Porsche Boxster

The Boxster is Porsche's "entry-level" sports car, built on a mid-engine chassis with seating for two. For 2016, it's offered in four levels: Base, S, GTS and Spyder.

The Base-level Boxster is powered by a 2.7L flat-6-cylinder engine that makes 265 horsepower. The S gets a 3.4L version of the flat-six, tuned to make 315 horsepower. The GTS is also powered by a 3.4L, though thanks partially to a standard sport exhaust, the GTS makes 330 horsepower. The top of the line Boxster Spyder is powered by a 375 horsepower 3.8L flat-six, borrowed from the 911. Two transmissions are available: a 6-speed manual is standard and PDK 7-speed dual clutch transmission is optional on all four models.

Mileage is pretty good for a sports car, thanks primarily to the Boxster's low weight. Fuel economy for the base model is rated at 20 mpg city/30 mpg highway. The S does only marginally less well at 28 mpg highway.

Safety features include standard anti-lock brakes, traction control, Porsche Stability Management and a host of side, thorax and head airbags for both driver and passenger. LED indicator lights and tail lights help improve visibility in all conditions.

The base Boxster is very well equipped, coming with electric-assist steering, 18-inch wheels, a power-folding convertible top with rear heated glass. The rear air dam extends and retracts automatically at speed. The wipers are rain-sensing. Inside, the Boxster comes with leather seat trim, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel and keyless entry are included.

The S upgrades the powertrain but it also upgrades the wheels to 19-inch. The headlights are HID and the sound system gets upgraded to a 7-inch touchscreen model.

The Boxster Spyder is new for 2016, and occupies the top rung on the Boxster performance ladder. With its 375 horsepower, it's the most powerful Boxster ever sold. It's more than just a powerful engine however, unique styling gives it a speedster look while a manually operated (but electronically latching) soft top saves weight.

Porsche is notorious for offering a very extensive list of customization options. The Boxster offers 4 additional wheel options, 2 types of power-adjustable seats that are available in a dizzying array of leather trim. A Premium package adds dual-zone climate control, HID headlamps and power-adjustable seats. Ceramic composite high-performance brakes are available, as is a sport exhaust system. In-dash navigation and Bose audio are available, so are color-keyed seatbelts, ventilated seats, several wood-trimmed heated steering wheels-- the list is very extensive.

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Do you hear that? It's the cry of Porsche purists falling over at the thought of a modern P-car powered by a four-cylinder engine. Well, guess what? It's here, and it's taking the form of the all-new Porsche 718 Boxster.

The 718 moniker is a throwback to Porsche's flat-four-engined racecars from the late 1950s, even if the connection is tenuous at best. Either way, the 718 Boxster (and the hopped-up Boxster S) come equipped with two fewer cylinders than before.

The Boxster's flat-four is a 2.0-liter turbocharged unit, putting out 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. Upgrading to the Boxster S increases displacement to 2.5 liters, output rises to 350 hp and 309 lb-ft and the standard turbocharger is replaced with a variable unit. With the optional PDK dual-clutch transmission (a six-speed manual is standard), the Boxster will hit 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, and the S will do it in 4 flat.

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