2012 Porsche Boxster & Boxster S Review & First Drive

by under Review2012 Porsche Boxster & Boxster S Review & First Drive on 09 Jul 2012 02:46:40 PM09 Jul 2012
Price Range
$NaN - $NaN
Fuel Consumption
NaNL - NaNL/100km

Cabrio flexibility with Porsche grunt and purity


Price, in-cabin storage

2012 Porsche Boxster Overview

The Boxster is credited with saving a struggling Porsche back in 1996, but has earned the ire of some performance purists for its (deliberately) less-than-Carrera performance, and arguably soft and therefore feminine styling lines. In its third generation, these criticisms can be laid aside.


2012 Porsche Boxster Engine

The 2.7-litre base Boxer develops 195kW at a peaky 6700rpm and 280Nm between 4500 – 6500rpm, delivered through the rear wheels, with the choice of a standard manual or optional $5300 PDK seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. It does not get the Carrera’s new seven-speed manual, preferring to offer a more conventional six-speed manual shifter.

Fuel use is set at just 8.2L/100km and half a litre less in PDK form, and it claims a 0 – 100km/h sprint time of 5.8 seconds in the manual and 5.7 seconds in PDK form.


The 3.4-litre S engine doles out 232kW at 6700rpm, a beefy 360Nm in a lesser 4500-5600rpm power band, and clocks 0 – 100km/h in 5.1 seconds for the manual and 5.0 seconds in PDK. It uses 0.4L more than the smaller Boxster engine.

Like the new 991 Carrera 911, the Boxster’s engine as well as its frame has been lightened with the use of composite metals and materials, while tech additions such as a (thankfully switchable) stop-start system has brought fuel savings of around 15 per cent compared to the superseded model. 

2012 Porsche Boxster The Interior

The Panamera/new 911 influence in the interior is clear, with the Boxster now aping the former’s centre stack and door designs, and better ergonomics of the instrument panel, uprated luxuries and seats. 


There are still only two cupholders, but the compartments in the doors have doubled, and the boot and bonnet still hide away 130L and 150L of space respectively. 

2012 Porsche Boxster Exterior & Styling

This third generation Boxster finally does away with the arguably feminine design lines of the previous iterations - the soft, rounded edges are gone, replaced with sharp lines, squared bumpers and wide fenders which now fit up to 20-inch alloys. The low skirting and 13mm lower ride height hunker it down to the road surface, while Carrera GT-inspired air ducts fore of the rear wheels swallow air right into the mid-mounted engine while further influencing its new, tough image. 


The taillamps are squared off to form an extension of the rear spoiler, which still automatically pops out at speeds over 80km to aid downforce and drag – almost every design cue is based on performance, but while appearance is secondary, it is effective in giving the once feminine Boxster an aggressive and decidedly masculine appearance. 

2012 Porsche Boxster On The Road

With the engine mounted right behind your backside and the road seemingly right underneath it, the driving experience is visceral and involving. Arguably better balanced than the 911, the car is maneuverable and pliable without the on-limit nerves of its rear-engined big brother, particularly in the lesser-powered base car. Which makes it easier to drive quickly, and drive well.

The stability control system is deep and well calibrated, while the brakes, which are four-piston calipers front and rear, haul up the car with ease.


The “sport” setting opens up the throat of the engine for more noise, faster-flowing air, peps up the shifts in the PDK and eases off the nanny controls for an even more spirited drive. The Boxster S has a “Sport Plus” button on top of the standard “Sport” setting which kicks everything up another notch – in the PDK, it kicks it down two gears instead of one. Add the Sports Chrono package, and it’s pushed even further.

The steering is direct and constantly provides feedback – anyone harking on about Porsche’s new assisted rack ruining the purity of the steering is either a top-level technician or a total tosser.
It is difficult to find anything to really criticize about the performance of the new Boxster. It’s that good. 

2012 Porsche Boxster Challenges

Mainly the price, though some may argue that the Boxster is very cheap for what you get. The base Boxster is brilliant, and at only $1400 more than the previous version, the value equation is equally persuasive.


But you need to have $107K in the first place. Also, with the base car being simply so good, paying $133,800 for the S model is a little harder to argue. And the options list is very long and very expensive. For example, the Sport Chrono Package, which features launch control, knocks another 0.2 seconds off the 0-100km/h sprint and is basically a must for the weekend track enthusiast, but is an almost un-tickable box at $4,790. 

2012 Porsche Boxster Verdict

Now, more than ever, the baby Porsche is a true threat to the iconic Carrera.


2012 Porsche Boxster The Competition

Obvious opponents are the other Germans.
The Mercedes-Benz SLK range is a little mismatched next to the Porsche – it starts at $91,900 for a 1.8-litre turbo and eco-friendly BlueEfficiency badge, through a $118,900 3.5-litre V6 with 225kW – a better match for the Boxster S - to the range-topping $150K AMG55.

The BMW Z4 is an easier entry into the segment at $76,900 for the base 2.0-litre turbo manual, but the real match for the Boxster is the 3.0-litre twin-turbo six, which sits between the Porsche at $120,500.


Audi’s 2.0-litre TTS turbo with 200kW and 350Nm begins at $98,900, with the more hyper 2.5-litre five-cylinder TTRS with a 250kW and 450Nm at $139,900. However, the all-wheel-drive system, while adding grip, lacks the handling purity of the other rear-drive competitors.


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