2012 Porsche Boxster

Consumer Reviews
1 Review
The Car Connection
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The Car Connection Expert Review

Nelson Ireson Nelson Ireson Senior Editor
January 16, 2012

Buying tip

The base Boxster is an ample canyon companion, but the Boxster S and Spyder offer proportionally more fun if you can afford them.

features & specs

2-Door Roadster
2-Door Roadster S
2-Door Roadster S Black Edition
19 city / 27 hwy
19 city / 26 hwy
19 city / 26 hwy

Stylish, fun, and capable, the 2012 Porsche Boxster is one of the best roadsters around.

The 2012 Porsche Boxster offers a rare combination of emotional satisfaction and objective performance, proved by its stats sheet and its behind-the-wheel feel.

Shaped of curves with classic Porsche lines and modern roadster proportions, smooth and tidy, with just a hint of race car, the Boxster is undeniably comely, and has aged well. The interior, on the other hand, begs for the leather upholstery upgrade over the base cabin's plastics.

Turn the left-hand-mounted ignition and the Boxster awakes with a characteristic flat-six growl, hinting at the 255 horsepower and 5.6-second 0-60 mph runs that await--in base trim. Opt for the Boxster S and those improve to 310 horsepower and 5.0 seconds. If you're lucky enough to get your hands on a Boxster Spyder--new last year--you'll get 320 horsepower and 4.9 second figures.

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Whichever you choose, however, you get the same great chassis, capable of neck-stretching grip and lightning-quick direction changes, together with excellent steering and brake feel. Despite the cornering prowess, however, the Boxster doesn't upset with its ride quality.

Inside, the seating is surprisingly well-formed, tight where it needs to be and roomy where it matters. The base seats are well-bolstered, but the optional sport seats are better, while any configuration offers good legroom.

Standard power accessories, Bluetooth, a CD player, and more are standard, while optional upgrades include navigation, leather and aluminum trim, and ventilated seats among others. Opt for the Boxster Spyder and you'll be deleting most of this in order to add lightness.

Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS have rated the Boxster's crashworthiness, but standard dual front and side airbags, ABS, stability and traction control, plus rollover protection and optional parking sensors, the Boxster offers a solid package of active and passive measures.


2012 Porsche Boxster


The 2012 Porsche Boxster lives up to its Spyder heritage with clean good looks.

Though the new 2013 Porsche Boxster has recently been unveiled with stunning new looks and other upgrades, the 2012 Porsche Boxster remains an attractive, modern roadster with classic Porsche styling cues borrowed from the Spyders of the past.

Low, smooth lines rise from the nose over the flared fenders to a tight midsection, expanding again at the rear fenders before smoothly transitioning to the rear bumper. It's not a dramatically styled car, but still catches lines despite seeing over a half-decade since it was penned. Add in the Boxster Spyder and Boxster S Black Edition and you have more aggressive, track-inspired and minimalist attitude in the same handsome package.

Inside, the Boxster is a bit less appealing, with basic shapes and somewhat dubious ergonomics. It's not all bad news, despite the cheap cup holders and proliferation of small buttons, as the surfaces can all be coated in high-grade leather and aluminum trim. The large tachometer sits front and center before the driver, and gives life to the Boxster's sporting mission.

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2012 Porsche Boxster


Brilliant steering, a well-balanced chassis and plenty of power--the 2012 Porsche Boxster is a balanced, engaging sports roadster.

The 2012 Porsche Boxster is a bold performer despite lacking the big horsepower numbers of many competing sports cars. Its relatively light, small chassis and excellent, intuitive handling mean it doesn't need as much power to get the same job done. The steering, in particular, is a highlight, with natural, consistent, confidence-inspiring feedback and feel.

Two engines and two transmissions are available. A 2.9-liter flat six rated at 255 horsepower motivates the base Boxster, good for 5.8-second 0-60 mph runs with the slick-shifting six-speed manual and 5.5 seconds to 60 mph with the even slicker PDK (dual-clutch) gearbox. The Boxster S gets the same transmission options but grows to 3.4 liters and 310 horsepower, lowering 0-60 mph times to 5.0 seconds with the stick and 4.9 seconds with the PDK. Add the Sport Chrono package to the PDK and you'll drop that to 4.7 seconds.

The Boxster Spyder offers even more performance through an extra 10 horsepower over the Boxster S and 176 pounds less weight. The result is a lither, nimbler, livelier drive, but at the expense of noise, a manual top in place of the standard power unit, and more expense.

The Boxster S Black Edition gets the same power rating as the Boxster Spyder, but with all of the creature comforts of the standard model, plus a blacked-out appearance treatment and higher standard equipment.

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2012 Porsche Boxster

Comfort & Quality

The cabin of the Boxster is roomier than it might appear from the outside, and the front trunk is spacious, too.

Like any good sports car, the Boxster's cockpit is close and supporting where it needs to be and yet roomy enough for comfort where it counts.

The standard-equipment seats are comfortable and up to the task, but the upgraded sport seats are better-bolstered and more handsome as well. Leg and foot room is good despite the mid-mounted engine placement, and even taller occupants should have enough knee room thanks to an intelligent center stack that doesn't impinge on the passengers much.  The front-mounted trunk is quite spacious, too.

Despite the somewhat haphazard scattering of buttons and controls in the Boxster's interior, they're all close enough to hand, and make sense once you figure them out. The audio system might be the main exception to this, being too busy with buttons to be truly easy to use.

The power folding soft top is a cinch, but you'll do without it in the Spyder, which gets a covering that's more temporary rain shield than true top, and essentially bare of any pretense at sound proofing or lining.

The main drawback in the Boxster's cabin is the noise level: there's an abundance from tires and wind, which, when added to the engine, can be a bit overwhelming on long highway drives. That said, the Boxster is a sports roadster, and buyers will likely expect and even appreciate the noises that come with the experience.

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2012 Porsche Boxster


The 2012 Porsche Boxster hasn't been crash-tested, but a strong standard safety feature sheet means it should be safe in the event of an accident.

The 2012 Porsche Boxster, like many other pricey sports cars, hasn't been safety tested by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) or the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety).

Despite the lack of official testing, the Boxster comes with enough standard safety equipment to put any buyer at ease: anti-lock brakes, traction control, and stability control are all included; dual front and side airbags are standard; and the side airbags pop up from the door sills to function as side-curtain airbags.

If you're looking for high-tech safety gadgets, however, you'll have to look elsewhere, as there are no upgrades to rearview cameras, adaptive cruise control, or lane-departure warning systems. Available parking sensors can make it easier to park the Boxster with its somewhat compromised rear-quarter visibility.


2012 Porsche Boxster


The 2012 Porsche Boxster offers a wide array of options, but many buyers may find the base specification is all they need.

As with any Porsche, the 2012 Boxster has a long list of available upgrade options, many of them a la carte, some wrapped into common packages, but the base spec is fairly comprehensive, perhaps even too comprehensive for some purists--though that's what the Spyder is for.

All Boxsters get air conditioning, CD/AM/FM stereo, leather-trimmed seats, alloy wheels, power doors/locks/mirrors, a power-folding soft top, keyless entry, Bluetooth connectivity, and a universal audio interface. The Spyder does away with the daytime running lights, air conditioner, stereo, and replaces the power roof with a manual unit.

Mechanical and appearance options include the excellent PDK transmission, sport seats, larger wheels and tires, and a set of packages that bundle in design, technology, and performance elements--they're so in-depth and varied you'll likely have to spend some time with the order book before pulling the trigger. The Sport Chrono option, which enhances the sport tuning of the car and adds some unique design elements, is a particularly attractive package, however.

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2012 Porsche Boxster

Fuel Economy

The 2012 Porsche Boxster is one of the more fuel-efficient options in the high-performance sport class, but it's no Prius.

There are many joys to be had at the wheel of the Porsche Boxster, and the joy of refueling will likely be one of them.

It's not precisely inefficient, but for its size and power output, it's not forest-green, either. Rated by the EPA at 20/29 mpg city/highway with the seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission and 19/27 mpg with the manual, the base Boxster does well on the highway but suffers around town. Opt for the punchier Boxster S and you'll see the EPA ratings hold steady in the PDK model at 20/20 mpg city/highway, but drop slightly to 19/26 mpg with the manual.

The Boxster Spyder rates the same again in PDK trim, at 20/29 mpg, but improves on the Boxster S's score to return to 19/27 mpg city/highway.

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July 23, 2015
2012 Porsche Boxster 2-Door Roadster


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