No matter which model you prefer, the Boxster comes standard with brilliant acceleration and road manners. On twisty roads or boulevard cruises, it feels natural and intuitive, from the steering to the brakes. Few cars have the immediate feel you get at the Boxster's rudder, and it's a rare moment when the tautly tuned suspension truly beats you up. It can't escape all situations but it's amazing how the Boxster enables average drivers to road-carver class, in just a few miles.The powertrain is pure Porsche, down to the boxer cylinder arrangement. The stock 2.9-liter horizontally-opposed six-cylinder spins out 255 horsepower. It's teamed either with a slick, meaty six-speed manual transmission with hefty shift feel, or with Porsche's Doppelkupplungsgetriebe--we say "PDK," or translated, dual-clutch transmission. Either way, the Boxster's a slapshot to 60 mph: Porsche quotes a 5.8-second 0-60 mph time for the manual and 5.5 seconds with the PDK. An optional Sport Chrono Plus package trims the PDK's time down to a mere 5.3 seconds by remapping shift speeds and throttle.
A notch up the performance ladder, the Boxster S nudges displacement up to 3.4 liters and nets 310 horsepower. The same transmissions as the standard Boxster grant it a 0-60 mph time of 5.0 seconds with the manual; with the PDK, it's clocked at 4.9 seconds. The Sport Chrono Plus package shaves that time to a blurry 4.7 seconds.
The Boxster Spyder strips down to shear another few tenths from its acceleration figures. Porsche promises 320 horsepower extracted from the larger Boxster engine, a lower suspension and a standard limited-slip differential--with 176 pounds less weight through deleted features and a lighter, manual top.