The more things change, the more they remain the same.’ Somebody came up with that rather deep line at some point in history, but, despite its borderline pop-philosophy nature, I’ve found that it sums things up rather neatly – certainly in my own experience, at any rate. Relationships, work, governments – just when you think there’s something new in store, the realisation soon sets in that what you’re seeing is merely another variation on the theme; a rivulet that’s wandered off from the river, if you will, but with the same water in it. So the question is, does the new Porsche Boxster (internally designated the 981), the first all-new Boxster since the very first 1996-vintage car, burst clean out of its original mould, or is it old claret in a 2013 bottle? The answer, as always, is to be found in the best seat in the house – behind the steering wheel.
The last time I found myself looking at a Boxster’s steering wheel, it had flappy paddles on it (mated to a 7-speed PDK ’box), a world away from the standard push-pull buttons that are deeply frustrating to use (I also had a Jaguar E-Type keeping me company).
This time around, the meaty wheel was free of any buttons/paddles, because I was piloting a row-it-yourself 6-speed manual, a new experience for me in a Porsche. I can tell you right away that it’s a super-sweet gearbox – crisp as a Pringles chip, and with the sort of short throw that every sportscar should compulsorily have.
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