ALTHOUGH Porsche had a sneaky habit of bringing us occasional girly looking, essentially soft cars before the Boxster was launched in 1996 – think the 914 and 924 – this was the car that effectively saved the teetering company from folding.
You could thank the Coxster – just one of its cruel nicknames, but not as common as “poor man’s Porsche” – for turning the Stuttgart-based former sports car company into the SUV-selling giant it is today.
Sure, the original Boxster (it’s a clever mix of “boxer”, as in engine, and “roadster”) took 7.6sec to get to 100km/h using its appalling yet innovative Tiptronic gearbox, and next to a 911 it was about as soft as a cup of Milo next to a block of chocolate, but it sure did part a lot of hairdressers from their hard-earned.
And plenty of people with less-chatty jobs, too, because it suddenly made the Porsche badge seem almost attainable, at least to the kind of people who were well off, if not quite 911-rich.
Critics at the time said it was cheapening the brand and was the death of the company’s purist creed, but the fact was that, while softer than a proper Porsche, it was still pretty bloody fabulous to drive. A Boxster won Motor’s PCOTY in 1997.
There’s nothing girly about the latest and greatest 981 version of the Boxster; it’s just plain wonderful. We can also thank the Boxster for giving birth to the Cayman, which is wonderful with sugar on top.
Brought Porsche ownership to more bankers (or something that sounds like that) than ever before.
Put Porsche back towards profitability and thus further model experimentation.
And the Cayenne.