A Day with the Porsche

Porsche Boxster by the Ocean

The time has flown since I purchased my Porsche Boxster on June 26, 2019. In the two months since then, I have greatly enjoyed driving and also just looking at the thing, to be honest. I drive it to work on sunny days and have taken the Boxster on a few short trips.

But in that period I haven’t taken the time to do some of the basic things you’d do with a new car. I added only one radio station to the ones preset by the dealership and didn’t activate the satellite radio. I hadn’t paired my mobile phone with the car. I hadn’t changed any of the default settings on the displays or configured its optional features. I hadn’t even taken the Porsche on an extended drive just because. I barely tested the Sport mode. Although I actually did RTFM.

So on August 26, exactly two months after bringing the Porsche Boxster home, I decided to devote the day to getting to know my car.

I started with the center display screen functions. Although I don’t expect to use this feature much, I paired my mobile phone with the car using Bluetooth. It was a simple process. After checking my preset radio stations in the MINI, I set the same stations in the Porsche. Finally, I jotted down the satellite radio ID so I could activate it online later.

Porsche Boxster Center Console

After reviewing the owner’s manual for the programmable features, I went through the menu and set a few options such as the folding mirrors, auto door locking, warning volume, and the multi-function display items. I checked the oil level and tire pressures on the display. (Note the outdoor temperature of 107°F!)

Porsche Boxster Display

My building’s parking lot is gated and I had been using a clunky, ancient-looking remote control to open the gates. No more. I programmed one of the Porsche’s HomeLink buttons to open the gates. So much better!

The next order of business was to wash the car. Due to the soft-top, Porsche doesn’t recommend putting the Boxster through an automatic carwash. So I have been hand-washing the car and today would be its third bath. I washed and dried the car, taking extra time on its wheels and under the rear spoiler.

Porsche Boxster
Porsche Boxster
Porsche Boxster Spoiler

The day was hot, so a drive and photoshoot would have to wait until evening. There is a scenic and partly curvy road nearby, known to bikers and car clubs, called The Loop. Around 6:30 pm, I set off up Beach Street, top down, in the warm evening. I began The Loop at Granada Boulevard, driving north on Old Dixie Highway with no traffic ahead of me. I turned right on Walter Boardman Road and then again on Highbridge Road which winds its way along the edge of Bulow Creek. Here I pulled off the road to take a few photos.

Porsche Boxster on The Loop

I continued on Highbridge. There are two ways to complete The Loop, either along the river on John Anderson Drive or along the beach on A1A. Since I hoped to take some photos by the ocean, I continued to A1A and stopped at the parking lot where the roads meet. Here I took more photos above the beach.

Porsche Boxster by the Ocean
Porsche Boxster by the Ocean
Porsche Boxster by the Ocean
Porsche Boxster by the Ocean

The sun was setting soon and I had one more stop for photos I hoped to make. So I cruised south on A1A enjoying the cool wind and the ocean views. At Granada Boulevard I turned right and crossed the bridge, completing The Loop. A few blocks further I made a U-turn, then pulled up in front of the Ormond Garage. This was an historic garage but recently turned into a bar and grill. Since I was parked illegally, I left the Boxster running while I quickly took a few photos, dodging traffic on Granada.

Porsche Boxster
Porsche Boxster

Photos completed, I jumped in the car and headed back home along Riverside Drive and Beach Street, arriving just before 8:00 pm. During this drive I passed 1,000 miles since purchase and will be writing a review of the car soon.

Porsche Boxster Dash

MINI JCW Coupe vs. Porsche Boxster

MINI JCW Coupe

Porsche Boxster

If you know me or have browsed my website, you’ll already know that my most recent previous car (in addition to my older MINI Cooper) was a MINI John Cooper Works Coupe.  While I like the sporty, yet practical, hatchback MINI Cooper, I have always preferred the two-seat sportscar.  I don’t have a family or the need to haul many people or large items.  This preference is why I bought the MINI Coupe in 2011 and the Porsche Boxster this year (2019).  Despite the Porsche being a convertible, the two cars have several similarities.

Both cars are two-seaters and relatively small and lightweight.  They are true driver’s cars with excellent steering, handling, and braking.  Both cars employ active rear spoilers.  Both have excellent six-speed manual transmissions.  Although very different, the two cars each produce a distinct, aggressive engine noise; the MINI pops while the Porsche growls.  My Porsche 981 has the traditional flat-six engine, but the current Boxster 982 (and its hardtop sibling the Cayman) has a turbocharged four-cylinder like the MINI JCW.  The MINI JCW Hardtop and Porsche Cayman used to compete against each other in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge ST class until 2018.

The biggest difference is in the layout: the MINI JCW Coupe has its longitudinally-mounted engine up front, while the Porsche Boxster has a mid-engine configuration.  The MINI is front-wheel drive; the Porsche is rear-wheel drive.  Two different philosophies with each having its benefits and drawbacks.

Here are the numbers for comparison.

MINI JCW Coupe Porsche Boxster 981
Dimensions
Length 148.0″ (3,734 mm) 172.2″ (4,374 mm)
Width without mirrors 66.3″ (1,683 mm) 70.9″ (1,801 mm)
Width with mirrors 75.3″ (1,913 mm) 77.9″ (1,987 mm)
Height 54.5″ (1,384 mm) 50.5″ (1,282 mm)
Wheelbase 97.1″ (2,466 mm) 97.4″ (2,475 mm)
Weight 2,701 lb (1,225 kg) 2,888 lb (1,310 kg)
Engine and Transmission
Type and Displacement Inline 4 Cylinder
1,598 cm³
Flat 6 Cylinder
2,706 cm³
Power 208 hp @ 6,000 rpm 265 hp @ 6,700 rpm
Torque 192 lb-ft @ 1,850-5,600 rpm 207 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm
Transmission 6-Speed Manual,
front-wheel drive
6-Speed Manual,
rear-wheel drive
Suspension
Front MacPherson MacPherson
Rear Multi-Link Multi-Link
Brakes
Front 12.4″ Ventilated Disc 12.4″ Ventilated Disc
Rear 11.0″ Ventilated Disc 11.8″ Ventilated Disc
Wheels and Tires
Wheels 17″ x 7″ Alloy – F
17″ x 7″ Alloy – R
18″ x 8″ Alloy – F
18″ x 9″ Alloy – R
Tires 205/45-R17 – F
205/45-R17 – R
Performance Runflat
235/45-ZR18 – F
265/45-ZR18 – R
Performance
Base Price (MSRP) New (With Destination Charge) $31,900 $50,450
Performance
Top Speed 149 mph (240 km/h) 163 mph (264 km/h)
Acceleration
(0-60 mph)
6.1 seconds 5.5 seconds
Fuel Economy (City/Highway/Combined) 25/33/28 mpg 20/30/24 mpg

[Sources: MINI USA website, MINI USA News, Porsche Boxster Owner’s Manual, Porsche Boxster Window Sticker.]

My Porsche Boxster

Porsche Boxster

After I bought my loft in December 2017, I began thinking about buying a new car. After researching the new car market, including MINI, I decided that nothing in my price range really interested me. Since the time I was a kid, I have always wanted to own a Porsche. So, about a year ago I started doing some research on the Porsche Cayman. The reviews of the car were excellent and I decided to try to find a recent (Generation 3 or 981 in Porsche-speak) with low miles. I had one requirement: the car had to have a 6-speed manual transmission.

In early June I spotted a 2015 Porsche Cayman in white with low miles that seemed perfect. But it was an automatic. I decided to go have a look at it at Porsche South Orlando and maybe test-drive it. Maybe it would change my mind. When I arrived, someone was just taking it out, so I went inside to speak to a salesman. I gave him my preferred specifications and he told me about a 2013 Porsche Boxster with a manual transmission that had just been sold to the dealership. Did I want to have a look? I hadn’t really considered a Boxster, which is the convertible version of the Cayman, but I thought it was worth viewing. So I followed him up to the large parking garage at the back of the building.

Porsche Boxster
Porsche Boxster

The Boxster was a beautiful Dark Blue Metallic with a dark blue top in nearly new condition. It was indeed a 6-speed manual. Plus, it had very few miles by the one previous owner, an older gentleman in his 70s who owned several Porsches and used this one on sunny days to drive to the golf club. I liked the car and its history, but I still wasn’t sure that a convertible was right for me. So I left.

The following week I received a message from the Porsche dealership asking if I wanted to test-drive the Boxster. Since I had an appointment at Orlando MINI for an oil change that coming Friday, I decided to go try the Boxster. It was a very hot and sunny day, so I began the drive with the top up before retracting it on the way back. I really liked how the Boxster handled, shifted, and sounded with its mid-engine flat-six engine. I expected the the car to feel big and heavy, but it drove very similar to my previous MINI JCW Coupe.

Porsche Boxster
Porsche Boxster

Again, although I loved the looks and enjoyed the feel of the Boxster, I still wasn’t sure a convertible was for me. So I left again. But I kept thinking about the Boxster.

In the meantime, I did some more searching and research. I realized that a manual Cayman (or Boxster) with my other specifications might be hard to find. I was buying the car for fun, and I live in Florida near the beach. When the salesman sent me a message the following week asking if I had any general questions (they were not aggressive at all), I made them an offer a few thousand less than the asking price. I didn’t have anything to lose. But they accepted my offer and I quickly put a deposit on the car.

The first available day I had to go back to Porsche South Orlando was Wednesday, June 26. I took the afternoon off work, left my MINI Cooper in my parents’ driveway, and drove down to the dealership with my dad. We had another look over the car. My dad, Jim, a retired auto-body technician, was impressed with the like-new condition of the car. I signed all the papers (twice, due to a small error on their part), and was the owner of a Porsche Boxster! I took a few photos at the dealership before heading home in my new purchase.

Porsche Boxster
Porsche Boxster
Porsche Boxster
Porsche Boxster

When I left, it was nearing rush-hour and traffic through Orlando was terrible. But it was a beautiful day and I was just getting adjusted to the car. Once I escaped the suburbs of north Orlando, it was open Interstate back to Daytona Beach. Then I could really enjoy driving the car. Once I reached the local streets of Daytona Beach, I lowered the top and drove the rest of the way home.

Since it was a sunny day and there were several spaces blocked off in front of my building, I decided to have an impromptu photoshoot.

Porsche Boxster
Porsche Boxster
Porsche Boxster
Porsche Boxster
Porsche Boxster

Because my building was being painted, all cars had to park in the guest lot. Including mine. A few days later I spoke to the painters who assured me that my car would be fine parked in the covered lot. Only then could I finally could rest easy knowing my Porsche was safe at home. And I have already decided that buying the convertible was the right choice. I am thoroughly happy with my choice of the Porsche Boxster. I’m sure there will many adventures to come.

Porsche Boxster