Porsche Boxster 981 (2012-2016)
Date of unveil by Porsche AG: January 12, 2012, GTS: March 19, 2014, Spyder: April 1, 2015
Premiere: March 6, 2012 Geneva Motor Show, GTS: April 20, 2014 Auto China in Beijing, Spyder: April 1, 2015 New York Auto Show
World market launch: April 14, 2012 (as a 2013 model), GTS: May 2014, Spyder: July 2015
|Modification||Engine||kW||lb-ft||Nm||Brakes||Gearbox||60 mph||100 km/h||100 mph||200 km/h||mph||km/h||DIN weight||Power to weight|
|Boxster 981||2.7B6||195||206||280||315/299 mm||manual 6-speed||5.5 sec.||5.8 sec.||164||264||1310 kg
|PDK 7-speed||5.4 sec.||5.7 sec.||162||262||1340 kg
|Boxster 981 S||3.4B6||232||266||360||330/299 mm||manual 6-speed||4.8 sec.||5.1 sec.||173||279||1320 kg
|PDK 7-speed||4.7 sec.||5.0 sec.||172||277||1350 kg
|Boxster 981 GTS||3.4B6||243||272||370||330/299 mm||manual 6-speed||4.7 sec.||5.0 sec.||175||281||1345 kg
|PDK 7-speed||4.6 sec.||4.9 sec.||173||279||1375 kg
|Boxster 981 Spyder||3.8B6||276||309||420||340/330 mm||manual 6-speed||4.2 sec.||4.5 sec.||9.5 sec.||14.8 sec.||180||290||1315 kg
Never before in the history of the Boxster was a change of generation so comprehensive. The 981 has lower weight (minus 25-35 kg / 55-77 lb depending on the modification, compared to 987.2), is longer (+32 mm / 1.3"), has much longer wheelbase (+60 mm / 2.4") and is lower (-10 mm / 0.4"). Width is the only dimension that stayed exactly the same. The engine in the Boxster S is basically the same 3.4-litre unit that was in the 987.2 Boxster S, just +4 kW, but the engine in the standard Boxster is again a 2.7-litre unit compared to the 2.9-litre in the 987.2. Still, the power has been increased by +7 kW.
With the comparable equipment level (2-zone AC, leather seats, interior surveillance), the Boxster S is 39% cheaper than the 991 Carrera Cabriolet. You think the Porsche rear seats are expensive, but this is Porsche's way to fight the overpopulation, the greatest threath to the mankind. With the Boxster GTS the power-to-weight ratio is even better than on the 991 Carrera Cabriolet.
Comparison Boxster 981 GTS vs. 911 991 Carrera Cabriolet
|Porsche||No. of seats||Gearbox||Engine||kW||lb-ft||Nm||100 km/h||mph||km/h||kg||lb||W/lb||W/kg|
|Boxster 981 GTS||2 seats||manual 6-speed||3.4B6||243||272||370||5.0 sec.||175||281||1345||2965||82.0||181|
|911 991 Carrera Cabriolet||4 seats||manual 7-speed||3.4B6||257||287||390||5.0 sec.||178||286||1450||3197||80.4||177|
Manual gearbox or PDK?
The PDK gearbox adds significant weight to the car, but with its 7-speeds it is almost as fast on the race track as the manual one. The fun factor is naturally lower with the PDK than with the manual one. You would expect the PDK serve better in the city traffic, but actually it is unresponsive as the cars with PDK are programmed to use ultra low engine rpm. To overcome the laziness, you have to activate the Sport-regime every time you start the engine. Then again, don't expect the car to consume less fuel than the manual one. The low fuel consumption figures with PDK are achieved with driving style not typical to the Porsche driver. With natural driving style there is no fuel consumption benefit to the PDK gearbox. To use the technology of the PDK to the full on the race track, you have to specify the car with the Sport Chrono package. Not because of the silly stop watch on the dashboard, but because of the Sport Plus button which you would need on the race track if you prefer to drive in the fully automatic mode. The Sport Chrono package also includes the Launch Control system.
The gear changes with the PDK are eyeblink-quick when you change one gear at the time. If, for example, you want to change from 4th to 2nd, the gear change takes time as the gears are on the same shaft and the power must first be shifted to the other shaft before the gear change can be carried out.
Interestingly, the official acceleration figures with manual gearbox vs. PDK are not comparable because they are measured from the moment the car starts to move and not from the moment the start is given in the drag race. The acceleration from standstill with the PDK without launch control is comparable to the previous Tiptronic cars, so considerably weaker than with the manual gearbox. If, for example, you use the PDK in the drag race and you have activated the Launch Control, you have a dilemma, if to start accelerating immediately not to wear the clutch or to wait for the green light and cause wear to the clutch.
The 981 Spyder
Following in the footsteps of the 356 Speedster, 550 Spyder, 718 Spyder and the Boxster 987 Spyder, the Boxster 981 Spyder is by far the most powerful of them. The power-to-weight ratio of the 718 Spyder 1.7- and 2.0-litre 4-cylinder models was better though already 55 years earlier. Visually the Porsche Speedsters and Spyders are characterized by their special side view silhouette - the result of the low windscreen or low roofline (when the canvas top is fitted).
Like the 981 GT4, the 981 Spyder got its 3.8-litre engine from the 997.2 Carrera S/991 Carrera S. To fit the mid-engined 981, the 3.8-litre engine had to be modified a bit, so it got different crankcase and naturally different intake system. The 981 Spyder is the last 6-cylinder Boxster. This purist's version of the Boxster is equipped with limited slip differential and Porsche Torque Vectoring electronic turn-in aid. The exhaust system is naturally the louder sports version and the suspension is 20 mm lower than of the standard Boxster. The suspension is sportier, but not the racing suspension from the 981 GT4. The brakes have the same size as the ones on the 991 Carrera 3.4, just that the calipers are painted red. Although 25 kg / 55 lb lighter than the GT4, the 981 Spyder is not as race-oriented as the Cayman GT4. Like in the GT4, in order to reduce weight, radio, loudspeakers and air conditioning have been deleted (can be put back at no extra cost), the fuel tank is only 54 litres (64-litre tank is available at no extra cost). What was not the case with the 987 Spyder, the roof of the 981 Spyder is more suitable for everyday use.
The Boxster 981 production started in Porsche's main factory in Stuttgart in the beginning of 2012. On September 19, 2012, the production was also started in Volkswagen's plant in Osnabrück to have more production capacity for the 911 in Stuttgart. In Osnabrück a small plant was opened already in March 2011 for VW Golf Cabriolet production. The 981-series Porsches, Boxster and Cayman, are also made there. This is not the first time that vehicles have been produced for Porsche in Osnabrück. For example, in the 1960s 356 Hardtop Coupé bodies were made there, 1969-1975 914 was produced and in the 1990s the 968 bodies were made. From the start of the 981 production in Stuttgart, Volkswagen Osnabrück GmbH has been supplying the rear and side parts for the cars.
Before the 981-generation the Boxsters and Caymans were produced in Valmet Automotive factory in Uusikaupunki, Finland. Initially, the 981 production was agreed with Magna Steyr car factory in Graz, Austria, but after Porsche's takeover, Volkswagen's own plant was naturally chosen.
Article © James Herne / Stuttcars.com
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