Automobile is from the Greek autos, “self” and Latin mobilis, “movable”. But this weeks Porsche Boxster (from the “boxer” engine design and “roadster” from the open, two-seat design) comes to us from Stuttgart, in the south of Germany. Just a hop-skip-and-jump over the Alps into Italy. Kind of like driving to Vegas for the weekend. Unfortunately I didn’t have the good fortune to test it there. But I did give it the Crest Test. Wow. It’s better than sky diving guys, so leave your honey at home and live on the edge. Slide your tush into this, made for the rebel in you, Por-sha for a natural high. If you want elegant speed go for the Lexus SC 400, but if you want to get real loose, $40 grand will put you in a great ride with this Boxster. The ’98 model is the same as ’97 with the exception of the inclusion of standard front and side air bags for ’98.
Friend Merkel didn’t like the front and back MacPherson-type strut suspension that is old technology, dating all the way back to the ‘70’s. Oh well. Even so, Merkel I have to tell you, I didn’t sense any real loss of handling. I did agree with his praise of the Acura NSX’s unique double wishbone suspension and did notice the fantastic handling over the Crest. But at $90 grand the NSX should have some trick stuff, right?
For those who were disappointed with the BMW Z3 with an underpowered Miata style 4-banger, you’ll be pleased with the performance from this 2.5-liter horizontally opposed 6-cylinder engine. It puts out 201 horsepower and does 0-60 in just 6.9 seconds. They indicate a top speed of 149, but I didn’t feel close to lift off at 130.
Cool: It’s new. Everyone just has to look because it’s definitely different. It’s a Porsche that’s not a 914 attempt at affordable. Great mid-engine performance. Snuggles up with you for a comfortable mix of man and machine. Convertible top tucks away neatly, automatically, effortlessly. His and her trunks for longer distance travel storage space, even with the top down. Flat out fun to drive.
Un-cool: Poor visibility to the side and rear mostly due to roll bars and nature of convertibles in general. Loosy-goosy. That is, it’s not as solid and smooth as it could be. The clear plastic rear wind deflector rattles if you leave it in and the purpose is to cut air buffeting and quieter operation with the top down. Left side ignition key switch. Yes, I know it’s a tradition, but it’s also annoying unless you’re a southpaw. Parking brake must be set to put the top down.
2.5 liter 201 horsepower six cylinder (water cooled) mid-engine, 5-speed manual transmission, power steering, 4-wheel anti-lock 4-piston disc brakes, power top and windows, front and side air bags, anti-theft remote locking system, fog lights, climate control, heated power side mirrors and cassette stereo.
19 city and 27 highway mpg.
MSRP for is $39,980. The sport package adds $3,235.
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