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The Porsche Boxster is better than a 911

As a sports car, it just is. Actually, it's better than most things.

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The Porsche Boxster has, unfairly, been referred to as the Porsche you buy if you can't afford a 911. It used to have doors and headlamps off of a 911, a paired-down interior, and it felt like it was made from offcuts. It was a bit of a Frankencar.

There were some pretty major differences, though: size, price, number of seats, engine size, and (most importantly) engine position. It's the midmounted engine that makes it so special.

Anyway, the 981 generation Boxster is the first to have doors all of its own, which means Porsche is taking the Boxster seriously as a model in its own right. It's lighter than ever, too, despite the fact that it's really rather large. I'm by no means a large chap, but the Boxster dwarfs me -- I can't imagine what'd happen when a chap looks "big" in it; he'd have to be the size of a small maisonette.

I digress.

Balance is the Boxster's party piece. Its weight distribution gives you so much confidence to hurl it around that you can get carried away. It feels so planted that I'm pretty sure that physics has simply skipped over the Boxster. Its steering is the same electromechanical system you'll find in the 911. This is no bad thing. Y'see, while purists complain that it's not as precise as the old cars', I'm 99 percent certain that most people simply won't notice there's been a change. The only reason they're complaining is because someone else has, based on a race driver/handy wheelman's opinion, said it wasn't quite as good as the older version.

The system works wonderfully. It still feels great, you still know which way you're pointed and where the car is. Porsche had to make the switch from hydro to electric to keep MPG figures high and CO2 emissions low. The right call was made, and I'm pretty sure in five years no one will really care about it.

Under the Boxster S', erm, body sits a 315 bhp 3.4-litre flat six. It does two things very well: (1) go quickly, (2) make glorious noise. You'll see just how in the video.

One final point on the Boxster, and it's about its looks. The rear deck reminds me of ice cream. No idea why. It just does.

Engine 3.4-litre flat six
Power 315 bhp
Torque 265 lb. ft.
0-62 mph 5.1 seconds
Top speed    173 mph