Sports Car of the Year: M135i vs Boxster
Two cars divided opinion so much that they required one last test. Stand back, and release The Stig...
Posted: 11 Jan 2013
A few laps later, The Stig simply forces me to a stop by parking in the middle of the circuit with the door open, and I'm prised unceremoniously out of the BMW. So I hop into the little Boxster, and get confused all over again. Mainly because this isn't anything like the BMW. At all.
For a start, the 2.7-litre is naturally aspirated and swaps turbocharged grunt for deliciously precise throttle response. You have to rev the Boxster all the way to the red line to really make it shift, and it never has the sodding great wave of torque that makes the BMW so punchy on the road. But it's sweeter and more tuneful, and you snick between ratios and rev-match downshifts almost instinctively. You sit lower, and the steering is more transparent than in the BMW, allowing you to play within the limits of grip with more confidence. And the mid-engined layout has more natural balance in the first place, so you push harder and harder without really noticing. In the BMW, you end up having a polite wrestle at very high speeds. The Boxster simply gets better and better the more you push. Most startling is the lack of understeer in even the tightest of corners, the Boxster nailing itself to whatever you point it at, with just a graceful exhale of oversteer through a corner exit. It hasn't got a limited-slip diff either, but never really feels like it needs it, because the relative lack of torque doesn't really upset the car as much as the BMW's typhoon mid-range. The only real thing you consistently think is that the chassis is so talented, it could handle more power. A lot more power. Which is a huge compliment.