Monday, 9 May 2011

Porsche Boxster - Is Pure Sports Car and Pure Fun

Porsche’s product development cycles are unlike other manufacturers. They introduce few models and keep them in circulation for many years. That necessitates an occasional upgrade of a current model. Think of how many iterations the 911 has been through…

We had the opportunity to re-experience the wiles of the Boxster at the completely renovated Circuit de Mont Tremblant racetrack just north of Montreal in Canada. This is truly a beautiful area and the track was similarly well suited for this type of drive. This part of Canada is in the Laurentien Mountains. Geologically, these are very old worn down mountains and often look like very large tree covered hills. The landscape, however, is what seems to be a never-ending series of rolling hills, forests, lakes and greenery…a perfect place for a road course.

On hand at the track were 3 well-experienced champion race drivers. As we sped through the countryside and over the track, it was reinforced yet again that the dominant gene in Porsche’s DNA pool is performance. That capability above all else is so fundamentally bred into the vehicle that roads and tracks that would severely challenge another vehicle, are easy and comfortable for the Boxster. Dips, corners, curves and swells are what this roadster was built for. It begs for a chance to sweep around a bend, crest a rise or attack an S curve. One of the things our pro drivers taught me was how important comfort is in a racecar. Having done the 24 hour endurance races at Daytona and LeMans they’ll tell you that not all race cars are equally refined and comfortable. Many can go fast but they beat up the driver in the process. Porsche’s as it turns out are very fast and very comfortable.

When driving a Boxster on a racetrack, it must be done with the top down. It’s all part of the overall sensory experience. You need to feel the movement of the car. You have to bond with the machine and the elements. Though the tachometer is the most dominant gauge in the most visible position on the dashboard, you shift gears by listening to the engine…you’re too busy driving to look down. You’ve got to congratulate the Porsche engineers who control the machine-driver interfaces. Not only does the machine perform well according to the numbers, but it also evokes such passion while driving it that you just want to own one yourself. Studies show that the single greatest factor in owner satisfaction is whether they “LIKE” driving their vehicle or not. Owners will overlook a surprising number of other vehicle shortcomings if they like their car. I guess that’s why Porsche enjoys such a loyal customer following.

The Boxster is the mid-engined Porsche. The horizontally opposed flat 6 is positioned ahead of the transaxle thus maintaining perfect balance and harmony in this little piece of the automotive universe. The cockpit will hold 2 comfortably and there is both a front and rear luggage compartment. The seating is superbly supportive and comfortable. The interior styling is sporty, classic and elegant. The 2003 interior has a new look, more similar to the 911 than before. The audio system is also upgraded and the optional Bose system is now powerful enough to compete with the wind during open top driving.

Though the Boxster is the “entry” level Porsche, it possesses all the sporting pedigree of the brand that its more expensive and more exotic siblings have. It is just as fun to drive and even though its terminal velocity is lower than the others in the line, it’s more than enough for the city streets where most of us spend our time. Add to that the fact that it is one of the best looking sports cars available, and you can understand the appeal

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