Porsche is serious about its current birthday. Lots of fun people showed up at the L.A. Auto Show to celebrate, including marque aficionado Jerry Seinfeld and notable Porsche racer Hurley Haywood.
This year, 2008, marks the brand's 60th year of production (that would mean the first Porsche was built in 1948 for those who count on their fingers). Sandwiched in between the introduction of the new 911
and upcoming four-door Panamera
, Porsche gives its loyal followers yet another present, the 2009 Boxster
and 2009 Cayman
Exterior updates on each are minor, and include new headlamps, LED daytime running lamps, and a few other particulars. Larger 17-inch rims are standard on the base models, while Boxster S
and Cayman S
models get 18-inch wheels. Porsche made a point of the front wheels being a half-inch wider because the extra room means larger brakes can be fitted. Ceramic composite brakes are optional on S models.
Inside, drivers will note the new, simplified center stack. The design promises better and easier functionality. Audio systems offer an iPod interface. Another welcome detail is the availability of heated and ventilated seats.
The powertrain and chassis received much more significant changes. Every flat-six engine in the 2009 Porsche Boxster
and Porsche Cayman
is new. The rundown goes like this: A 2.9-liter that produces 255 horsepower for the Boxster
and 265 in the Cayman
, and the 3.4-liter that produces 310 horsepower in the Boxster S
and 320 in the Cayman S
. The larger engine benefits from direct injection. The Boxster
will also be available with Porsche's faster-shifting sequential gearbox (PDK). It replaces the Tiptronic S transmission, and in tests of acceleration, delivers marginally quicker acceleration than manual-equipped models: about a tenth in the run from 0-62 mph. Importantly in these green-obsessed times, fuel efficiency is up model-to-model, 2008 vs. 2009, and all models meet U.S. ULEV and EU5 emission certifications.
Suspension calibrations have also been completely revamped to better manage the power. Porsche's active suspension is optional on all models, base and S.
Together, these changes make for a freshened and faster pair of mid-engine sports cars from Porsche. Happy birthday to them.--Rex Roy
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