TheCarConnection.com loves driving the 2010 Porsche Boxster. Though it's Porsche's least expensive car, it's anything but cheap or cheaply made. Its base engine, a 255-horsepower 2.9-liter flat-six-cylinder, offers plenty of fun despite its entry-level position. ConsumerGuide finds that "any Boxster has smooth, ready power for any situation." Motor Trend says the 2010 Boxster's "visual testosterone is backed up with plenty of vitamins H and T from the engine room."
All Boxsters are available with either a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) dual-clutch automatic transmission. Acceleration with either is brisk even in the base Boxster; Porsche quotes 5.8-second 0-60 mph runs for the manual and 5.5 seconds with the PDK. An optional Sport Plus package trims the PDK's time down to a mere 5.3 seconds. Cars.com likes the transmission overall, but comments "the regular and Sport modes are too far apart." Car and Driver raves about the transmission and notes that the optional Sport Chrono package adds launch control and a special Sport Plus setting for the PDK transmission that eschews the system's typical driver-learning mode, instead "adopting max-performance-oriented racetrack programming."
The Boxster S is propelled by a larger, 310-horsepower, 3.4-liter six-cylinder. Its acceleration to 60 mph with the manual is just 5.0 seconds; with the PDK, it takes 4.9 seconds, and with the Sport Plus package, that's shaved to a scant 4.7 seconds. ConsumerGuide says the "S versions are particularly strong as engine speed rises."
The all-new Boxster Spyder gets another bump in output to match the hardtop Cayman S at 320 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. Weight for this highest-performance Boxster variant is trimmed to just 2,811 pounds, 176 pounds lighter than the Boxster S it's based on. That's enough to clip 0.2 second off the 0-60 mph times. A standard limited-slip differential and 20 mm lower sport suspension also makes the Spyder even more responsive. To get the weight savings, though, Porsche had to make some concessions to comfort; the air conditioning is removed, and lightweight seats replace the comfortable but heavy standard-issue items. External weight-saving changes include the removal of daytime running lights and fog lamps, and the electric-powered soft top is swapped out for a manual version.
Motor Trend reports that "thanks to careful retuning of their snarl ... [the Boxster] sounds even stronger" than ever. Kelley Blue Book reviewers recommend "the ultra-smooth six-speed manual" transmission for pure enjoyment, though the new PDK transmission offers better speed and greater convenience. It's not your average manumatic, either. Cars.com says, "[a]s far as shift speed goes, PDK has it down," though they do fuss about the "oddly shaped push-pull buttons that protrude upward from the spokes just inboard of the wheel" used to shift the PDK gearbox. Car and Driver calls the Boxster "one of the world's best cars" and goes on to say that the "PDK dual-clutch automated manual gearbox only make[s] it more so." That's not to say the manual is chopped liver. AutoWeek reviewers "marvel at how perfect the clutch and gearshift mechanisms work," arguing that "their feel and operation is precisely what all other cars should strive for." Kelley Blue Book also has high praise for the Boxster's brakes, remarking "the term 'Porsche brakes' has become a synonym for the ultimate in safe, positive stopping."
No matter which version you choose, the 2010 Porsche Boxster has brilliant road manners. Whether you're attacking a twisty back road or cruising the boulevard, the steering is natural, brakes strong and intuitive, and the manual transmission shifts with ease.
Knowing what the Boxster is really all about requires a twisty road. AutoWeek states that the Boxster's "handling is darn near perfect." Hard driving brings the car to life, prompting Motor Trend to claims that "no other sports car is more balanced, more rewarding, or more fun." That's not the end of the praise, however. ConsumerGuide says the 2010 Boxster's "steering feel is natural, communicative and responsive" and that it is "rock-steady on straightaways and agile and balanced in corners."
Fuel economy is 19/27 mpg city and highway for the base Boxster with the manual, or 20/29 mpg with the PDK. The Boxster S scores 19/26 mpg with the manual and 20/29 with the PDK. The all-new Spyder hasn't yet been rated by the EPA.