Top down, adrenaline up

Visceral thrills with the Porsche 718 Boxster


The mid-engined Porsche 718 Boxster comes with simple instructions: open top for more enjoyment

Those who’ve been able to drive a convertible know the exhilarating pleasures associated to being behind the wheel at speed, and being literally exposed to the elements at the same time.

However, via a precision-honed machine that bears a Porsche badge, it’s on an entirely different level.

Many would agree that no other marque, automotive or not, can be as apt when it comes to being the symbol of exceptional German engineering as Porsche.

A single reason can suffice, and it’s about the marque being able to provide as pure a sporty driving experience as one can get on an iconic automotive heritage standpoint, right from their very first victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1951 with its 356 SL, to any of the nameplates in their current extensive lineup.

But I reiterate, one has to experience it without a roof above his head. Once again, minus the giddiness.

Imagine cruising along Singapore’s streets and highways in a Porsche 911 Targa 4S, a car that can slingshot you from 0 to 200Km/h in no time, in full aural glory, no less.

But you’ll get caught and slapped with a ticket (maybe end up in the slammer too) in less time if you attempt to, so you don’t.

But you don’t mind since you’re too distracted with your own giddiness over the car almost to the point of compromising your own objectivity.

Well, that was me. So fast forward to take number two in a less beastly Porsche, but also with an automatically retractable roof, and this time around, in our local setting.

Giddiness in check, I did away with the roof in mere seconds with a touch of a button, gripped the premium leather-clad steering wheel, punched the accelerator with the ball of my foot, and unabashedly soaked in the pleasure of rapidly darting way past 100 km/h in a Porsche 718 Boxster.

A handsome rear with an awesome soundtrack to match

Finally, a proper way to kick-start a test drive of a Porsche roadster. Disclaimer: it was done on an empty stretch of highway.

Pretentiously mild-mannered

With just two seats, a mid-mounted turbocharged horizontally-opposed 2.0 engine that spews out 300 hp with a satisfyingly authoritative growl, the Porsche 718 Boxster does away with subtleties of what it’s designed and intended for.

Somehow it feels wrong to label this Porsche as the entry level model since you can’t logically expect that the perceived corresponding increase in performance would be commensurate to how many nameplates there are up the hierarchy.

The 718 Boxster simply rewards its driver with the full Porsche experience.

How it behaves in normal city driving is really up to you, for it can make sense as a daily drive, comfortable and compliant, yet totally engaging with its 7-speed Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) automatic transmission (also available with a 6-speed manual tranny).

It eases through traffic without much effort on your part, but it doesn’t stop reminding you of the kind of fun you could have whenever an opportunity presents itself…or when you give yourself an excuse to find one.

It’s a given that it’s agile, but with near-perfect balance and tenacious handling, any sweeping corner begs to be carved aggressively.

The cockpit is a joy to see and feel.

Any accidental blip on the throttle is an invitation to hear the exquisitely-tuned sports exhaust announce the few seconds it’ll take to cruise at triple-digit speed.

Of course, the more excited you get, the more vocal it becomes; and the harder you drive it, the more it encourages you to trust its capability.

Potent package inside out

This latest iteration of the Boxster has everyone in agreement that it’s the most breathtaking, yet with a sleek, fluid profile and the sexiest rear end.

With the top down, however, it’s easier to see how its interior lives up to the exterior with excellent ergonomics and choice of top grade materials.

Supple leather engulfs the well-bolstered seats, which I wish were power-adjustable on the Boxster’s non-S variant.

A generous amount of brushed aluminum accentuates the steering wheel, center console and dashboard, and while the 7-inch multi-touch screen makes for an exceptional interface, I also think steering wheel controls should’ve been considered despite the pleasure it provides having your fingers wrapped around it.

The Porsche 718 Boxster is every inch an exceptional sports car, just like its brawnier siblings, but it can stand on its own merit as a convertible roadster that dials up your enjoyment factor up a few notches with a mere flick of a button.

Driver envy comes standard.

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