The 2012 Porsche Boxster doesn't have enough ratings to earn a valid Total Car Score.
Although this is Porsche's least expensive model, it's still a proper sports car with fantastic handling and its own thrilling soundtrack that only a flat-six engine configuration can provide. The range's mid-engined/rear-drive setup allows for lively and precise steering with a poise to the chassis that's as good as it gets. There are some reviewers with no small amount of driving talent who count the Boxster S among their favorite machines. They only moan about the high cost of options.
The base model can hustle from zero to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds; the S in 5.0. Not super-fast, but still spry. The even more powerful Spyder variant can handle it in 4.4 seconds.
A word about the Spyder: this is a recent addition. Stripped down and with more muscle, it's everything good about the Boxster turned up to 10 (except for the manual roof that takes time to put in place). Chances are it's not a big seller in Seattle or other areas known for their generous rainfall quota.
This overall array of Boxsters has been around for five years, and the 2012 model year is its last. A new generation debuts for the 2013 model year. The first versions will be the base and the S, but expect other variants to follow.
The 2012 Porsche Boxster is a two-seat soft top and comes as a base model, S, S Black Edition or Spyder. Each has rear-wheel drive and a horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine.
The base model has a 2.9-liter engine with 255 horsepower and 214 pound-feet of torque. Boxster S models have a 3.4-liter engine developing 310 hp and 266 lb-ft. The Spyder uses the same engine, tuned to produce 320 hp and 273 lb-ft. A six-speed manual is the standard transmission; a seven-speed, dual-clutch automated manual is optional.
Basic equipment begins with air conditioning, a power-operated soft top, part leather upholstery, Bluetooth, iPod interface and 17-inch wheels. In the interests of keeping weight to a minimum, the Spyder deletes the stereo, air conditioning and power roof, although they are available as options.
The Black Edition has some cosmetic differences and bundles together some features that would normally be options, saving money.
Other choices include navigation, satellite radio, adaptive headlights, a mechanical limited-slip differential, ceramic composite brake discs, heated seats and steering wheel, and a 10-speaker Bose surround-sound system. There's also the Sport Chrono Package for driver-adjustable throttle and transmission settings, plus a launch control (with the dual-clutch trans).
Standard safety equipment includes traction and stability controls, door-mounted side airbags and rollover bars.
EPA estimates for the base 2012 Porsche Boxster with the manual transmission are 19 mpg city, 27 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined; dual-clutch versions achieve 20/29/24 mpg. The six-speed Boxster S returns 19/26/22 mpg; the seven-speed makes 20/29/23 mpg. The Spyder's consumption figures mirror the base model's, except that the EPA puts combined mpg for the seven-speeder at 23.
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