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    987 Critique

    Today I had a first look at the 987--the USA rollout date was today. I did not drive; only saw, and sat in. The dealer had a basalt black/black Boxster with 18" wheels, and a blue S with 18's.

    My personal overall impression is of an aesthetic improvement from the 986. The nose of the car does not look as overly elongated ahead of the front wheels as it used to; and the side sills and defined wheel arches impart a more assertive quality, in place of the previously more voluptuous, though perhaps more beautiful, side shape. From the rear there's not much difference. Minor exterior details are a bit more successful to my eye, like the simpler headlights; the more interesting cut lines at the taillights and the front hood; the Turbo-ish cooling openings in the front bumper; and the nicely larger side gills. The rear USA bumperettes are better in body color than they were in black plastic, but still not good; I'd like to know whether they could be removed? The 18" wheels, which everyone seems to like but which I had not liked in pictures, looked good to me, filling the wells nicely. I also like the 17" wheel, but haven't seen them in person yet.

    I found the interior more mature and convincing in the new car. I saw both the base interior and the full leather version; and I could (will?) be very happy without wrapping everything in $2,000 worth of leather. The dash air outlets are a bit of a blunder, and the plastic color and texture looked below standard in the radio/AC control area (too light a gray, not enough texture), but the door details are very nice. The shiftknob, emergency brake, and seat height adjusting levers are substantial and gratifying. Unfortunately the headlight/computer/wiper/cruise stalks are too brightly plasticky, and too flexible to impart the wonderful sense of firmness that BMWs have had. The seats and seating position I found excellent; the range of seat adjustment worked for me with the non-powered seats, and there was lots of room for legs and feet. The footwell was notably wide and well shaped, providing a nice flat floor right below the accelerator for the heel to rest. The fully adjustable steering column makes the car very commodious. The stock steering wheel evokes the Cayenne; get rid of it!

    Rear trunk detailing was fine; the front less so. Porsche has bought in to the unfortunate trend to dress up engine compartments and trunk spaces with cheap, flimsy plastic shrouding. In the Boxster's front trunk the battery, CD changer, and tool kit recesses are trimmed in this way, with thin plastic trap doors that do not latch well. They should all be thrown out, and the recesses they enclose carpeted, to maximize options for storage.

    While some may be wishing for a more radical re-design, I like the evolutionary approach taken by Porsche. It is a honing and re-stating of the initial wonderful concept rather than a rejection of it. As such it does not negate the previous car, helping resale values. And it helps, over the long run, to establish the car as an icon, a classic, rather than a thing of the moment.

    A major flaw is the lack of a spare tire. Why can't the Porsche engineers provide one size for all four tires, and why can't they then provide a 5th identical one in spare? I hate having a car that can't continue in full force after a flat. Flats are not rare; not where I live, not in my experience. This is unacceptable! (The Boxster S is fitted with 8" wide wheels at the front, and the plain Boxster with 8" wheels at the rear. Dairing a charge of heresy, I wonder how much of a handing deficit would be incurred with 8" wheels all around, and whether an identical wheel would fit in the front trunk?.....) The spare wheel mounted in front of the front axle was properly touted by Porsche in the old days as a safety feature, a barrier in case of head-on collision. They should return to it.

    Another major flaw is visibility to the rear-sides, and rear. The overly massive headrest extensions on the seatbacks, shadowed by the roll bars with their padded additions, are major view blockers! And the clunky detailing of the windstop option make this even worse. Visibility is a prime factor for the driver, Porsche; design something better than this if you truly are trying to build a real driving machine.

    The last major flaw I feel is the weight of the car. A sportscar weighing 2,900 pounds is defeating its own purpose, if indeed its purpose is to be a pure driving machine. That's my interest in the Boxster; it's mid-engined, it handles beautifully. Dragging around excess weight does not help agility!

    In all, I'm seriously considering getting one. It would be a plain Boxster--the power is sufficient for me. The only performance option I'm interested in is PASM. This mechanism would seem to expand the handling envelope, in both agility and suppleness. I'd love to hear what others have to say about its efficacy.

    All in all, it's a beautiful, fabulous car!

    Re: 987 Critique

    Well, that was a very articulate review. Thanks.

    Re: 987 Critique

    Very interesting and honest review, thanks . I'm planing to stop by on Monday to check it out myself, I didn't get a chance today for the launch of the new 987 .

    Re: 987 Critique

    Get a 987 S. Leave some of the equipment if need be.
    You'll get more bang for the buck with an S IMO.

    A sportscar will always be a comprimise in the sense that practical things like the view backwards between the seats, the stiffness of the ride etc are apparent drawbacks when you analyse the car, but something you will never feel once you drive one on a regular basis.
    I agree with you on the weight issue. It could be kept lower. However the car handles exquisitely as it is, and I presume the Porsche engineers know what they are doing.
    Perhaps its a marketing issue, too, that this car is "heavy"..I mean if they will launch a lightweight, stripped pure track car.?

    Get one. You wont regret it. Ever. Trust me

    Re: 987 Critique

    Thanks for the encouragement Dr, I'm almost there. I'm going to wait a moment to see what the Coupester turns out to be. I've got to drive them seriously; and now my wife is encouraging me to get the 911--she likes it better I think! Major cost penalty though.....

    Re: 987 Critique

    If you're more than happy with 240 bhp from the standard Boxster, why even think about paying $$$$ to get a 911?
    Unless your wife pays the difference I'd stick to the Boxster S instead of a 911.
    IMO girlies have a tendency to pick cars for the strangest reasons, and unless they are really into sportscars and very interrested, they're better off letting their male counterpart pick the car.
    And I seriously do NOT mean this as any chauvenistic remark.
    If you share the household and expenses, of course you share decisions of this magnitude.

    All I'm saying is: Unless youre just loaded, and if you want a FUN sportscar, I suggest you pick the Boxster S. Youll be happy you picked the one with most UHMPF!
    And instead of waiting for a coupe, ask yourself if your wife (and yourself) buy the car for pure driving entertainment, or if you like to cruise around and feel the fresh breeze in your hair. Coupe means driving only IMO, and Boxster means driving + the X factor.
    But whatever you do, buy with your HEART primarily. A sportscar is a thing of passion, and so should picking it out be

    Re: 987 Critique

    RSGL, have you ever driven a Boxster?..or a 911?

    Re: 987 Critique

    Dr., I've not driven the most recent 911, nor the most recent Boxster.

    I had the use of a first generation Boxster for 24 hours in Ireland. I thought it was a great handling car. I felt distinctly all four wheels out at the corners of the car, and felt myself sitting down in the center of them. The turn-in and steering were wonderful, the braking powerful; the engine free winding and powerful enough even then (first generation 986 was 190 bhp?). To go fast all you had to do was use the engine's full range.

    I've driven quite a few 911s, but always the earlier cars, from 1969, 70, 71, 72, 77; and a 993 also. These always have great engines and great steering, but there's always a certain lack of sureness about how the rear is going to act.

    I don't value 5.7 seconds 0-60 over 6.2 seconds. For me it's about handling; being able to corner hard in a confident way because I can feel what's happening and know what to expect.

    I think you're right on target when you say buying a sportscar is an act of passion, done with the heart.

    Thanks.

     
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