KBB Editors' Overview
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.
You'll Like This Car If...
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.
You May Not Like This Car If...
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.
What's New for 2008
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.
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.
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.
Notable Standard Equipment
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.
Notable Optional Equipment
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).
Under the Hood
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)
The 2008 Porsche Boxster's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts around $47,000, while the Boxster S is closer to $57,000. Both are now selling for slightly less than those figures, but Fair Purchase Prices, that represent prices consumers are actually paying at any given moment, can differ substantially, so click on the Fair Purchase Prices to compare. The Boxster S is expected to hold slightly more of its original value than a Boxster over time. Resale percentages on both will likely be about equal to those of a comparable Audi TT Roadster or Mercedes-Benz SLK350 but fall slightly behind those of the BMW Z4 and Honda S2000.