Have you seen the undisguised spy shots of the new 2012 Porsche Boxster circulating online? These artist's impressions show exactly how next year's new Boxster - codenamed 981 - will look, and the Mk3 ushers in more change than previous relaunches.
Until now Boxster and 911 have been so closely related it's become difficult to tell them apart. But from 2012, Porsche is determined to spread its offerings over a much wider range of the market. Differentiation is the new game in town - not standardisation and simplification.
Porsche 981: a new look for the new 2012 Boxster
The replacements for the Boxster (981) was signed off under the old regime, so it is still closely related to the new 911 (991). Each model will have a total life span of two times seven years - so get used to this new look.
The front-end view is conservatively evolved from today's look, but those new side strakes are more pronounced now. It's at the rear where the most radical difference is noticeable; that horizontal styling theme at the back of the 2012 Boxster is very different from before and will delight those who say Porsche play it safe.
We hear that the new parents-in-waiting at Volkswagen encouraged a more different look to reduce the danger of cannibalisation within its own range. See it in the metal at a spring motor show in 2012, tipped to be either Detroit or Geneva.
Engineering of the new Porsche Boxster 981
981 is not an evolution of the current model but an all-new vehicle. Its cab-forward design looks quite different, and this was essential for the much crisper and sportier proportions. Like the new 991, its footprint has changed significantly: wheelbase is up +60mm, length +37mm, height -10mm and front overhang -25mm. That extended wheelbase helps to increase the legroom by 18mm.
Although the new model is slightly bigger and significantly better equipped, the weight will come down to 1320 kilos for the Boxster and to 1340 kilos for the Boxster S.
Cues which tell 981 apart from 991 include bespoke doors, tailormade lights, jazzier front and rear ends, restyled 18in wheels (19-inchers for the Boxster S), a more steeply raked windscreen and of course characteristic rear side panels incorporating those bigger air intakes.
A more efficient Boxster
The lighter weight, more efficient engines, honed aerodynamics and new features such as start-stop, extensive thermo-management, recuperation and a new electrically assisted power-steering add up to an 18% drop in consumption.
Among the most interesting options are the adaptive suspension management (PASM) which extends to the steering and the dual-clutch transmission, torque vectoring (PTV), keyless access and start (Entry & Drive), radar-based cruise control (ACC) and the Burmester sound system.
Porsche Boxster (981): the engines
While the output of the Boxster's 2.7-litre flat six goes up to 265bhp and 207lb ft, the new 3.4-litre Boxster S version delivers 315bhp and 266lb ft. When fitted with PDK, the lesser model will accelerate in 5.7sec from 0-62mph and top an unchanged 164mph. The Boxster S does the sprint in 4.9sec; its maximum speed is 171mph, the same as before.
When the first round of cosmetic and engineering modifications is due in 2015, Porsche will introduce a new four-cylinder boxer engine, sources claim. The Boxster/Cayman is believed to feature the bigger-bore 2.5-litre twin-turbo version which comes in various performance stages, delivering up to 360bhp and 347lb ft.