KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors
Now entering its twelfth model year and third iteration, the 2009 Porsche Boxster continues to reap the benefits of Porsche's traditional evolutionary method of engineering. As Porsche's most affordable offering, the Boxster convertibles offer all the stylish good looks and "Hey, I'm somebody" attitude of rivals from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, but in a package that is 100-percent performance oriented. New engines this year increase horsepower and fuel economy, although both models still trail their Cayman siblings by about 10 horsepower each. The numerical difference may seem minor but the performance difference is remarkable.
You'll Like This Car If...
The 2009 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 2009
The Boxster receives a new 2.9-liter boxer engine, while the Boxster S receives an upgraded 3.4-liter engine, both providing more horsepower and improved fuel economy over last year's units. A new PDK (Porsche-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe) double clutch auto-manual transmission replaces the Tiptronic-S, while a six-speed manual gearbox is now standard on the base Boxster. LED daytime running lights occupy the space previously reserved for the Boxster's fog lights.
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. The performance of the all-new PDK double-clutch gearbox is light years beyond the previous Tiptronic S automatic and delivers faster performance times than the excellent six-speed manual.
PDK Double-Clutch Gearbox
Really two transmissions in one, the 1,3,5,7 and Reverse gears are controlled by one unit while the even number gears are operated by the other. This setup allows instantaneous shifts on par with the best manuals in the business.
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 2009 Porsche Boxster comes equipped with a six-speed manual transmission with a 2.9-liter six-cylinder engine, while the Boxster S includes a six-speed manual 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. An all-new PDK double-clutch gearbox is available on both models. Boxster buyers can also move up to the 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 2009 Boxster models benefit from new engines providing more horsepower and better fuel economy. The base Boxster receives an all-new 2.9- horizontally-opposed (boxer) six-cylinder engine that pumps out 255 horsepower and, even more importantly in terms of on-the-road performance, substantial torque (214 pound-feet) that peaks from 4,400 to 5,500 rpm. The Boxster S benefits from an improved 3.4-liter horizontally-opposed six-cylinder engine that puts out 310 horsepower, allowing it to accelerate from zero to 60 mph in under five seconds when equipped with the new PDK double-clutch gearbox.
255 horsepower @ 6400 rpm
214 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400-6000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/27 (manual), 20/29 (automatic)
310 horsepower @ 6400 rpm
266 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400-5500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26 (manual), 20/29 (automatic)
The 2009 Porsche Boxster's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts around $47,500, while the Boxster S is closer to $57,500. Adding the new PDK transmission, adds another $3,400 to the price. 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 and see what the Boxster is going for in your area. Over time, both the Boxster and Boxster S retain similar above-average resale values; percentages on both trump those of a comparable Audi TT Roadster, Mercedes-Benz SLK350, BMW Z4 and Honda S2000.