Test Drive: Porsche Boxster 25th Anniversary
Ian Lamming reveals all about the Porsche Boxster 25th Anniversary
IT’S one of those ‘where were you when” moments and I remember it well.
When Porsche burst onto the scene with the Boxster 25 years ago, mine was a bright yellow one and I was in Sheffield driving around some less than salubrious areas checking out where they had filmed the cult comedy The Full Monty for a feature.
It could have been worse, I could have been riding in something which would attract a lot of attention…oh.
Sheffield being the warm and lovely place it is I needn’t have worried and folk delighted in asking about what was then a brand new model.
Wind the clock forward a quarter of a century and Boxster is still flourishing with 357,000 new owners testament to the fact that it has been an unmitigated success.
To mark this auspicious occasion Porsche has created a 25th Anniversary special, which has been restricted to just 1,250 units worldwide to make it more exceptional still.
It is based on the fourth generation GTS 4.0 model, so don’t worry if you can’t find one. That means it is powered by a 4.0-litre six-cylinder boxer engine with 400PS. The bitter and the ignorant might argue that Boxster isn’t a proper Porsche – wrong! It so is and with that kind of power to weight ratio it is electrifying to drive. It’s a proper sports car, especially with the roof down when you can hear it roar.
Not only that, Boxster has real provenance. It marked a necessary re-orientation of the sports car manufacturer’s model strategy and provided a way forward during the difficult economic times of the mid-1990s.
The mid-engined roadster was the first water-cooled production flat-six engine and also saw the intelligent carrying-over of parts. It was incorporated into the 996 generation 911, launched a year later, making it possible for Porsche to return to profit.
Original Boxster captured the hearts of new, younger customers right from the start, possibly because it incorporated features of the concept car shown at the 1993 Detroit Motor Show, which evoked images of the legendary 550 Spyder and the 718 RS 60 Spyder racing car.
Boxster 25 Years is special and owners will love the attention to detail. There are references to numerous design features of the Boxster concept car that heralded the launch of the open-top two-seater that finally emerged in 1996 with hardly any changes in its visual appearance.
One of the most striking yet subtle features is the nod to the colour Neodyme, a copper-like shimmering brown, which provided a contrast to the basic GT Silver Metallic colour on the pioneering 1993 showpiece.
In the special edition, it is used on the front apron, the side air intakes, as well as for the lettering and the two-tone 20-inch alloy wheels.
Another nice touch can be found on the fuel filler cap, which is enhanced by Porsche script. This shines in an aluminium look as do the high-gloss tailpipes of the sports exhaust system.
Inside, the special model combines a deep and lustrous Bordeaux leather with a red fabric convertible top. The convertible top features embossed Boxster 25 lettering. An interior package in aluminium, 14-way electrically adjustable sports seats, door sill trims with “Boxster 25” lettering and the heated GT multifunction sports leather steering wheel are just some of the features to add to the model’s already extensive equipment list.
It's as appealing as it was 25 years ago when it was launched and the lines have weathered the test of time nicely.
It makes you want to drive it and starting the 4.0-litre flat-six engine of the 718 Boxster GTS sends shivers down your spine.
The six speed manual is weighty and accurate, the clutch forgiving on your left leg. It is rapid whether you are pulling away from rest or using the huge reserves of torque to overtake safely. You really are past in a flash.
There is a rawness that you only get in open top motoring which stimulates the senses yet it isn’t harsh or overbearing in any way. The steering is controllable and the ride not overly hard. Drive in anger or pootle at your leisure, the experience is joyous regardless.
In 25 years time I hope to be looking back remembering the day that I took this special Boxster for a spin – it really is the full Monty.
Porsche Boxster 25th Anniversary
Engine: 4.0 litre flat six
0-62mph: 4.3 secs
Top speed: 183mph
Transmission: eight speed auto