The sun is shining, temperatures are rising, and out on the horizon we can see the days when we’ll be able to lower the roof of our 718 Boxster S roadster again. Meanwhile, we marvel at just how competent this mid-engine Porsche is in snow and cold. Aided by $1291 worth of Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 tires, the 718 Boxster S proves improbably adept in winter weather. It brushes off frost heaves and potholes with remarkably compliant ride quality. And unlike our long-term Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport, which cranks lazily during arctic startups, the Boxster chortles happily on ignition, as if every subzero morning is just another sunny day in Palm Springs. Mostly, though, it’s the Boxster’s crisp sports-car dynamics that make it so great in winter weather. “More people should drive their Boxsters year-round,” wrote deputy online editor Dave VanderWerp. “After all, its precision, balance, and poise are just as welcome—if not more so—in low-grip conditions.”
WHAT WE DON’T LIKE: Of course, driving a Boxster year-round in the Midwest isn’t all sunshine and wind in your hair. After a night parked outside in snow or sleet, the Boxster’s frameless windows occasionally have to be freed with a splash of warm water before they’ll drop and allow the doors to open. And the low ground clearance means the Porsche is sidelined whenever snow falls more than a few inches at a time. But that’s about the extent of life’s difficulties in a Boxster. Driving a droptop through the slop and grit and slip of weather that typically sends sports cars into hibernation is every bit as awesome as you might imagine.
WHAT WENT WRONG: In December, a plastic hose running between the washer-fluid tank and the spray nozzles cracked, rendering the windshield washers inoperative during a particularly messy time of year. Our local dealer, having seen this problem before, promptly replaced the line under warranty. A cracked windshield two months later led us to shell out $1124 for a replacement. We also stopped in for the scheduled 20,000-mile service and traded $604 for an oil change plus new engine and cabin air filters.
WHERE WE WENT: There were no midwinter escapes to warmer climes for our Boxster. This car spent the entire season in the Midwest’s chilly embrace, which is a greater test for this car than logging highway miles all the way to Key West. The one recent trip of note is more remarkable for what we did rather than where we went. In late fall, before the snow started falling, six-foot, five-inch VanderWerp used the 718 for a golf outing. His golf bag didn’t have to ride shotgun; it fit nicely in the Boxster’s rear trunk, although the longer woods had to be removed from the bag itself. You can’t do that in a Mazda Miata.