I bought the Boxster last year as part of my revamped hire fleet and since driving it to Ivybridge it has been languishing in my storage unit as Devon gradually resembles Venice. Last week, however, the weather people promised sunny but cold and as I planned a trip up to Staffordshire this seemed like a great opportunity to give the Porsche a run. I have driven a number of classics in my classic car hire business including a TVR Griffith 500 and a 911sc but I have never driven a mid-engined car so I was looking forward to experiencing the Boxster. There was a Land Rover I wanted to take a look at in Winkleigh so this gave me an excuse to take the long way across Dartmoor. I set off early afternoon and made my way to the A38. As I joined the traffic I took a moment to look around me at the Boxster environment. Like the 911, the Boxster has the rev counter right in the middle of the dash, I love that sense of focus, with the speedo to the left and the fuel and temperature to the right. There is a digital read out for the speedo which is good as the speedo is in increments of 25 mph and is not really much use. I like sports cars to have lots of instruments so I was a little disappointed by the Boxster’s lack of dials to look at but it’s a minor gripe as the rev counter and digital speed readout are all you need. The leather seats are great and the driving position is excellent, it is better than the TVR’s cramped interior which cocoons you between the door and the huge transmission tunnel and deep dash. It is more like my old 911 except they have given the pedals back to the driver. As a convertible the Boxster does not have the light airy feel of the 911sc coupe but it is a comfortable place to be.
I left the A38 for the A382, not the fastest route but it runs up over Dartmoor. Sadly I found myself shackled to a coach followed by white van man so I’m not in for a spirited drive. Even so I used the opportunity to get used to the Boxster’s excellent steering and general handling. The road narrows and widens as if it’s breathing and progress is slow. After a while the coach turned off and white van man puts his foot down. I guess he was spurred on by the sight of me in his rear view and there is no way he was letting some flash git in a Porsche get the better of him! It was quite comical watching the van lurch into the bends so I kept a safe distance in case he binned it. We come to a rare straight bit of road so I change for 5th to 3rd, the bark from the engine actually made me jump and the Boxster growled into life and catapulted me past white van man. By the time I had gathered my wits I was on top of a right hander and was relieved that the Boxster has superb brakes, a firm positive pedal that hauls the little car down without fuss. Then the driving gods smiled. The sky was blue the air was cool and the tarmac was dry, there was no one behind to hassle me and no one in front to inhibit progress and the A3124 was laid out before me like a carelessly dropped ribbon on the gently undulating Devon countryside – now we can have some fun. I’m no racing driver and a couple of out of control spins on the public highway have made me more like Captain Slow’s cabin boy than James Hunt but this was irresistible. I know I would have enjoyed this road in my TVR or 911 but the enjoyment would have been slightly tempered by the fear that the grim reaper was waiting for me just around the bend. One slip, brake late, lift off and your mine! I know the Boxster is not as powerful but progress was quicker than anything I can remember and the reaper never came to mind. The Boxster is well screwed together, the steering is perfect and the handling is a bit of a revelation to me. It is as if it was talking to me “push on Steve, don’t worry I won’t let you down” and it didn’t disappoint, the last time I had this much fun ….. Well, better leave that one. Sadly my driving pleasure was interrupted by the lady in my sat nav. Who decided that the quickest way to Tiverton was down a narrow muddy pot hole ridden country lane, not the Boxster natural playground.
Soon we came to the A361 and passed Tiverton to the M5. I thought that this was the end of the fun and I now faced 3 hours on the M5 in a soft top car. But Lady Boxster had another surprise in store. I guess rag tops have come a long way since I rattled up the M1 in my MGB my neck aching from the icy draughts and my right side soaking wet as the rain sprayed in between the window and the roof. The Boxster’s more luxurious lid is a snug fit and at motorway speeds there seemed little wind noise and no draughts, I could still hear my ipod picking its way through a selection of rock classics. 5th gear is ideal, 70 requires less than 3000 rpm and it only takes a gentle press of the throttle to jump into the outside lane if I need to overtake. I realised I had been driving the Boxster for over 3 hours with hardly a break so I stopped at the next service station. I picked up my medium cappu and headed for a window seat so I could keep an eye on my Porsche. What’s happening? Does this mean I care? Well yes it does. I am usually pretty strict with the hire fleet, if a car does not do enough hires in its first year I sell it on – but not this one. I don’t care if no one takes Lady Boxster out, I’m keeping her.