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2009 Porsche Boxster Preview

2009 Porsche Boxster Preview

By Jeff Youngs, December 31, 2008

Critical Knowledge:
  • Freshened front and rear fascias with new LED illumination
  • New direct-injection engines
  • New dual-clutch PDK transmission
  • Revised suspension
  • Larger standard brakes
  • Upgraded infotainment system with iPod integration
  • Available ceramic brake upgrade
  • New ventilated seat option
Introduction
The Porsche Boxster was first introduced as a 1997 model. A 2-passenger roadster with a soft convertible roof, the name Boxster referred to its horizontally-opposed flat-six "boxer" engine-an engine layout shared with the venerable Porsche 911. Sharing many components with the 911 at the time, the Porsche-designated "Type 986" Boxster offered excellent handling and braking thanks to its balanced mid-engine design. In 2005, Porsche significantly updated the Boxster with thorough changes to the engine, interior and exterior. Still sharing more than 50 percent of its components with the 911, Porsche claimed the updated Boxster was 80-percent new. This necessitated a new internal designation, the "Type 987." For the 2009 model year, Porsche has significantly upgraded both models of the Boxster once again. They receive an exterior facelift including new LED running lights and tail lamps, two new engines, a new dual-clutch transmission, and a host of other improvements that once again raise the bar on its performance level.

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Model Lineup
Porsche is offering two Boxster models for 2009: Boxster and Boxster S. Each 2-passenger roadster features a power-operated soft top that can be raised and lowered while the vehicle is traveling at speeds up to approximately 30 mph (a hard top is available as a dealer accessory). The rear window is heated glass. While both models have few peers in their segment, the Boxster S differentiates itself from the standard model with its larger and more powerful engine, recalibrated suspension, stronger brakes, and wider wheels and tires to achieve even higher levels of performance.

All 2009 Porsche Boxster models feature a long list of standard equipment, and seemingly an even longer list of options. Option packages include the DVD-based Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system. It has been upgraded for 2009 with a larger 6.5-inch touch-sensitive screen with fewer buttons to simplify its use. The optional Porsche Sound Package Plus comes with a radio, CD player and 9 speakers. The upgraded Bose Surround System audio package features a 7-channel digital amplifier and no fewer than 10 speakers. Other options include new ventilated seats with heating (they can be used simultaneously), and bi-Xenon adaptive headlamps. As is customary with Porsche, buyers may also choose from a long list of optional seats, wheels, upholstery combinations, and exterior colors to customize their Boxster.

Hardware
While the cosmetic makeover aligns the car's appearance with the flagship Porsche 911 and its fixed-roof sibling, the Porsche Cayman, the big news for the Boxster for 2009 is hidden within the middle of the chassis-two new direct-injection powerplants. The standard Boxster is fitted with a 2.9-liter, horizontally-opposed 6-cylinder engine rated at 255 hp and 214 lb.-ft. of torque. The Boxster S features a 3.4-liter, horizontally-opposed six-cylinder engine rated at 310 hp and 265 lb.-ft. of torque. The Boxster's engines are all-aluminum, water-cooled, and mounted in the middle of the chassis (mid-mounted) for optimal handling and balance, Porsche says.

The standard transmission on both the 2009 Boxster and Boxster S is a traditional 6-speed manual. Optional, and new for 2009, is the Porsche-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) dual-clutch automatic transmission. Depending on the driver-selected setting, the transmission can be programmed to act like a traditional automatic with soft shifts or it can be sped up in "sport mode" for more aggressive shifting. For driving on the track or under race conditions, the transmission offers "launch control" for its fastest acceleration mode. According to Porsche, the standard Boxster will accelerate to 62 mph in 5.9 seconds with the 6-speed manual transmission, and 5.8 seconds with the PDK. The Boxster will hit 163 mph without restrictions, Porsche claims. The more powerful Boxster S model will pull itself to 62 mph in just 5.3 seconds with the 6-speed transmission, and 5.2 seconds with the PDK. The top speed of the Boxster S is 170 mph, the automaker says.

The suspension on both Boxster models is independent front and rear with MacPherson struts and twin-tube gas-filled shock absorbers. The standard wheels are 17 inches in diameter and made of cast aluminum. Boxster S models get 18-inch wheels, which are also wider for more cornering grip. On vehicles equipped with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), the shock absorbers are actively controlled. The brakes on the Boxster are 4-wheel discs, featuring 4-piston aluminum monobloc calipers with cross-drilled inner-ventilated brake rotors. The Boxster S models feature an upgraded braking system with larger calipers and rotors. New for 2009, high-performance ceramic brakes are optional on the Boxster S model. Anti-lock brakes are standard on all models.Technology
The 2009 Porsche Boxster and Boxster S are available for the first time with a new double-clutch gearbox. Launched on the flagship 911 earlier this year, it is called the Porsche-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (or simply PDK). The all-new 7-speed transmission replaces Porsche's traditional Tiptronic S automatic on both models. Based on racing technology pioneered by Porsche more than two decades ago, the PDK transmission features two parallel clutches designed to seamlessly switch between gears without any interruption of power. This is a huge advantage to enthusiasts who will enjoy the lighting-fast shifts that PDK delivers (according to Porsche, the PDK transmission is so fast that it is able to accelerate to 60 mph faster than a professional driver with a 6-speed manual transmission). Furthermore, the new transmission is more fuel-efficient than the transmission that it replaces.

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