|Photos by Ulysses Ang|
Although the shape isn’t as sexy as the Italians, the classic Porsche teardrop profile has itself become a recognizable trademark when it comes to stamping authority on the German Autobahn. Armed with Flat-6 engines, Porsches combine the marque’s glorious past with the best of today’s technologies.
The Boxster, whether Porsche would like to admit it or not, borrows heavily from the influence of its history, specifically the 550 Spyder, the same car that cinematic great James Dean drove to the afterlife, and the 356/1 racers of the 1950’s. Ultimately, the mid-engine, rear-wheel drive layout served as the symbol of the racing cars that took the 24-Hours of Le Mans endurance race by storm in 1953. Beyond the layout, the Boxster’s curvaceous front and rear ends point back to the bulging wheel arches of the classic Spyder. The low-slung driving position, high side windows, and center exhaust pipe all point back to the modern car’s illustrious ancestor.
However, the Boxster isn’t just another retro vehicle. More than anything, the Boxster shows why Porsche is the top dog when it comes to engineering and refinement. This time, Porsche has fitted a 2.7-liter Flat-6 with both direct fuel injection (DFI) and two-phase variable valve timing (VarioCam Plus). All in all, it’s good for 265 horsepower at 6,700 rpm and 280 Nm of torque from 4,500 to 6,500 rpm. The engine also features dry sump lubrication which means it can take more intense cornering since it’s less susceptible to oil deprivation. Moreover, the engine can be mounted lower since it doesn’t require a separate oil pan that tends to take up space.
Sadly though, you can’t admire this potent powerplant. Accessibility to the engine bay is fairly limited, as the engine itself is almost completely sealed. This means that the would-be owner can only top-up fluids but do little else except take it to a Porsche Centre for service. On the other hand, the mid-engine layout means the Boxster has two trunks: one in the front and the other at the rear. Already great in pranking mall security guards, it means an available 280 liters of cargo space (150 liters in front, 130 liters at the back) with the roof top or down. These easily swallow up any kind of luggage including a set of golf clubs making it a great companion during long-haul trips.
Starting the Boxster is an event in itself: the key slots on the left side of the steering wheel, near the light switch instead of the conventional right side. Once the ignition kicks in, the engine roars to life with a baritone voice. The hum of the mid-mounted engine acts like a permanent subwoofer. At idle, it’s balanced and smooth. Apply a bit of throttle though and the experience turns orgasmic. The telltale rumble of the Flat-6 turns into the sound of a beast clearing its throat before turning into a full-on masculine roar. If you want to know how Benedict Cumberbatch would sound as a car, look no further. Plus, you’ll rocket past 100 km/h in just 5.7 seconds.
Standard in the Philippines is PDK or Porsche Doppelkupplung. Left to do its black magic in city traffic, the Boxster feels considerably easy to drive. There are some instances where it’ll lurch forward unexpectedly, but minute correction of throttle application solves this. For all its civilities though, it does feel like a caged animal while prowling on EDSA. It’s best experienced on the open road where the gentle Boxster turns into a racer with lighting quick responses. This is best experienced with the steering wheel-mounted thumb shifters (press down for upshifts and pull up for downshifts). A Sport button located to the left of the shift lever is there for those who want even more responsiveness. It increases the sensitivity of the throttle and keeps the revs higher before shifting.
The Boxster’s compact exterior and highly sophisticated suspension makes it accurate and precise through any kind of corner, whether it’s a fast sweeper or slow bend. The mid-corner stability is consistent even under intense acceleration. Road feedback is pleasingly communicated through the hefty steering and it’s very easy to point it where you want it to go thanks to the bulging front fender arches. The low ground clearance can lead to misconceptions that it’ll scrape the humps every time it goes over them, but this isn’t the case. In fact, it does humps better than many lowered Japanese sedans.
The body structure is also first rate whether the roof is up or down. The roof takes only the touch of a button and about 10 seconds to disappear (as quick as a typical compact to accelerate to 100 km/h). Either way, it feels as snug as a fixed roof coupe even during hard acceleration and cornering maneuvers. Sure, there are some outside noises that enter the cabin from the top, but for the most part, it’s well insulated. Sadly, there are notorious blind spots, particularly at the three-quarters rear.
Credit is due in crafting an interior that’s a mix of elegance and sportiness. As expected, all trim pieces are premium, making the cabin feel like a comfortable and sophisticated command center. With the individual controls stacked on top of each other, it’s intimidating as it is beautiful. A minor gripe is that the Boxster doesn’t even come with USB or Bluetooth as standard equipment—only a single CD and auxiliary audio input. Still, why bother when the real music comes from right behind the driver’s compartment. The ergonomics is spot on with all the controls falling within easy reach. One big difference between the Boxster and the usual sedan is that the steering wheel is almost completely vertical. It does seem awkward in the beginning, but becomes natural after a few minutes.
Overall, the Porsche Boxster is one unique car that easily stands above the crowd in any occasion. It’s a merger of modern technology with 1950’s styling. It’s a proclamation of what made Porsches so well-known while steadily becoming a marker of where the brand is headed. People don’t necessarily need to learn the history of Porsche to appreciate this car and others don’t even have to drive it to be in awe. Nonetheless, if you’re one of the lucky few who get the chance to drive one, it rewards like no other car out there. Plus, if you want more hardcore thrills, the Boxster family comes in more intense flavors as well. This is definitely for the adult who admits to being a kid at heart.
2015 Porsche Boxster
|Ownership||2015 Porsche Boxster|
|Vehicle Classification||Sports Car|
|Engine / Drive||M/R|
|Under the Hood|
|Aspiration||Direct Injection, NA|
|Layout / # of Cylinders||F6|
|BHP @ rpm||265 @ 6,700|
|Nm @ rpm||280 @ 4,500-6,500|
|Fuel / Min. Octane||Gasoline / 98~|
|Dimensions and Weights|
|Curb Weight (kg)||1,360|
|Suspension and Tires|
|Front Suspension||Independent, Lightweight Spring-Strut|
|Rear Suspension||Independent, Lightweight Spring-Strut|
|Front Brakes||Vented and Cross-Drilled Disc|
|Rear Brakes||Vented and Cross-Drilled Disc|
|Tires||Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2 235/45R18 Y (f),
Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2 265/45R18 Y (r)
|Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS)||Yes|
|Traction / Stability Control||Yes|
|Fog Lamps||Yes, Rear|
|Steering Wheel Adjustment||Tilt/Telescopic|
|Steering Wheel Material||Leather|
|Seating Adjustment||Partial Electric|
|Folding Rear Seat||No|
|Power Door Locks||Yes|
|No. of Speakers||4|
|Steering Wheel Controls||Yes|