Behind the wheel of everyone’s dream carThe sight of a Porsche Boxter S draws open admiration.
Every time I left this car on the street or in a parking lot, passersby quickly gathered to ogle it. I could still hear them talking about it as they left the scene.
James Kim, the Porsche representative in Seoul, says he sells about a dozen Boxters per year in Korea. “The Boxter is more affordable than other models, such as Carrera, and Koreans prefer metallic silver, the one that you’re going to ride today,” he said, handing me the key.
The ignition, surprisingly, is on my left, and I can already feel the crisp, tempestuous start of a potentially powerful engine.
And I wonder about the myth of the Porsche: Exactly what makes this everyone’s dream car?
This silver Porsche Boxter S is aerodynamically slim and unspeakably elegant. It’s lined with orange leather and carpeting; the effect of this surprisingly flashy interior color is not feminine, but sturdy and sleek.
The interior is made of leather and steel; the features are lean and curvy, like the compact and sinewy body of a lightweight boxer.
The glittering gold emblem on the leather-bound steering wheel and the simple, deliberately low-tech-looking dashboard exude a nostalgic aura of European old money. But low-tech it isn’t.
The core of the machine, the six-cylinder engine, is nowhere to be found under the front and rear hoods, which are opened with the remote-entry key or with a button on the floor near the door.
Fuel injection and ignition are electronically controlled by the Motronic ME7.8 engine controller, making for an instant, smooth start.
Specially designed for racing, the engine is located in the center of the car ― somewhere beneath the seats. Which means a physical view of the engine is available only when the car is lifted in mid-air.
A dipstick, a coolant cap and an oil cap are the only visible features in the rear trunk; a spare tire and a six-CD changer are in the front trunk.
The Porsche Boxter S, unlike the regular Boxter, boasts stunning strength, with 260 horsepower and maximum speed of 258 kmh (160 mph). It can reach 100 kmh in 6.4 seconds.
With the simple push of a large button on the edge of soft top and a small one on the dashboard, the soft top opens and closes, but it won’t work if the parking brake is not on.
The clear acrylic panel between the two steel rollover bars functions as a wind deflector.
Now I’m more than ready for the Porsche Boxter S experience on the real road.
The power is not only audible, but tactile; the ride comes with a great sense of balance and weight. The car’s capacity for speed seems simply inborn; it is ever ready for some unknown, spectacular adventure.
Though it does draw those admiring looks, driving the Porsche Boxter S in the city is only a frustrating teaser. The speedometer reads a mere 55 or 65 kmh, but the car sounds and feels fast and powerful, and every minute I’m almost insanely driven to try for more. Forget my next appointment. Forget office calls. I look for the closest open road, a highway entrance.
According to the dashboard, the car remains in second or third gear, even on the highway when my speed exceeds 90 kmh. This is a definite sign of a gas guzzler, but who cares, when driving is this much fun?
This automatic-transmission roadster feels like a manual-transmission race car; the driver can physically sense the roughness of a serious machine.
Both the brake and gas pedals are comfortably soft but very strong. At first, the steering seems a little harder to maneuver than most sports cars’, as if it were designed for driving on straightaways. But once in the fast lane, it proves otherwise; a flick of a finger allows for one swift lane change after another, without any disturbance in the car’s balance.
Even at 160 kmh, to my surprise, the car doesn’t get into fifth gear, unless, of course, I give a little tap on the plus sign on one of the two five-speed Tiptronic S buttons launched on the steering wheel.
So I ask myself, “What’s the limit here?” I’m sure there’s more room for dangerous thrills. The menacing power and prestigious presence of the Porsche Boxter S on the road seem to scare away the ordinary traffic of the mundane world.
There is absolutely no competition of any kind ― or am I imagining this? Driving this spectacularly handsome machinery, reality seems divided between the Porsche and the rest of the world.
Suddenly, life ― me, the stunningly picturesque sunset and the car in the scenic metropolis ― is blissful. Driving on the highway still feels as if it were only a taste of what the Porsche Boxter S can potentially, ultimately offer: driving at another level.
I begin to imagine driving this on the legendary Autobahn ― for eternity. My dream of the Porsche Boxter S has only begun.
The Porsche Boxter S costs 102.3 million won ($85,250) in Korea.
by Ines Cho