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2011 Porsche Boxster

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2011 Porsche Boxster Review

KBB Editors' Overview

By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 7/27/2011


Now in its 14th model year, the 2011 Porsche Boxster, in spite of representing Porsche's "entry level" offering as the brand's most affordable model, continues the company's tradition of engineering excellence through relentless platform-building. It offers all the panache of its Germanic rivals from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, and also brings all the unparalleled motorsport success associated with the Porsche crest. Although overall performance generally falls slightly short of that of its fixed-roof Cayman near-twin, what the Boxster does offer is an undeniably performance-oriented, open-top Porsche experience, at a much lower cost than a 911 Cabriolet. The 2011 Porsche Boxster is offered in base, S, and Spyder models, as well as a special iteration for 2011, the Boxster S Black Edition.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you seek a signature Porsche driving experience with mid-mount engine dynamics and an open top, the Porsche Boxster is right up your alley. Or, if you'd like entry into one of the world's best high-performance "driver's clubs" without breaking the bank, the Boxster is the least expensive in the Porsche model range at nearly $4,000 less than the next least-expensive model, the fixed-roof Cayman.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you seek a signature Porsche driving experience unaltered by the lack of a roof, the Cayman may be a better choice. And the Boxster will also suffer from a problem typical of the entire Porsche range: Getting all the bells and whistles you want can make the cost increase quickly.

What's Significant About This Car?

For 2011, the Boxster and Boxster S offer more standard features, such as Bluetooth capability and a universal audio interface that provides MP3 connectivity. Popular equipment packages are also available – Convenience, Infotainment, Design and Design Sport – that group attractive options together at a value (rather than purchasing individual options separately).

Driving It Driving Impressions

Typical of its inherent Porsche DNA, any Boxster model, from the base version to the lightweight, hardcore Spyder, delivers a typically sporting driving experience. Feedback through the steering wheel and chassis are about as good as it gets. The seating position is excellent, the control functions are deliberate yet easily manageable and the built-in driver support systems, such as stability management and the active suspension (should you opt for it) are world-class – never particularly intrusive, but always there to assist should you overestimate your own driving talent. The brakes, too, are simply incredible across the range, and particularly so on the Boxster S and Boxster Spyder. The lightweight Spyder offers easily the most visceral and emotional Porsche driving experience this side of a 911 GT3, which costs about twice as much. Best of all, while they are undoubtedly sporting, the various Boxster models are exceptionally rewarding to drive for virtually any level of driving experience. And the PDK transmission, while a fairly pricey option, offers true manual gear selection with lightning speed, without the distractions of moving a gear lever or pumping a clutch pedal, for truly focused driving in any condition, on any road.

Favorite Features

Dual Clutch Gearbox (PDK)
With one clutch to mediate the odd-numbered forward (1, 3, 5, 7) and Reverse gears, and one to control the even-numbered gears, PDK is able to preload selectable gears for lightning-quick shifts that simply can't be matched by a traditional clutch-and-gear-lever transmission.


Porsche Stability Management
Thought they are often derided as "nanny" systems, Porsche's version of stability management is great in that it is nearly transparent when you really get down to aggressive driving. And, if your aggression does exceed your talent, it's there to reel you in quickly and safely.

Vehicle Details Interior

As with the exterior, not a whole lot has changed on the inside since the last model refresh two years ago. There are many seating options, including mostly-manual six-way-adjustable standard seats with partial leather upholstery, adaptive driver seats and high-performance sport bucket seats. Control ergonomics are typically very good across all models, along with a suitably sporty seating position, to allow the driver to interface well with the car in all driving situations, from just cruising to high performance.

Exterior   photo

Since the model refresh in late 2009, not much has changed visually on either the Boxster or Boxster S. The S can be distinguished by the dual central-exit tailpipes (base model has just one) and by the red-painted brake calipers (base model uses black anodized). Both are equipped with a power canvas soft-top that incorporates a heated glass rear window. The Boxster Spyder is distinguished by two bulges on the rear deck that give it a very sporty appearance, its lack of a power folding top and by the Porsche logo script and accompanying character stripe running the length of the car just above the rocker panels. The Boxster S Black Edition is characterized by black paintwork, Boxster Spyder wheels in black and black dual-exit tailpipes.

Notable Standard Equipment

The 2011Porsche Boxster has a 2.9-liter flat-six engine of 255 horsepower. The Boxster S, Boxster Spyder, and Boxster S Black Edition receive an up-rated 3.4-liter flat six (310 horsepower with the Boxster S, 320 horsepower with the Boxster Spyder and Boxster S Black Edition). All Boxster versions have a six-speed manual transmission. The Boxster, Boxster S and Boxster S Black Edition are equipped with a power canvas top with a heated glass rear window, while the Boxster Spyder receives a small, manually-deployable top. The base model has 17-inch alloy wheels and Z-rated tires, while the S has 18-inch alloy wheels and Z-rated tires. The Spyder and S Black Edition receive a unique 19-inch "Boxster Spyder" split-spoke wheel design, the latter being finished in black. All models receive Porsche Stability Management electronic stability control, which includes the function of anti-lock brakes. Occupant protection includes dual-stage front airbags, Porsche Side Impact Protection via side airbags integrated into the seat backrest and head protection airbags housed in the door windowsills. All models also have USB connectivity and Bluetooth capability.

Notable Optional Equipment

Porsche Active Suspension Management and tire-pressure monitoring are available as options on the base 2011 Boxster and Boxster S. All models may be upgraded with Porsche's seven-speed dual-clutch PDK transmission for improved shifting and slightly faster acceleration. The brakes on the Boxster S and Boxster Spyder may be upgraded to the impressive but pricey ceramic composite brakes. Bi-Xenon headlamps with Dynamic Cornering Lights are optional. Certain option packages group popular accoutrements together: Infotainment, which includes Porsche Communication Management with a navigation module, satellite radio and an upgraded audio system; Design, with black 19-inch Spyder wheels and black exterior and interior accents (available with or without a sport exhaust system); and Design Sport, which combines Design package features with a new front apron, additional spoiler lip and new, automatically-deploying rear spoiler. The Sport Chrono Package features expanded Sport Mode capabilities and an analog chronograph mounted on the center dash.

Under the Hood

The 2011 Porsche Boxster has a 2.9-liter, horizontally-opposed flat six of 255 horsepower, with 214 pound-feet of torque from 4400 to 5500 rpm. The Boxster S has a 3.4-liter flat six of 310 horsepower. The lightweight Boxster Spyder and special-edition Boxster S Black receive the same 3.4-liter engine, but it's been massaged slightly to deliver 10 more horsepower and zero-to-60-mph acceleration times about a tenth of a second quicker than the Boxster S. All models are available with either a standard manual transmission or with the optional PDK dual-clutch automated manual.

2.9-liter Boxer-6
255 horsepower @ 6400 rpm
214 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400-6000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/27 (manual), 20/29 (PDK)

3.4-liter Boxer-6
310 horsepower @ 6400 rpm
266 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400-5500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26 (manual), 20/29 (PDK)

3.4-liter Boxer-6
320 horsepower @ 7200 rpm
273 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/27 (manual), 20/29 (PDK)

3.4-liter Boxer-6
320 horsepower @ 7200 rpm
273 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26 (manual), 20/29 (PDK)

Pricing Notes

The 2011 Porsche Boxster and Boxster S are priced at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of around $49,000 and $59,500. The Boxster Spyder begins at around $62,500, while the Boxster S Black Edition, limited to 987 examples, will set you back by about $66,000. Adding the dual-clutch PDK transmission to any of these adds another $3,420 ($60 cheaper than last year) to the bottom line. Our Fair Purchase Prices, which represent prices consumers are actually paying at any given moment, can differ substantially, so be sure to take a look at them on kbb.com to compare and see what the Boxster is going for in your area.

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