By KBB.com Editors
Now entering its eleventh model year and third iteration, the 2008 Porsche Boxster continues to reap the benefits of Porsche's traditional evolutionary method of engineering. Last year's power bump put the Boxster S on equal footing with its Cayman sibling, which shares the 3.4-liter, 295-horsepower powerplant; the "just plain" Boxster and Cayman carry on with the 245-horsepower, 2.7-liter engine. The numerical difference may seem minor but the performance difference is remarkable.
The 2008 Boxster carries on the legacy of Porsche's legendary 550 Spyder and 356 Speedster in a thoroughly modern convertible format that combines day-to-day utility with performance and handling that rival more exotic machinery. Either model, but especially the basic Boxster, provides all the benefits of belonging to one of motoring's more exclusive clubs without paying excessive dues.
Anyone looking for edgy, aggressive styling and racetrack performance to match would be better served by the Cayman. Although both the Boxster and Boxster S come fairly well equipped for the money, the option list is long and pricey and your Boxster may drive out the door with a price tag equivalent to a 911.
Lightweight sport seats with adjustable backrests are a new option, while Boxsters equipped with leather add Carrera Red to the interior color palette. Oil-change intervals are extended to 12,000 miles and spark-plug replacement to 36,000 miles.
Driving Impressions Porsches are excellent driving machines and both Boxster models more than live up to that heritage. They are rewarding to drive at nearly any level of expertise. The feel and...responsiveness of the steering is incredible, allowing for accurate and exact placement through just about any type of turn and at just about any speed a reasonable person might attempt. The handling is as exceptional as the steering, although the combination of optional 19-inch wheels and the "sport" setting of the PASM on certain road surfaces can result in a very harsh ride. Through the years, the term "Porsche brakes" has become a synonym for the ultimate in safe, positive stopping. Best of all, even though it is a convertible, the Boxster is no fair-weather-only vehicle when it comes to safe and exceptional levels of performance in wet or dry conditions. Although the performance of the Tiptronic S transmission continues to improve, those physically capable should consider only the ultra-smooth six-speed manual.
Anyone who has ever used a sports car as a daily driver, let alone taken a trip in one, has to feel that having not one, but two reasonable trunks is like having your cake and eating it, too – and then getting seconds.
Porsche Stability Management (PSM)
Porsche Stability Management is great for what it doesn't do – interfere with your fun during aggressive driving – as much as what it does do – bail you out when the fun stops because your gumption has exceeded your ability.
The interior, a modern interpretation of the classic Porsche look – notably the instrument panel, which is dominated by a large centered-mounted tachometer – carries over the major 2005 revamp that stressed roomier accommodations and upgraded materials. Four leather-covered seating choices range from mainly-manual six-way adjustable standard seats to fully-powered "adaptive" sport seats.Exterior
Styling carries over from the subtle, but effective muscular enhancement of the fender lines that debuted in 2005. You can spot the S model by its additional horizontal cooling duct in the lower front fascia and the dual exhaust outlets at the rear.
The Boxster comes equipped with a five-speed manual transmission with a 2.7-liter six-cylinder engine, while the Boxster S includes a six-speed manual transmission and 3.4-liter six-cylinder engine. Both models have four-wheel disc brakes with four-piston calipers at each wheel. The Boxster rides on standard 17-inch alloy wheels and the S on 18-inch alloys. Each model features a canvas top, which can be operated at speeds up to 40 mph and includes an electrically-heated rear glass window. Because of the mid-engine location and lack of a spare tire and jack (an electric air compressor and can of tire sealant are substituted), the Boxster offers ample storage with a 5.3 cubic-feet capacity front trunk and a rear trunk of 4.6 cubic-feet capacity. Safety items include the excellent Porsche Stability Management system (PSM), as well as anti-lock braking system (ABS), Anti-Slip Regulation (ASR) and Automatic Brake Differential (ABD). In addition to two-stage front airbags, both driver and passenger are protected by a side-impact system that includes torso-protecting airbags at the outside of the seat backrest and head airbags in the door windowsills.
Porsche aficionados look forward to personalizing their new Porsches nearly as much as driving them. Porsche acknowledges this with an extensive, and expensive, list of options. The pleasure cruisers will opt for a full leather interior, Bose Surround Sound, a six-CD changer and the Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system that combines controls for the audio and on-board computer readout with a DVD navigation system. A revised Tiptronic S five-speed automatic transmission is available on both models. Boxster buyers can also move up to the six-speed manual transmission and 18-inch wheels of the Boxster S, while 19-inch wheels are optional on both models. Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) applies sophisticated computer controls to allow drivers to adjust the suspension for comfort or sport use. The Sport Chrono Package Plus allows a driver to dial in even more aggressive sportiness by adjusting the computer controls for the PSM, PASM and engine management. It also includes a somewhat gimmicky lap timing function. Big spenders and track enthusiasts can drop over $8,000 for Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB).
Both 2008 Boxster models benefit from changes made in the engine compartments last year, although the basic Boxster shows the most improvement despite a smaller power gain. Its 2.7-liter horizontally-opposed (boxer) six-cylinder engine pumps out 245 horsepower and, even more importantly in terms of on-the-road performance, substantial torque (201 pound-feet) that peaks from 4600 to 6000 rpm. The Boxster S benefits from a larger 3.4-liter horizontally-opposed six-cylinder engine that puts out 295 horsepower, allowing it to accelerate from zero to 60 mph in only 5.1 seconds.
245 horsepower @ 6500 rpm
201 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4600-6000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/29 (five-speed manual), 19/28 (six-speed manual), 19/26 (automatic)
295 horsepower @ 6250 rpm
251 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400-6000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26 (manual), 18/25 (automatic)
By E27 on Monday, November 26, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Very fun to drive"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"We tested the 911s, Cayman, Z4, and Elise and came away with a Boxster S black on black. The jump in hp with the S is noticable and needed. If we could, we would drop in the 911 S engine. With that engine mounted mid-engine in the Boxster the car would be awesome. As it is, the car handles very well in its design envelope and can be driven comfortably as a daily driver. The 911 is rear biased, but has good power - no. The Cayman is closed up - no. The Z4 is front engined - no. The Elise handles well at the track but is not well sorted with a huge blind spot - no. The Boxster could handle a bigger engine but Porsche will never put as powerful of an engine as any 911 engine into this car. 911 owners would cry foul! Overall the Boxster S has everything we were looking for - a droptop, decent power, very good handling, and a classic design. The Bose stereo is very nice at full volume but you will want to turn it off when you get on the throttle as the boxster engine makes a very nice growl wide open. Mileage is ok at 19 combined. Oh, and get the short shift kit on the 6 speed manual for sweet snappy shifts in the power band. At the track you will definitely want more power, but most times you will be driving on city streets so for that, the S has power a plenty. If you really want and need therapy, this car for what it is, will no doubt make you one very, very happy patient... ;-)"
35 people out of 35 found this review helpful
By JohnB (AR) on Friday, June 15, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,700overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great value in a great sports car! :>"
Cons: "No dealers in Arkansas. :("
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"The S version of the now venerable Boxster is the one to own. Our previous 2004 base Boxster was okay, but the S is several steps above it in power and handling, so if you're in the market for a Boxster, spend the extra money on an S. The interior of the Boxster is IMHO not up to par with the Porsche image of quality and the surfaces wear prematurely if care isn't taken to treat them gently. Otherwise, the car is pretty much "bullet proof" reliable as long as scheduled services are done. If you own a Porsche, you should have the funds to keep up on maintenance. That having been said, the scheduled maintenance intervals are verity well spaced, so while the bills can be large, they don't come often. If considering a pre-owned Porsche, get it inspected before buying, and have the technician check the intermediate main bearing seal on any model prior to 2009. Failure of this bearing will require engine overhaul/replacement. MY 2009 on is not a problem, as this potential problem was addressed by Porsche. Get two keys with the car. Replacement keys are very costly ($500 ) and require coding by a Porsche dealer at the dealership. Avoid black exterior color. It looks good for 5 minutes after it's cleaned, and then it shows scratches and dirt plainly, and it gets HOT in the summer. Finally, if you do buy a Porsche of any model, join the Porsche Club of America. Lots of benefits, plenty of activities, a wealth of information, and it will add tremendously to your enjoyment of owning one of these cars."
24 people out of 25 found this review helpful
By Dan (DE) on Friday, March 30, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 31,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, Comfortable, Turns Heads!"
Cons: "Dealer Service Costs"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have owned this car as my 1st Porsche- and overall I am thoroughly amazed. I have the "S" model, and with the additional power and slighly sharper tuning it is the most enjoyable car you can buy for the money. Even my wife loves to drive it as much as she can- it brings a smile to your face every time. The quality and reliability has been top-notch, though the yeary service visits are quite expensive, and some of the features like cruise control are not the most intuitive. Those are my only complaints. This will not be my last Porsche."
6 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By DENNI (MA) on Thursday, March 29, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,400overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"Great car: however not worth the price: does not hold its value as well as i thought it would. Expensive to purchase, but when trading in most dealers do not come close to blue book value"
5 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By JIM (OR) on Saturday, February 11, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 59,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive"
Cons: "Workmanship, ergonomics pricey to fix"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"I bought this car new, and have had this car four years. At 50,000 miles wear and tear are catching up with poor design and workmanship: radio goes out all the time, floor mats won't stay in place, cup holders break, seat leather is breaking down. I had a 1999 Mitsubishi Eclipse GS-T before this, and that car held up better. While the car was on warranty, I didn't mind so much taking it in 2 or 3 times a year when things randomly broke. But 2 years I bought a Honda Element, and the overall quality of ergonomic design and materials is so superior to that of the Porsche -- and nothing ever breaks down. Getting the Porsche fixed is expensive, too, especially since the only thing the dealers will do is replace parts; they can't fix anything. I will definitely not buy a Porsche again."
5 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Spyder (FL) on Tuesday, November 15, 2011
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Even my wife drives it with the convertible manual to automatic transmission. Corners like a race car"