Pretty Porsche Boxster packs a punch

Iain Dooley, Press Association senior motoring writer, says the Porsche Boxster is and attractive and distinctive sports car.

Engines– Apart from sitting behind the driver, there's something else different about Porsche's engines: instead of being a V-shape the Boxster's six-cylinder units lay flat 'boxer' style. As part of the Boxster's constant evolution, capacity has ranged from 2.7 up to 3.4 litres and power has risen respectively from 240 to 305bhp. Full of character, these engines aren't short of performance.

Exterior – From its conservative roots the Boxster has matured into an attractive and distinctive Porsche. The car's folding fabric roof stows neatly when down and helps the car look good when up – something certain rivals fail to match.

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Interior – The car's understated cabin might be at odds with its performance potential but it's well built and there's easily enough space for two adults. The layout and ambience is very much like that of the Cayman and 911, which is no bad thing.

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Driving – A sublime and rewarding experience, even the early 2.7-litre cars deliver thrills in spades. The car's direct and communicative steering is unmatched and power delivery is linear and urgent. There's no shortage of grip, although it pays to respect the rear-drive Boxster when conditions are tricky. In short, a genuine driver's car.

Ownership – Assuming you bought wisely there's no reason for a Boxster to be a troublesome experience. You'll need to plan more regarding the car's modest storage capacity but that's about it. Servicing and fuel costs will be more than for a mainstream front-wheel drive coupe, too.

What to look for – A patchy or non-existent service history should have you looking elsewhere, as should parking dents or kerbed wheels. Any sign of neglect is never good, while a flawless test-drive performance is essential, as is a fully-functioning and damage-free roof.

Model history – 2004, comprehensive revision of Porsche's popular Boxster model. A steady evolution to the present day has seen a gradual increase in engine capacity from 2.7 litres to 2.9 and 3.4 litres for the standard and high-performance S variant respectively. Good level of standard kit offered including a powered roof, while the standard manual gearbox can be switched for the optional Tiptronic auto.

Reasons to buy – Performance, brand image, reputation, ease of use, powered roof.

Reasons to beware – Brand image, used and abused examples, running costs, modest luggage capacity.

Pick of the range – Boxster 3.4 S.

What to pay – 2006 56 �20,925; 2007 07 �22,425; 2007 57 �22,925; 2008 08 �24,750; 2008 58 �25,350; 2009 09 �31,050; 2010 10 �33,650; 2011 11 �36,325. Figures relate to showroom prices for cars in A1 condition.

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