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Porsche Boxster & Cayman at LA Auto Show

Published: 19 November 2008

How to improve on arguably the most sublime roadster and coupe on sale for thirty-something thousand quid? The Porsche Boxster and Cayman are a tough act to follow so, in time-honoured Porsche fashion, Darwinism prevails for the facelifted, 2009 model year models.

The new Boxster and Cayman, due to be unveiled later today at the 2008 Los Angeles auto show, are blink-and-you’ll-miss-them similar to today’s cars. Change lurks within – just like on the recently launched second-gen 997-spec 911. Which should come as no surprise: these models share roughly half their parts with the evergreen 911.

So what’s new on the facelifted Porsche Boxster and Cayman?

Porsche’s mid-engined sports car duo gain much of the 911’s new tech, including direct injection for some of the flat-six boxer engines and the seven-speed Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe transmission. Let’s just call it the PDK twin-clutch ’box, shall we? It replaces the Tiptronic gearbox and is geared for efficiency in a tall top ratio.

The new-look models have a pair of new engines. Basic Boxsters now come with a 2.9-litre six mustering 255bhp, while boggo Caymans have an upgrade to 265bhp.

Step up to the S models of each and you’ll be treated to the 3.4 with direct injection. Result? The Boxster S kicks out 310bhp, the Cayman S a stout 320bhp. That means that every facelifted model is between 10 and 25bhp meaner than before.

Sounds close to the 911!

That’s always been a worry, hasn’t it? Equip a Cayman S with PDK and launch control (it comes with the optional Sports Chrono pack), and it’ll shoot to 62mph in just 4.9sec.

Sure you still want that rear-engined Beetle relic?

>> Click ‘Next’ to read more about the revised Porsche Boxster and Cayman

 

 

Are the new Porsche Boxster and Cayman much cleaner to boot?

Oh yes. Although the new generation are spectacularly fast – even the basic Boxster hits 62mph in less than six seconds – they are around a tenth less thirsty than before.

Base models are knocking on the door of 30mpg, like the new 911. CO2 figures fall correspondingly, down as low as 214g/km on the Boxster fitted with PDK.

How can I spot the new Porsches?

Pop to the hallway, grab your anorak… Ready? Ok, Porsche has plumbed new depths of Germanic seriousness here, resorting to the subtlest of upgrades to both the Boxster and Cayman.

Look out for marginally different noses and butts. The front lights now integrate the indicators differently and are claimed to replicate the items on the Carrera GT. Rear lamps are now LEDs. Speaking of lights, you can now order bendy bi-xenons that peer around corners for the first time.

Inside, there’s a new, bigger multimedia screen which finally works with iPods. You can even order air-cooled seats. Which tells us plenty about the sort of people who buy these cars…

Chassis tweaks: cutting no corners

Porsche has tinkered with the suspension, too, but let’s face it – there was very little wrong  with the way the previous Boxster/Cayman drove. The steering valvegear is new, wheels are bigger and the electronics (PSM) upgraded.

Sales kick off in February 2009, priced from £34,420 for a Boxster (£41,250 Boxster S) and £36,870 for a Cayman (£45,050 Cayman S). All come with a free driver training session at the new Porsche Driving Experience Centre in Silverstone.

 

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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