Only women bought the previous two generations of the Porsche Boxster. And on the rare occurrence that the buyer wasn’t a woman, then it was a poor homeless man who couldn’t afford a 911 Cabriolet. That’s what the general consensus would have you believe anyway, and it’s complete rubbish.
Personally I have no problem with this so-called stigma of the Boxster being a girl’s car. A woman driving a Porsche, especially if it’s a stick shift, is the hottest thing on the planet. My problem is that the old Boxsters were dog-dropping ugly. The argument about it being a poor man’s 911 is idiotic. So, if I buy a Ferrari 458, does it mean I’m a peasant and that I should drive it with my head hung in shame because I couldn’t afford the FF? But I don’t want a Dh1.2 million hot-hatch. I want a 458. It’s the same thing with a Boxster. I want a mid-engined roadster, not a coupé converted into a soft-top. Well, not I, but that woman over there.
Yet, gang up on something in unison and that’s what you get, a perfectly good car with a ruined reputation. The new Boxster, however, has successfully solved all that in one fell swoop. In fact, it might have done some damage to the original protagonist, the 911 Cabriolet.
I very badly want the 981 generation Boxster, rather than the brand new 991 generation Carrera S Cabriolet. Hints of old mid-engined Porsche roadsters in the new Boxster S drive me giddy with boyish excitement. There are traces of the 904 and 906 in there, as well as the proportionally perfect overhang-versus-wheelbase stance first seen in the 550 Spyder. The way the 981’s headlamps creep ever so slightly upwards, while the bonnet crests towards the ground, also makes me think of the 550 Spyder, at least when I squint. I’ve not been this energised about a Porsche since the GT3 RS 4.0. If I could get even a spin in the new Boxster S, I’d be willing to wear high heels doing it.
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Uh-oh, so Zuffenhausen’s latest roadster is stealing the limelight from its latest Cabriolet?
And right now I’m in the 991 generation Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet, yet my heart is elsewhere. It’s difficult, really, to describe this car any differently from the Carrera S tin-top. I’m not a micrometer, and I don’t come fitted with micro-sensors on the tips of my limbs either, so I can’t credibly sit here telling you about scuttle shake and chassis flex in the Cab without lying. There’s absolutely no difference in focus, dynamics, capacity for performance, and the balance of daily drivability between this and the 991 coupé.
At this point I’d like to just copy-paste the 911 Carrera S review I did back in February because it’s perfectly relevant, but my editor would probably notice.
So I have to come up with something to convince somebody out there that the Carrera S Cabriolet is worth the Dh200K premium over the Boxster S. But first I have to believe it myself, and the trouble is, I don’t.
This is not just good for a soft-top born from a coupé. This is good for a Porsche, any Porsche, period. The Cab thrives on the throttle; it’s all about the throttle. Exactly like in the normal Carrera S. Pitch it into a turn with sudden lift-off and you’re just heading straight on, but stomp on the loud pedal too enthusiastically and you’ll be staring at where you’ve just been.
he key to driving this new 991 quickly is moderation and smoothness, and the car makes you a better driver for it. You pay attention to minutiae, you focus and revel in precise steering input, brake and accelerator modulation to manipulate the light front end to bite, and benefit from the prodigious rear-end grip.
The chassis in the Cabriolet is basically a solid piece of billet aluminium and magnesium. It’s stupendously reactive, and complaining about understeer in the Carrera S soft-top is basically saying, “I didn’t take that corner properly, my bad”.
In order for you to take a bigger, heavier car, and leave the new, lighter Boxster for dead, Porsche has had to make a few changes to this Cab. Obviously the company hasn’t made any design changes: park the car next to an old air-cooled Porsche and good luck explaining to an alien the evolution of sportscars.
The big difference is felt inside, with the Carrera GT/Panamera-influenced cabin, and simply incredible levels of wind deflection and noise suppression. Porsche’s excellent chassis design for the drop-top also means that none of the trim pieces fall off during a day out in the mountains. It’s easy for the Boxster — that’s a roadster from the start — but with the 911 Cab, Porsche has proven that it can take anything and make it wondrously stiff and capable. Especially if the company’s engineers get to start with the 911 Coupe.
As for that soft top, it drops in seconds at up to 50kph, according to Porsche, which is a lie because I was lifting it and dropping it at more than 70kph. What an accomplished car.
Holy banana, I’ve just realised something! The Boxster is the adventurous choice this time.
So, what does that make the 911 Cab? The irrational one. And cue women flocking to the showroom…