Porsche's all new mid-engined sportscar is seriously hard-edged and you will not want to leave the driver's seat
Porsche's latest sportscar pictured here has almost nothing in common with the earlier 987. This new Boxster, or 981, is based on the all-new 911, and that means it immediately benefits from having a much stiffer and lighter chassis. There's masses of aluminium used, the weight of the car has been pared down to a light 1350kg, the wheelbase is much longer, the stance is much wider and the new Boxster shares the Carrera's much-talked-about electro-mechanical steering and front suspension too. So in essence, this car is three-fourths the brilliant new 911, but with the engine in the right place. Only the rear axle is carried over from the old car, but has been updated. To improve traction, Porsche has tagged Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) onto the rear wheels and the centre of gravity is marginally lower too. So here, straight up, is a huge technical advantage.
The new Boxster no longer possesses the soft, cuddly, puppy dog-like lines of its predecessor. Look closely and you'll see a hardness and purposefulness not seen on earlier versions. There are hints of the Carrera GT in the design, the vertically stacked elements in the headlights remind you of the legendary 917 and the lines are tighter, crisper and more muscular. This Boxster now gets bespoke doors instead of borrowing the 911's, the rear spoiler is uniquely integrated with the tail-lights and the car can now be bought with larger 20-inch wheels for additional stability and traction.
There's the normal smattering of high-quality Porsche bits here, the large tachometer at the centre is exactly what you need for spirited driving, and the Carrera GT-style raised central console gives the cabin a cockpit-like feel. This car also has the much nicer paddleshift-equipped steering wheel which is leagues better than the flawed push-button-to-shift system, and essential when you're driving hard. And while the plastic quality of the buttons on the centre console is strictly average and pulls down the overall ambience somewhat, the smart-looking vents with their slatted extensions look really good.
But the Boxster has always been about how it drives, rather than how it looks and feels. There's a delicious rasp to the flat six motor that's straight off a 1960s Porsche GT racer and you can almost picture the exhaust shooting out of the twin pipes at the back. Pull the flat six to its high 7800rpm redline and the blat from the rear gets even harder-edged. We make our way out of the sleepy town of St Tropez, and with the sun coming up, the Boxster rips past the jetty, sending a gaggle of overweight seagulls scattering. The residents of St Tropez are not impressed.
The Boxster S is light and so its 311bhp goes a long way. It has a power-to-weight ratio of 230bhp per tonne as compared to a stock 911's 246bhp per tonne, and the really enthusiastic top end lends a raw edge to performance. The Boxster S has more than enough pace for even the really quick sections we encounter and Porsche's claims of 0-100 in 5.0sec and 0-200 in 17sec feel totally believable.
And it's also all down to the fantastic stability. Unlike the earlier car, which developed twitchy hips every time you went hard on the throttle, this one just seems plated to the tarmac. And that makes carrying speed through a really fast section of corners massively enjoyable. Even the brakes are spot on; they have plenty of bite and are nice and progressive. This makes it much easier to shave off that last ounce of speed as you gently allow the nose to scramble towards the apex of a corner.
Wish it could have had a more feelsome steering though. The new electric system gets the job done, and it's well-weighted too.
It is hard to find a fault with the new Boxster and it leaves its competition in the dust. With an approximate price tag of Rs. 70 lakh for this car, you may find it a bit steep, but the Boxster is well-worth it.