The 2014 Porsche Boxster starts with a 2.7-liter, 265-horsepower flat six-cylinder engine in the base model. In the right configuration, this model can hit 60 mph in 5.5 seconds and a top speed of 164 mph. The Boxster S gets a 3.4-liter, 315-horsepower flat six-cylinder that moves the car to 60 mph in as little as 4.8 seconds and on to a top speed of 178 mph.
Both models can be ordered with either a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed PDK dual-clutch paddle-shift automatic. While the manual is a smooth, slick-shifting unit, the PDK transmission best suits the Boxster's comfort-meets-sport split personality.
That's not to say the Boxster is somehow a compromised sports roadster; it's anything but. In fact, it's the best of the Mercedes-Benz SLK / BMW Z4 / Infiniti Q60 crop, both in terms of sport driving dynamics and during the daily grind. This balance comes from the well-tuned chassis, mid-engine layout, and Porsche's unique brand of engineering and style.
For models equipped with the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) system, the suspension's range of function can be adjusted normal settings to Sport and Sport Plus modes, further broadening the range of the Boxster.
A Sport Chrono package is available (it's required to get the fastest factory-claimed 0-60 mph times), adding dynamic transmission mounts and a more aggressive race-inspired shift logic for the PDK transmission when the Sport Plus button is engaged.
Electric power steering is often maligned for lack of feel and artificial feedback, but those complaints don't pertain to the Boxster. The steering isn't as good as the best hydraulic and manual systems we've driven, but it's close--certainly close enough to enjoy the Boxster's balanced handling on a good road.