ft won't set your trousers on fire - but from around 4000rpm all the way to beyond 7000rpm the sceramy, creamy gurgle that emanates from the (optional sports) exhaust is genuinely intoxicating.

It's also quick enough to keep you interested, particularly if you're feeling sufficiently brave to switch off the Porsche Stability Management system. Our car also had the optional limited-slip diff fitted, which is a seriously worthwhile addition - you can really feel it doing its stuff as you accelerate out of slow corners.


If we have to pick a fault, the general view among the rest of the chaps in the office is that the heating doesn't win the battle convincingly enough against the worst excesses of the current cold snap.

But then engine isn't in the most appropriate place to warm the driver at high speeds. And compared with the personal 'Open Season' I endured at the tail-end of last winter in my unheated PH Fleet Caterham Seven, the Boxster's cabin might as well be heated by a blast furnace - so these things are all relative.

As fresh-air motoring experiences go overall, however, the Boxster is near-unimpeachable. It truly is a fine - and very PH - way to start our season of wintry open-top motoring. Now if you'll excuse me I have a bobble hat to buy...

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (114) Join the discussion on the forum

  • broker1 10 Dec 2010

    nickfrog said:
    broker1 said:
    Anyhow, I guess the real world experiences of those that have owned and run P-cars next to more traditional cars count for very little when we can just use the internet to back up (poorly) any spurious argument we chose.
    Absolutely but you're being harsh on yourself or simply judging me by your own standards. Bought any M3 parts lately ?

    broker1 said:
    so at least you learned something from this thread......clap
    Or maybe you have, particularly if you're American ? clap
    Are you seriously standing by your statement that Beemer parts are similar in cost to Porsche??

    You are either too pig headed to accept your statement was wrong or simply a fool?

    I'm tempted to lean towards the latter as simply looking at my profile would tell you I'm in the UK and ran an S3 prior to my Cayman, I'd suggest S3 parts are comparible in cost to an M3 but no doubt you would contest this with your direct ownership experiences of both cars.

    FWIW my colleague is running an E92 M3 and is chuckling at this thread as we speak.... he won't be joining the Porsche club any time soon after watching me shell out over a grand for 'N4' rated tyres (again 50% of the cost of my tyres was met by my Porsche warranty as I argued they shouldn't have supplied me with a car running tyres that were no longer being manufactured i.e. N3 - but this would not have been possible on some of the cheap out-of-warranty examples people were getting excited about).

    You now have numerous posts, containing a number of different examples of why a Porsche is more costly to run than a BMW, second hand or not. And we have not even talked petrol or insurance....

    I know some people will simple never retract a statementn (certainly not on PH!!) or even accept info from people who are better placed than themselves. But after all that is why ignorance is said to blissful I guess....

    Edited by broker1 on Friday 10th December 13:22

  • nickfrog 10 Dec 2010

    broker1 said:
    Anyhow, I guess the real world experiences of those that have owned and run P-cars next to more traditional cars count for very little when we can just use the internet to back up (poorly) any spurious argument we chose.
    Absolutely but you're being harsh on yourself or simply judging me by your own standards. Bought any M3 parts lately ?

    broker1 said:
    so at least you learned something from this thread......clap
    Or maybe you have, particularly if you're American ? clap

  • broker1 10 Dec 2010

    caboosemoose said:
    nickfrog said:
    Just ordered some OE front discs+pads+sensors today : £175 delivered for my 987 2.7 - For a 330i = £173! (OE) Source = Eurocarparts.
    To be fair it depends on which parts you are talking about. Lets say you rad blows in this cold weather. The single rad in the BMW is cheap to buy and dead simple to replace. Each of the the two rads in the Box as much as one BMW rad and they are much more labour intensive to replace. Lots of other items like suspension arms are much more expensive on the Box.

    I've own several six-pot 3er BMWs and I would say parts are generally significantly cheaper. Second hand parts for the BMW are absolutely dirt cheap, too, whereas breakers dealing in Porsche parts charge rip-off prices simply because of the badge. Porsche indies are also more expensive than BMW indies, by a pretty clear margin. Again, this is the badge working its magic.
    Indeed. Not quite sure what the relevance of that list of parts had here. Anyhow, I guess the real world experiences of those that have owned and run P-cars next to more traditional cars count for very little when we can just use the internet to back up (poorly) any spurious argument we chose.

    p.s. you are right, a muffler is also refered to as a silencer or sometimes a rear box - so at least you learned something from this thread......clap

    Edited by broker1 on Friday 10th December 09:21


    Edited by broker1 on Friday 10th December 09:22

  • 2manycars 09 Dec 2010

    nickfrog said:
    I am on my second Boxster (a 2.7 987) and drive it all year round. I just can't believe how good it is to drive. The chassis is simply stunning, as in not better than the S2000, Z4 or SLK chassis, but without exageration, totally in a different league to those. Steering is nothing short of telepathic, damping is incredibly well judged, grip is ridiculous, traction immense, noise incredible. My only crticism is the gaps between gears (5-speed), not helped by the modest torque. Only other issue is 19' wheels robs a bit of feel for very little grip benefit. I paid £15k for a 4 year /45k miles high spec car. Can't think of a better car for that kind of money. I love the fact that those who've never driven one or would not appreciate its dynamic qualities anyway slag it off as it keeps second hand value very low so a big thank you to the idiots who still go on about the "poorman's Porsche" or the "hairdresser's car" type of Clarkson inspired comments. Keep them going please.
    I couldn't agree with you more, I've had two 997's (a C2 & C4 Cab) and i've had a 986 and a 987. I can honestly say that i preferred the boxsters to the 911s just because i found them more well balanced and just a lot more fun. A brilliant car (either 986 or 987) for next to nothing.

  • caboosemoose 09 Dec 2010

    nickfrog said:
    Just ordered some OE front discs+pads+sensors today : £175 delivered for my 987 2.7 - For a 330i = £173! (OE) Source = Eurocarparts.
    To be fair it depends on which parts you are talking about. Lets say you rad blows in this cold weather. The single rad in the BMW is cheap to buy and dead simple to replace. Each of the the two rads in the Box as much as one BMW rad and they are much more labour intensive to replace. Lots of other items like suspension arms are much more expensive on the Box.

    I've own several six-pot 3er BMWs and I would say parts are generally significantly cheaper. Second hand parts for the BMW are absolutely dirt cheap, too, whereas breakers dealing in Porsche parts charge rip-off prices simply because of the badge. Porsche indies are also more expensive than BMW indies, by a pretty clear margin. Again, this is the badge working its magic.

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