I finally pulled the trigger, as I mused in my December 2018 post. I had a torrid romp over a weekend with a lovely, 2006 Porsche Boxster S. It did not disappoint.
How It Happened
After a few months of research on Turo.com, I decided on the Porsche that really lit the spark for me way back in 1995; the Boxster. I was fortunate enough to snag the S variant, naturally aspirated, in silver, with a manual six-speed transmission; my favorite combination.
I took a half-day off from work so I could pick it up early, and unhurried. Also, I wanted to give myself time to get used to driving it in the city and on the highway, with time and space for careful practice. It’s one thing to be driving someone’s car. It’s another thing entirely to be driving someone else’s Porsche. And yes, driving a Porsche into the office on a Friday, Summer afternoon, gives new meaning to Thank-God-It’s-Friday.
The first thing I appreciated, was that this Boxster S, even with over 115,000 miles on the clock, was taken care of. There were the minor, expected cosmetic things (e.g. rim scrapes, etc.) that come with any 13-year-old car, but the engineering was still on-point German. This didn’t really shock me though, having owned Audis, VWs, a BMW and a MINI.
I found the cock-pit a bit claustrophobic at first, but I eventually adjusted to it and found it quite comfortable. The gearshift position and orientation seemed odd to me, as did the pedal placement. However, after about an hour or so of driving, it made sense why the gearshift would be angled towards the driver the way it was. Plus, I rediscovered my heel-to-toe technique, from when I owned my MINI Cooper S Convertible.
Getting Into The Grove
The more I drove, the more natural the driving position became, as the degree in comfort and feel increased. Getting in and out of the cabin wasn’t as cumbersome as I would expect a car that low to be. The driver’s seat gave great lateral support too.
Being a convertible, the road noise was considerable, but it also was nice to hear ye olde flat-six cylinder engine rumble behind me. I didn’t expect to enjoy that as much as I did. It wasn’t overpowering or even obtrusive to the driving experience, just a nice accompaniment; like chocolate sprinkles on a sundae.
Yes, the ride was harsher than I would have liked, when driving in the city in stop-and-go urban traffic, but that’s something I think could have been resolved with some suspension upgrades.
What I didn’t appreciate until day two of driving, when I was out all day Saturday, was how well balanced the Boxster was. There was no unexpected weight transfer that robbed or compromised the driving experience when pushed. This was most evidence in off-ramp and on-ramp action, where I couldn’t afford to be laggard, and needed to get to at least 65-70 mph before joining highway traffic.
The Boxster, more than any manual transmission car I’ve ever driven, recognizably rewards smooth and judicious driving.
Anyone who’s lived in Arizona over a few summer know only tourists have the top down in the summer, during the day. I waiting until close to 11 p.m. and it was still a sauna outside. However, having the air conditioning on, for those short stints helped a lot. Other than that, I kept the top up, as it was just too noisy for me over 50 mph.
While the Porsche drank premium fuel, it was surprisingly fuel efficient giving the blend of city and highway driving I did, plus the car’s age. Also, I was able to accommodate not only my work briefcase in the front trunk, but the spoils from a Home Depot raid, in the rear trunk.
Before I had to return the Boxster, my buddy (who owns the Subaru WRX) and I mulled the question; would we buy one? He said as a third or fourth car, if one was so endowed, sure. However, not as a second car.
I could see his point. If it’s a second car you’ll likely put more miles on it, because it has more responsibilities to you, than if you had two others. Therefore, it would need maintenance sooner, if not more often; meaning more cost within a shorter time-frame.
If it was a third or fourth car, you could afford to drive it maybe 400 miles in a month at most, because there are two or three other cars in your stable to pick up the slack mileage and wear-and-tear-wise. This would be comparatively less maintenance and cost across the same time-frame.
I think depending on where you are in life and finances, renting instead of owning may be more rewarding.
As I’ve read in enough Porsche magazines during my lifetime, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to buy (or rent) the best example of a Porsche you can realistically afford.
Owning my MINI Cooper S Convertible was one of my best automobile experiences, because I could handle any expense that came up in regular maintenance without worry, even to the 130,000-mile mark. I understand that not everyone can do that with cars in the $28,000(USD)-plus MSRP range, especially if you’re young and on your first car. However, it’s something you can build up to over time, as your knowledge, experience, skill, and wealth grows. In any case, just run what you brung.