1998: Porsche Boxster
“Invariably, anyone who drives a Boxster comes back enchanted. It answers the questions we always raise about driving pleasure. Driving a great sports car should be natural. There shouldn’t be surprises, just revelations. It should stimulate and enthrall. It should be a two-way conversation between driver and car, with the driver talking, the car responding, and the driver reacting. That’s just how it is with the Boxster because the controls are so well weighted and precise. Where some cars are let down by inert steering, spongy brake-pedal response, or clumsy turn-in, the Boxster is perfectly balanced and utterly communicative.
“But the Boxster is more than simply a wonderful sports car and a surprisingly practical one. It is also the car that, for a number of reasons, will determine the success and future of Porsche. First, Porsche needed to get away from the single-model policy it had been relying on lately with the 911, and it had to increase sales volumes. Second, the Boxster and the new 911 had to share componentry in order to reduce development and production costs. Third, because the Boxster is an all-new design, Porsche could take all it has learned from the Japanese about car manufacturing and apply it from ground zero, the most effective way.
“One of the ultimate achievements of the Boxster is that it is a thoroughbred Porsche. Although its styling appears to spit people into those who love it (usually younger) and those who loathe it (older people like my father, who think it’s a blob on wheels), it really does look like a Porsche, if you think the Porsche look is defined by cars like the 356 and 550 RS. It sounds like a Porsche, if you think that the Porsche sound is defined by the wail of a horizontally opposed engine like the 550 RS’ four-cylinder, or the 911’s six, or even the 917’s twelve. It drives just like a Porsche should and feels solid, just like a Porsche should.”