Porsche: 981 Boxster Launch Party

There is a new Boxster in town and I received an invite to attend the launch party at the Leeds Porsche Centre on 19th April 2012.

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It was a busy invitation-only affair; the Boxster generates an expectedly large amount of interest from Porsche owners and enthusiasts. The showroom had a special display of the evolution of the Boxster range. Starting the range is an original 356 mid-engined prototype (regarded as the inspiration behind the modern day Boxster). Next to this was the original 986 (red, with an interesting shade of green for the interior!), a facelift 986 in a lovely orange colour and finally the 987 model.

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IMG_0893Champers and fancy finger-food was on offer as is usual at these type of events.

The new 2012 Boxster – and the reason for the event – occupied the lion’s share of the showroom with three examples on display for our perusal. The colours were Black, Silver and an interesting, yet weirdly appealing, shade of brown.

Disappointingly, all three Boxsters were the “S” model, all heavily specc’d including electric seats and Sports Chrono. This meant it wasn’t possible to compare the standard Boxster and “S” models in appearance, nor see what would be in place of the chrono clock – nor try out the different seating options. However, it was a launch party so it was to be expected that they would all be huge in spec to maximise desirability.

The new Boxster looks great. Really great. It is a nice evolution of the old shape and has a larger, more purposeful appearance about it. In Silver it looks fantastic and the Black looks traditional Porsche – svelte, subtle and nicely drawing your eye away from some of the cheaper plastics. These cheap-bits were primarily the new side air-vents which did look a bit nasty up-close and also the rollover hoops. They didn’t look premium at all and I think I’d specify a colour option (either silver or painted) to make these stand out.

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Test drives were available and I’m booked to try out the car on the road in the near future so am looking forward to see how it drives. On appearance however, I think the new Boxster looks great! Those new rear lights look both different and weird and the front looks more aggressive. The word is that it took styling cues from the Carrera GT – and with a C-GT in the showroom to compare you can certainly see the similarity. But the lights resemble the Toyota MR2 as much as they do the GT.

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981 Boxster - Buttons of nastiness!

981 Boxster - Buttons of nastiness!

Inside it is a nice place to be and the cabin is nicely laid out with a big screen for the Sat/Nav and audio system. The dash seems to cocoon you in luxury more than the outgoing model. My only gripe on the interior is those cheap, cheap, cheap 80’s looking blanking buttons that Porsche have introduced down the length of the centre console. They just highlight that you couldn’t quite afford all the optional extras. This is the new layout in all Porsche models. Towards the back of the showroom was a new 911 and this car had a huge array of options bringing the base price to £95,000. It still had three blank buttons on the 80’s console. One wonders just how much you have to spend to fill them all!!

In terms of price, starting at just under £38,000 (which would be closer to £45k if you add only a handful of options like leather, bigger wheels, sat-nav and the PDK gearbox) does make you raise an eyebrow. Although only a natural cost rise over the outgoing model it does feel pretty expensive for what is an entry level car that is no stranger to depreciation. That said, I’m certain this won’t stop the Boxster selling like hot-cakes and if it drives like it looks (and we can be sure that Porsche have made sure it does) then it won’t disappoint!

April 2012