The Boxster is Porsche's entry-level sports car, built on a mid-engine chassis with seating for two. For 2012, it's offered in four levels: Base, S, Spyder and an all-new Black Edition.
The Base-level Boxster is powered by a 2.9L flat-6-cylinder engine making 255 horsepower. All others have been given a 3.4L version of the flat-six, fitted with direct injection and tuned to make 310 horsepower in the S and 320 horsepower in the Spyder and the Black Edition. Two transmissions are available: a standard 6-speed manual, and Porsche's PDK 7-speed dual clutch manual automatic, which comes with a manual shift mode and steering wheel-mounted shift paddles. Mileage comes in at 19 to 20 mpg city and 27 to 29 mpg highway, depending on equipment. According to Porsche, the Base Boxster tops out at 163 mph, while the S can hit 170. Zero to 60 is a brisk 5.6 seconds in the Base, 5.0 seconds in the S, and 4.9 seconds in the Spyder and Black Edition.
Safety features include standard anti-lock brakes, traction control, an antiskid system known as Porsche Stability Management, fixed rollbars and a host of airbags for both driver and passenger.
Standard equipment on Base-level Boxsters includes a power rear spoiler, 17-inch wheels, leather interior, air conditioning, Bluetooth wireless connectivity, LED taillamps, and cruise control. Both Base and S models come with a power folding fabric top with heated glass rear window.
Other S upgrades include 18-inch wheels and an upgraded sound system, as well as the uprated engine. The top-level Black Edition comes with blacked-out paint and interior, including black 19-inch wheels, black side mirrors, and black tailpipes. Bi-Xenon headlamps are standard, as is satellite radio and navigation.
The Spyder is completely unique, with Spyder-specific equipment including a manual top and a fixed rear spoiler in place of other models' power units. Other features include 19-inch wheels, a locking rear differential and sport seats. Radio and air conditioning are deleted to save weight and improve performance. Overall, the Spyder is 167 pounds lighter than the S.
Options include in-dash navigation, as well as Porsche's Sport Chrono Package, which includes a dash-mounted stopwatch to record lap times and sensors to adjust throttle, traction, and suspension to suit racing situations. Porsche's Active Suspension Management is available, as well as special carbon ceramic brakes, heated seats, wind blocker, auto climate control and sport exhaust.