Originally published August 10, 2015
Dan Heyman and Brendan McAleer
When you think of the Corvette vs Porsche rivalry over the years, it is Stuttgart’s iconic 911 that has always been the target because of their closer performance levels, racing pedigrees and legacy. However, with the release of the all-new Corvette Stingray last year and continuing popularity and improvement of the “affordable” Porsche sports cars – the Boxster and Cayman – the Porsche entrant in the vs Corvette battle is now much more open to debate.
Me? Well, I’ve brought the Boxster GTS along for good reason. Of all the cars I’ve tested over the years, from Audi R8s to Porsche Turbos to Shelby Mustangs and others in between, this particular Boxster, in all its Carmine Red glory, has stood out as possibly the best car I have ever driven, and if you’re working with an 80-100K budget for a new sports car, the Boxster or Cayman are the ones in that window.
Brendan, on the other hand, has come round with the latest of GM’s heavy metal (figuratively, of course; it’s rather light being crafted from aluminum and fibreglass) to see how it stacks up. I’m really looking forward to seeing the results.
Incremental improvements, or a total change-up: that’s the story here. Where the new Boxster design is a port n’ polish of the previous generation – and the GTS some further sport-oriented polishing of that ideal – the Stingray Corvette is the same basic shape as the previous ‘Vette, but a total re-fracturing.
It would appear to me that they haven’t quite got the front end right. The flat-mouthed grille is a little too wide, a little too straight. It looks a bit like one of those unamused smiley faces.
However, the rest of the Vette is pure rock n’ roll. Sit in the driver’s seat and watch the heat waves come radiating out through the hood vent, and you can’t help grinning at the audacity of this machine. There are other trim levels, more violence and volume up the line, but even this basic car feels audacious.
The Boxster, on the other hand, is recognizably a Boxster, and that means not a 911. Fine, especially when big-brother neunelfer has gone all GT, but were this tester not Carmine Red with black wheels, the price tag might surprise given the relatively conservative exterior. GTS models gain some unique fascia work, bigger wheels, a slightly lower suspension, and extra badging. In a more reserved colour, the Boxster could fly under the radar a bit, and perhaps that’s a boon to a potential owner.
However, the ‘Vette manages to be pure American rocketship, modern and brutal and vicious – and it still gets a base price tag that prods the question, “That’s all?” We drove both of them through my little suburban neighbourhood, and a squadron of young boys on bikes went crazy over the Corvette. If there’s a part of you that’s still twelve, this Yankee Doodle’s dandy.