Porsche redesigned its Boxster and Boxster S roadsters for 2005, and for 2007 it gave both models more power and torque. Both Boxsters got Porsche's VarioCam Plus system, which provides variable intake valve timing and lift control. For 2008, the Boxster continues a series of yearly tweaks with new optional folding bucket seats, a new interior leather color and a new exterior body color. Rivals include the Audi TT, BMW Z4, Honda S2000 and Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class.
Variable-ratio power steering was new for 2005, and the Boxster's track width increased. By eliminating the spare tire, cargo space grew slightly.
The Boxster, Porsche says, is a roadster designed to be the "spiritual descendant" of the 356 Speedster and 550 Spyder. It features large side and front air intakes and a front end that shares a lot of traditional Porsche styling cues. The same appearance features carry over to 2008. A new color — Macadamia Metallic — has joined the Boxster's list of available exterior shades.
Standard alloy wheels on the Boxster S hold 18-inch tires, while the base model gets 17-inch wheels. The Boxster S has a firmer sport suspension.
Two occupants enjoy leather-upholstered body-hugging bucket seats. In 2008, new optional folding bucket seats are available. They're designed to fit the driver as a race-style seat would, but also weigh about 15 to 20 pounds less than other seats. A Carrera Red leather interior is also new for 2008.
Boxster drivers face a trio of gauges in a hooded cluster. Seat heaters, sport seats, Bose surround sound, Park Assist and a navigation system are also available. Cargo compartments at both ends offer a total of 9.9 cubic feet of space.
In a move you don't often see from automakers, Porsche has moved the coolant and engine-oil filler caps in order to make them easier for technicians (or handy owners) to access. Porsche says this also improves the usability of the trunk.
Under the Hood
The Boxster's 2.7-liter horizontally opposed six-cylinder makes 245 horsepower and 201 pounds-feet of torque. It also has VarioCam Plus for variable valve timing and lift control.
The Boxster S also has VarioCam Plus. The 3.4-liter six-cylinder in that model makes 295 hp and 251 pounds-feet of torque.
For drivers not interested in working a clutch pedal, Porsche retains 2007's tweaked Tiptronic S automatic transmission system. Porsche says new hydraulics and electronics make the system quick to respond to driver inputs. The transmission also offers variable shift patterns, ranging from Economy to Sport. In Sport mode, for instance, up- and downshifts are only made at revs greater than 3,000 rpm and downshifts will be made at higher engine speeds to utilize engine braking.
All-disc antilock brakes, side-impact and head-protection airbags, a tire pressure monitoring system and an electronic stability system are standard. For 2006, the passenger seat got weight sensors that disable the front airbags when a child-safety seat is detected.