01.20.2012
By Terry Flanagan

2012 Porsche Boxster S: Lighter, Faster, Stronger

The latest iteration of the German automaker’s “entry-level” roadster boasts a brand-new design, with a lighter body, more horsepower and greater torque.

Compared to the 2011 Boxster S, this year’s model remains mostly the same size, though with a bit less height–50.6 inches versus last year’s 50.9 inches–and an overall length that’s one inch shorter. These small adjustments in size are expected to contribute to improved handling, greater acceleration speed and a higher total top speed.

Other adjustments abound, though certain specifics remain unchanged from last year’s model: engine size is still 3.4 liters, with a flat 6-cylinder setup. Engineering tweaks for this year have conspired to make the 2012 model an even more enjoyable “beginner’s Porsche” ride: torque has increased from 266 feet per pound to 273. Horsepower has made a leap from a very likable 310 to 320. Combine this with a lighter curb weight of 2,855 pounds (a full 120 pounds lighter), and you’ve got yourself a roadster that can hold its own against its higher-end siblings.

On the fuel-efficiency front, Porsche has added stop-start technology to its 2012 lineup, and for the Boxster, this should help increase its miles-per-gallon ratio. For the unfamiliar, stop-start technology essentially means the entire engine shuts down when the car is at full stop, and starts back up again once the driver accelerates. This is meant to save a bit of fuel and should be useful when idling in highway traffic or stuck between lights while city driving.

Aesthetically, the 2012 Boxster S has been given an interesting redesign. Whereas previous models strongly held the Porsche “look”, especially the unmistakeable, down-sloping, narrow back end, the 2012 Boxster seems to have taken a slight departure: the front and back are wider, thicker, and sit higher, removing much of the visual cues associated with the traditional low-slung, tapered Porsche silhouette.

Overall, this latest debut in the formidable Porsche lineup should perform very well, and with an MSRP of $65,200. Comparable vehicles from other manufacturers include the BMW Z4, the Mercedes SLK, and the Audi TT.

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