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PERFORMANCE | 10 out of 10
Dynamically, no other roadster can match it
Performance and handling that rival more exotic machinery
Kelley Blue Book
No other sports car is more balanced, more rewarding, or more fun
The 2008 Porsche Boxster is proof positive that great design and impeccable handling can prove just as appealing as simply being able to get off the line in a hurry.
The 2008 Porsche Boxster is available with one of two very capable engines. Edmunds reports that those engines are a "3.4-liter flat-6 that's good for 295 hp and 251 pound-feet of torque" on the Porsche Boxster S, while the base Porsche 2008 Boxster has "a 2.7-liter flat-6 providing 245 hp and 201 lb-ft of torque." Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com indicate that both engines are fun and engaging, but the 3.4-liter version powering the Porsche Boxster S receives understandably higher praise. ConsumerGuide finds that "any Boxster has smooth, ready power for any situation," while "S versions are particularly strong as engine speed rises." For those who want to know, Edmunds states that a Porsche Boxster S can go "from zero to 60 mph in 5 seconds flat and hit the quarter-mile in 13.4 seconds," while Motor Trend pegs the base Porsche 2008 Boxster at "5.8 sec" from "0-60 mph."
The 2008 Porsche Boxster is also available with three different transmission choices: one automatic and two manuals. Edmunds clarifies that the base Porsche Boxster "comes standard with a five-speed manual transmission," while a "six-speed is optional and comes standard on the Boxster S," and "a five-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control" is optional on both. Reviewers praise all three alternatives, but the manual offerings earn the biggest accolades. AutoWeek reviewers "marvel at how perfect the clutch and gearshift mechanisms work," claiming that "their feel and operation is precisely what all other cars should strive for." As for the automatic, Cars.com says "new hydraulics and electronics make the system quick to respond to driver inputs." Although Kelley Blue Book reviewers note "the performance of the Tiptronic S transmission continues to improve," they also recommend that "those physically capable should consider only the ultra-smooth six-speed manual."
Despite impressive performance numbers, the 2008 Porsche Boxster returns very respectable fuel economy. The EPA estimates that a base Porsche Boxster will get 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway with the five-speed automatic transmission, while the manual bumps the mileage up to 20/29 mpg. With the six-speed manual, the base Porsche Boxster should achieve 19 mpg city and 28 mpg highway, according to the EPA. On the 2008 Porsche Boxster S, the fuel economy numbers are 18/25 mpg for the automatic and 18/26 mpg for the six-speed manual.
The true performance potential of the Boxster is unleashed when the road starts to twist. It is during hard driving that Motor Trend claims "no other sports car is more balanced, more rewarding, or more fun." From there, the praise simply keeps coming, as ConsumerGuide reports that the "steering feel is natural, communicative and responsive" and the Porsche Boxster is "rock-steady on straightaways and agile and balanced in corners." AutoWeek declares that the "handling is darn near perfect," and for emergency stops, the "brakes are phenomenal." Kelley Blue Book adds "the term 'Porsche brakes' has become a synonym for the ultimate in safe, positive stopping." Regarding ride comfort, Edmunds says that "some may find the Boxster's around-town ride too stiff, but it's never particularly harsh."
The 2008 Porsche Boxster is virtually unmatched when it comes to enthusiastic driving.