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2008 Porsche Boxster Trims

Base

6 national listings
Avg. Price: $27,211

Some sports-car aficionados claim that the Boxster corrects Porsche's decades-long "mistake," the 911. While enthusiasts will go back and forth on perfect engine placement for the perfect sports car, everyone agrees that the Porsche Boxster is one sweet ride.

Porsche revised the Boxster in 2005 and updated its engine for last year's model. The base Boxster arrives with a 2.7-liter flat six equipped with the Porsche VarioCam Plus setup to produce 245 horsepower. The optional Tiptronic S automatic transmission underwent an update last year with new hydraulics and electronics to provide improved responsiveness. To lose its extra 90 pounds and enjoy the perfectly placed gas, brake, and clutch pedals, you don't need to check any boxes to experience the standard five-speed manual transmission. 0-60 in the base model comes up in 5.8 seconds, with a 162-mph top speed. Estimated combined city/highway fuel economy is 25 mpg.

The optional Sports Package includes a six-speed manual transmission and Porsche's Active Suspension system. This system allows the driver to select between Normal and Sport suspension settings. Sport mode alters the baseline damping force for considerably firmer shock response, enabling faster turn-in as well as better road-holding and traction. The Boxster's impeccable road-handling manners impress reviewers, who praise its balance - both front and rear ends stay where they're aimed. By placing the engine amidships - in front of the rear wheels and behind the passenger compartment - in a strong chassis with a light, responsive suspension and steering as well as powerful brakes, Porsche has defined sweetness in a two-seat sports car.

And this sweetness also shows up in the ergonomic layout of the cockpit. The steering wheel adjusts for reach and rake, and without a transmission or engine up front there's a lot more leg space to play with those drilled aluminum pedals - short and tall statures are welcome here. Genuine leather is complimented by faux leather and aluminum trim. Reviewers are unable to agree as to the plastic bits, some finding them "cheap" looking and some finding them "expensive." Beyond all the expected electronic goodies - nav, sound, and trip computer systems - two of the most remarkable passenger features are outside the cabin.

The Boxster's convertible top involves a latch above the mirror and a console-mounted button - it takes 12 seconds to come down (according to one reviewer, that's an industry speed record), and according to Porsche you can do that at up to 30 mph. The really useful aspect, however, is that Porsche engineered the top so that it takes up none of the 4.6 cubic feet of aft trunk space when lowered. In addition, there is a front luggage compartment, which makes the Boxster suitable for carrying luggage for two on an extended road trip - a unique feature among today's sport roadsters.

Standard safety features include a head airbag system, frontal and side-impact airbags. Taller drivers will find more protection with Porsche's tall safety bars and high headrests. ABS, electronic brake-force distribution, traction control (ASR), and electronic stability control (PSM) are all standard.

Limited Edition

4 national listings
Avg. Price: $28,576

Porsche has taken 250 of their extremely popular and highly acclaimed Boxsters and painted them orange! Voilà, the Limited Edition Boxster! But it's not simply the paint, though there is a lot of that from the exterior to the interior.

The Limited Edition is painted a very special orange - previously available only on the track-ready Porsche 911 GT3 RS. A special "Limited Edition" plaque graces the glove compartment, in case you somehow missed the paint job. But with the sport exhaust system, safety bars, interior trim pieces, and even the font on the gear-shift pattern carrying bright orange, missing this car's exclusivity would seem nearly impossible.

But Porsche, being Porsche, didn't stop at the paint to set off this Limited Edition. They also added the SportDesign package, which includes an aggressive front spoiler lip, a revised rear spoiler that automatically extends, an integrated rear diffuser that Porsche says reduces aerodynamic lift, and a dual-tip sport exhaust, which is claimed to add a few more horsepower.

The Limited Edition Boxster gets 18-inch wheels painted an eye-catching black with silver edges to compliment the orange. There are other black bits added as contrast: black exterior side mirrors, black front and side air inlets, and, again, just in case you missed the point, the car's model designation is added in black to the rear deck. The convertible top is black, as are the seats, carpet, dash, door panels, and other surrounding surfaces. The interior is further contrasted with Alcantara (a suede-like grippy material) trim on the seat inserts, three-spoke steering wheel (borrowed from the 911 GT3 and 911 GT3 RS), gear shift, and handbrake lever on manual transmission models.

This rolling visual exclamation point is powered by a 2.7-liter flat six equipped with Porsche's VarioCam Plus setup to produce 245 horsepower. The optional Tiptronic S automatic transmission underwent an update last year with new hydraulics and electronics to provide improved responsiveness. To lose that extra 90 pounds and enjoy the perfectly placed gas, brake, and clutch pedals you don't need to check any boxes to experience the standard five-speed manual transmission. 0-60 in the base model comes up in 5.8 seconds with a 162 mph top end. Estimated combined city/highway fuel economy is 25 mpg.

The Limited Edition Boxster provides all the delightful handling magic of this wonderful roadster along with a bold visual statement.

Limited Edition S

1 national listing
Avg. Price: $35,458

The 2008 Limited Edition Boxster S offers all the power and handling prowess of the Boxster S with a visual statement that can't be missed. Porsche has designed 250 of these sweet road warriors to leave mouths and eyes agape.

The Limited Edition is painted in a very special orange - previously available only on the track-ready Porsche 911 GT3 RS. A special "Limited Edition" plaque graces the glove compartment, in case you somehow missed the paint job. But with the sport exhaust system, safety bars, interior trim pieces and even the font on the gear shift pattern carrying bright orange, it would seem nearly impossible to miss this car's exclusivity.

But Porsche, being Porsche, didn't stop at the paint to set off this Special Edition. They also added the SportDesign package, which includes an aggressive front spoiler lip, a revised rear spoiler that automatically extends, an integrated rear diffuser that Porsche says reduces aerodynamic lift, and a dual-tip sport exhaust, which is claimed to add a few more horsepower.

The Limited Edition Boxster S gets 19-inch wheels painted an eye-catching black with silver edges to compliment the orange. There are other black bits added as contrast: black exterior side mirrors, black front and side air inlets, and, again, just in case you missed the point, the car's model designation in black is added to the rear deck. The convertible top is black, as are the seats, carpet, dash, door panels, and other surrounding surfaces. The interior is further contrasted with Alcantara (a suede-like grippy material) trim on the seat inserts, three-spoke steering wheel (borrowed from the 911 GT3 and 911 GT3 RS), gear shift, and handbrake lever on manual transmission models.

At the heart of this orange delight beats last year's Cayman S engine. Until 2002, this engine was almost a 911 series engine - the 911 had a higher compression ratio, giving it 300 horsepower. This Boxster S engine is a 3.4-liter flat-six with Porsche's VarioCam Plus system, producing 295 hp. While Porsche says the Boxster S gets from 0-60 in 5.1 seconds, Car and Driver did it in 4.9 seconds in a 2007 model. Top speed was an observed 169 mph "with a slightly more baritone exhaust note" compared to the previous 3.2-liter Boxster S engine. The EPA estimate is 20/28 mpg city/highway, and the combined average is 22 mpg.

At the heart of the Limited Edition Boxster S and all Boxster models is the spirit of Porsche's diminutive 1950s 550 Spyder, carrying on the proud tradition of "outbraking, outmaneuvering, and outsmarting" the competition. Now you can do it in brilliant orange!

S

Avg. Price: $35,484

The Porsche Boxster is a favorite among two-seat sports-car aficionados. When Porsche added the S to the Boxster, it only intensified the praise for this impressive mid-engined roadster.

The heart of the S is last year's Cayman S engine. Until 2002, this engine was "almost" a 911 series engine; the 911's had a higher compression ratio, giving it 300 horsepower. This Boxster S engine is a 3.4-liter flat six with Porsche's VarioCam Plus system, producing 295 hp. While Porsche says the Boxster will get from 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds, Car and Driver did it in 4.9 seconds in a 2007 model. Top speed was an observed 169 mph "with a slightly more baritone exhaust note" when compared to the previous 3.2-liter Boxster S engine. The EPA estimates city/highway mileage at 20/28 mpg, with an average of 22 mpg.

The S is outfitted with another piece of equipment borrowed from the Cayman - the six-speed manual transmission, which has shorter first and second gears to give the roadster quite a punch when launched. An improved Tiptronic automatic transmission is also available. Some reviewers found it hard to choose between the two transmissions, but one reviewer noted that the automatic no longer offers "manual" shifting via the shift lever.

The S's ride is firm but comfortable, even over uneven pavement sections, and the steering capably transmits road irregularities to keep the driver precisely informed about the car-road connection. And the Boxster S does connect, so well that you can forget about drifting - the car is just too grippy. There's little doubt among aficionados and reviewers that the key here is the Boxster's mid-engine layout. Add to it an impeccable braking system, and you round out a great sports car.

But the S isn't just a great-handling sports car. It can also handle passengers and their cargo in a style unfamiliar to other contemporary two-seaters. With the mid-engine layout, there's plenty of room in the cockpit and plenty of amenities to keep driver and passenger engaged. Along with the record-setting convertible top (12 seconds from a roof over your head to topless), the Boxster offers enough cargo space for two on an extended road trip. Happy trails!