Is the Porsche Boxster S the perfect convertible sports car?
Some of you may or may not know that I spent 6 months living in Dubai undergoing an internship. During this time I had the chance to experience this little white sports car and now I am here to tell you why it might just be the perfect convertible sports car money can buy.
This is a 2014 Porsche 981 Boxster S which has a fairly modest spec and isn't a brash yellow which many seem to be in. The Boxster S has a 3.4L flat six engine which produces 311 bhp as well as a lovely tone. This also allows the 1320 kg sports car to get from 0-62 mph in just 5.1 seconds. In my eyes, you don't need to be much faster than that, let alone ever reach it's 172 mph top speed. Now, this isn't just any Porsche Boxster as it is actually owned by my father. I will try to be as nice as possible about it but there a few niggles I would like to go over.
Let me start with the positives. Despite this being a Porsche, it is priced very well, especially in the used market. You can pick one of these up in the UK from £27,000 which for a car of this class is quite good I'd say. We went on a Porsche owners club drive and it could quite happily keep up with GT3's, other 911's and most importantly a silver Carrera GT. I mean, how many people can say they have driven in convoy with a CGT. That's my name drop of the day done and dusted then...
While we're on the subject of price I may as well discuss reliability and quality of materials. Not once in the 6 months, let alone 3 years of ownership, has this car had any issues. The only things it has been in the garage for are services, tyres and an unfortunate attack from a Renault in a carpark. I won't go into that. Other than the the infotainment on/off button and Air Conditioning buttons feeling a little cheap, the rest feels very high quality. The leather is exceptional and the switches don't feel cheap to the touch, apart from the ones mentioned. The same goes for the exterior. It is an overall solid car.
The infotainment system itself is alright but you forget just how outdated the 981's technology really is these days. There is no Apple CarPlay and no bluetooth music playing capabilities. You can however, as we did, purchase a small bluetooth adapter which plugs into the aux connection so you can play music from your phone. The only thing is that when the volume is high you get a high pitched screech which sort of sounds like a supercharger. So, it is a blessing and a curse.
In terms of boot space, there is shed loads. You can easily fit a normal sized suitcase in the frunk and plenty more bags in the back. With this being a mid-engined car, it has sufficient space. The only downside is when you drive this in the Middle Eastern sun, your belongings can get rather warm, especially if you have just bought some more milk or ice cream...
Despite the white exterior being relatively subtle compared to other cars in Dubai, you still get attention in this little sports car. There have been several thumbs up and waves while in this car. I assume that'a a good thing, unless they happened to be pointing at the the bright yellow Lamborghini Aventador SV which happened to be behind us both times, but I doubt that's the case.
Like many sports cars, this gets used quite a lot. It isn't a daily driver but it easily could be. In fact when compared to the Jeep Renegade which we also have, it is far better on fuel. For some reason the Jeep is shocking when it comes to fuel economy leaving the Boxster as the more economical car. Who would've thought it. This Boxster does have the extended range fuel tank but that only adds an extra 2.5 gallons I believe.
But, not every car is perfect and the 981 Boxster S is no exception. There are a few spec options I would change on this specific car that aren't Porsche's fault but more the fault of the Porsche dealer who configured it. I wish it had cooled seats which in Dubai would be bliss. There is nothing more uncomfortable than sloshing around on a sweaty leather Porsche seat. Another thing is the steering wheel. While there is nothing wrong with it as such, it would be nice to have proper paddle shifters instead of these weird ones. They're sort of switches on either side which you push and pull depending on whether you want to down or up shift. Very confusing to start with.
Another thing I would like to touch on is the poor visibility when the cloth roof is up. While it may be nice to shield yourself away from the heat, it isn't at all easy to drive with. You get a massive blind spot and it makes it rather tricky to pull out at junctions. So, if you own a Boxster, I would aim to drive around with the roof open when possible.
While being able to hear the car with the roof down may be nice, it would be nicer if it were louder. We have looked into various exhausts such as Akrapovič and Quicksilver but none have particularly stuck out or have given the right tone. Don't get me wrong, the Boxster S sounds great but could be just a little bit louder.
I'm afraid I have two more things which I am not too keen with. They are quite picky things but are things I think need to be addressed. Firstly is the spoiler button which you have to hold to open and close. It would be far better if it were one touch. I understand this might he for safety reasons so no one traps their fingers under it but it is a little inconvenient.
Finally, there is no charging point in either the frunk or the trunk. This is a problem when you want to stick it on a trickle charger. This means you need to plug it into the car's cigarette lighter and close the door on the wire - not the end of the world but not too chic. But thankfully the Boxster, for some unknown reason has not one, but FOUR cigarette lighters inside the cabin. On what planet does a 2 door sports car need four cigarette lighters? Nevertheless, it has them.
I for one would have the 981 over the 718 and this is not only to do with the price but also the sound. The 981 Boxster S sounds incredible at high revs meaning it you really have to wring its neck to get the most out of it. This is not a problem whatsoever. When you get it upwards of 7,000 rpm, it really starts to scream. The 718's flat four just can't cut it, it sounds like a slightly broken yet very expensive Henry vacuum cleaner.
So, there you have it. If you are in the market for a sub-£30k convertible sports car then I would highly recommend the Porsche 981 Boxster. For me, it ticks all the boxes. It is practical, reliable, quick, looks good and great fun to drive. Unfortunately, there aren't many twisty country roads in Dubai so I wasn't able to discover the full potential of this car but I can imagine it is mega on British B-roads. Just bare in mind that most people will think you're a hairdresser, no matter how hard you try not to be.