A sports car in the city


A new car is a new car, but how many can get your heart racing and your adrenaline pumping each time you slide into the driver’s seat?

That’s certainly how I felt with the Porsche 718 Boxster. For one weekend, I got to drive it around Metro Manila—through bumpy roads, mind-numbing traffic and the constant swell of people ducking in and out of sidewalks and highways.

Despite the excruciatingly short time its Porsche-shaped key lived in my pocket, it wasn’t hard to love it as if I’ve had it for years.

First off, to be completely honest, this wasn’t my first encounter with the Boxster. I had my fun with it during a three-day jaunt in Singapore last year.

The test unit was the 718 Boxster S version with a 2.5-liter engine. As expected, the drive along the tree-lined avenues of Sentosa, past the shopping district of Orchard Road, and through the island-nation’s highways was leisurely and fun.

The 718 Boxster was made for a place like Singapore, with its wide roads and manageable traffic. Plus, it wasn’t the only sports car convertible plying its roads—far from it, actually.

You could say the 718 Boxster was at home in the Lion City.

Manila, of course, is a different situation altogether. Some might say you need to take a car like the 718 Boxster outside the maddening capital to fully appreciate what it can do, and while that might be true, I opted to just stay in the city to see what driving it in these conditions felt like.

After all, if I was going to part with about P5.7 million for a Porsche, I’d want to get my money’s worth, and that means spending as much time with it as I could.

The 718 as a model is, of course, not new. From its early days in the 1950s as a four-cylinder boxer engine, it moved to having six cylinders before settling back to a turbocharged flat four-cylinder engine in its latest iteration.

Some call it an entry-level Porsche, but that’s only true if you’re talking about price point.

Even comparing it with the more well-known and well-loved models in its lineup, the 718 Boxster is more than an adequate representative of the Porsche brand.

But exactly how does it fare plunked down in the congested streets of Manila?

Let’s get one thing out of the way. Yes, it IS somewhat terrifying to weave in and out of traffic along Edsa with the 718 Boxster.

No matter how careful you are, the chance that some wayward driver cuts you off and scratches or dents your Porsche is ever-present. Still, that’s always a risk, whatever your carriage of choice.

The city’s main thoroughfare isn’t exactly crawling with two-seater sports cars, which makes the 718 Boxster perfect for those who want to stand out. (Then again, you don’t immediately gravitate towards Porsche if your aim is to remain unassuming and low-profile).

It’s an easy drive, that much is immediately evident. On sudden open stretches along EDSA when I gunned the accelerator, I could feel the muscle running through the car.

It was quick and responsive, something that’s always useful when you’re negotiating through weekend traffic in the city.

In order to fully approximate everyday conditions, I put the 718 Boxster to the ultimate domesticity test—grocery shopping.

A friend said she needed to pick up a few things in Rockwell, so I picked her up in Greenbelt and we made our way to Powerplant Mall.

I tried my best to imagine it was real life—that I was actually using a vehicle with 300 horsepower, with a top speed of 285 kilometers per hour and capable of rocketing from zero to 100 kph in 4.6 seconds for something as mundane as going to the supermarket.

My friend and I just had to let out a chuckle.

While the engine grumbled outside, we turned the music up inside (a special playlist on the phone connected to the Boxster’s touchscreen infotainment system via Bluetooth).

It was a bit of a squeeze, but what would you expect from a two-seater sports car?

On the way back, thick clouds blanketed the afternoon sun, and there was a pleasant and unexpected breeze. That was as good an excuse as any to drop the soft-top and pretend we were cruising through mountains and rice fields instead of skyscrapers and fastfood joints.

People stared, children pointed and laughed—all in a day’s work.

So if you’re in the market for an every day Porsche, the 718 Boxster is a safe bet. Nimble and powerful, it’s a car that’s easy to take from the parking lot of a shopping mall straight through city traffic and far and away to where the roads are more open and the air is less polluted.

Wherever you take it, it will always get your heart racing and your adrenaline pumping. Guaranteed.

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