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Porsche Boxster, TT, SLK and 370Z: 4 open-air two-seaters in the test

Rossen Gargolov
Porsche Boxster vs. Audi TT, Mercedes SLK, Nissan 370Z
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It there is no bad weather, there is only wrong clothing, 'is a well-known proverb. While electric motors are buzzing and ripping off the roof of the four roadsters, the drivers adjust their down jackets, scarfs and gloves. First of all after the first one A spring excursion sounds like it became the cold marathon of the year. So that the first roadster comparison test is on your table in time for the season, the Porsche Boxster S, Audi TTS Roadster, Mercedes SLK 350 and N issan 370Z Roadster also with an air temperature of minus 11 degrees (asphalt: - 4 degrees) to Hockenheim.

Porsche The Boxster S opens its roof the fastest

If it were after the opening times of the top, the matter would be clear immediately. 1. Porsche Boxster S, nine seconds, up to 50 km /h. 2. Audi TTS Roadster, twelve seconds, up to 50 km /h. Together in third place: Nissan 370Z Roadster and SLK 350 with 20 seconds. Both the fabric roof of the Japanese and the folding roof of the Swabian can only be moved when the vehicle is stationary.

But the folding roof is almost an insult for the complex SLK roof structure if, as in the case of the test car, the panoramic roof with Magic Sky Control (surcharge 2,606 euros) was chosen. The glass roof can switch between transparent and dark at the push of a button. Or in PR slang: 'Wellness atmosphere at the push of a button.' In the face of such phrases, purist roadster fans feel cold. Even less enthusiastic that the SLK 350, available exclusively with automatic transmission, now weighs 80 kg more than its predecessor, which was still available with a manual six-speed gearbox. But perhaps the AMG sports package (surcharge 3,236 euros) including sports suspension with tighter dampers, shorter springs and stabilizers with a larger cross-section can convince real sports drivers.

Green pit lights - the 306 hp V6 marches on the little ones Hockenheim course. Driving fun at the limit? Unfortunately it looks different. There are lines of concern as soon as the 350 targets the first corner. The hydraulically assisted direct steering with variable steering ratio (surcharge 321 euros) acts spongy around the central position and falls with its smoothness in the sportyGait uncomfortable. With its direct steering behavior, the SLK collects plus points, which it forgets immediately.

Despite the sports suspension, the body wobbles more and more. Even the smallest signs of agility, for example through load change tail swings, slow down the ESP, which cannot be completely switched off and is permanently inharmoniously regulated. The ABS regulation at the limit is also sometimes very rough. In addition to the regular attacks, the brake system is not only noticed in the standard brake test (warm) with the worst values ​​of all four candidates. The tendency to fade cannot be ignored on the racetrack either.

With a lap time of 1,18.8 minutes, the SLK 350 is 1.6 seconds behind the best time of its predecessor and makes it clear that the current generation is not sports drivers, but only appeals to comfort-loving cruisers with a strolling desire.

Audi's TTS scores with precise driving behavior

Pit stop, change in the Audi TTS Roadster. It's not just the glowing orange paintwork that puts you in a better mood. What is the 272 hp two-liter TFSI four-cylinder doing among the more than 300 hp roadsters? Audi's answer: 'We don't currently have a TT RS Roadster in our fleet.' But it doesn't have to be the top model with a five-cylinder turbo and optionally 340 or as a plus version with 360 hp.

The high-traction all-wheel drive with manual six-speed gearbox stays loose in 5.7 seconds, despite 34 hp less on the 0-100 sprint on the SLK 350. Even up to 200 km /h, the Mercedes is hardly faster, despite the increased performance. The crisp, precise gearshift (including shortened gearshift travel surcharge of 195 euros) ensures driving pleasure.

On the racetrack, the TTS scores with precise driving behavior. Despite electromechanical power assistance, the steering is not synthetic, but pleasantly direct. The all-wheel drive behaves foolproof in the border area, but by no means boring. The roadster, equipped with the adaptive damper system Magnetic Ride as standard, steers in a jagged and neutral way. Under load it shines with great traction without dull understeer. Slight load change sidesteps ensure a good mood when ESP is deactivated. With warm braking values ​​of 37.0 meters and longer pedals on the racetrack, however, the steel braking system still has room for improvement. Nevertheless, the overall package is rewarded with a respectable time of 1.16.2 minutes. So much can already be revealed - the second fastest lap time of the comparison test.

Today's insider tip: the Nissan 370Z Roadster

Similar to Audi, Nissan on the 370Z Roadster tires of the type Bridgestone RE050A, both in the format 245/40 R18 all around (TTS)as well as with 19-inch mixed tires (370Z) offer a good level of grip. The Japanese is today's insider tip. And that, although the new facelift version is still stuck in the container from overseas.

From June 2013 Nissan is not only sharpening the look (including new front apron with LED daytime running lights, wider radiator), but also wants the two-seater position more affordable prices than entry-level athletes. Instead of 41,450 euros, the roadster with a manual six-speed gearbox starts at 35,900 euros. The tested top model 'Pack' with a seven-speed automatic transmission costs only 41,050 euros instead of 46,700 euros. What an announcement!

While the interior looks a bit half-hearted with cheap plastic, steering wheel adjustment that cannot be adjusted lengthways and seat covers that are too short, the V6 vacuum cleaner with 328 hp, which is well attached to the gas, inspires. The ESP reins fall at the push of a button and the rear-wheel drive car drifts around the corner. The fast-shifting automatic also has a manual mode that holds the gears when the engine speed limit is reached. The downshifts accompany intermediate gas bursts. Somewhat anachronistic, but as an amiable back-to-the-roots trait, higher steering forces than all other test candidates are noticeable.

Despite its weight of 1,611 kg, the 370Z steers directly with a slight side tilt. He responded to load changes with good-natured self-steering behavior. In acceleration and braking tests as well as on the racetrack, he allows himself no weakness. If you order the roadster with manual transmission instead of the automatic, the open-air experience 370Z starts at an unbeatable 109 euros per hp (our tip!).

Porsche Boxster S proves to be a driving dynamics cracker

The top dog Porsche Boxster S with 315 hp costs almost twice as much per hp. With a seven-speed PDK transmission, it is over 10,000 euros over the SLK and TTS and 20,000 euros over the Nissan bargain. In terms of price, the basic Boxster initially requested with 265 hp and a starting price of 49,243 euros would have been more suitable for the test. But in Zuffenhausen there was a rattle that the Boxster without an S might get under the wheels. Why such concern? With the 981c generation, a driving dynamics cracker has succeeded, which can certainly keep the competition of the SLK 350, TTS and 370Z in check with 'only' 265 hp from the Supertest known Boxster S to Hockenheim equipped with helpful driving dynamics candy (mechanical rear differential lock, 20-inch sport techno wheels with half-inch wider rear rims as standard, PCCB ceramic brake system, electronic damper control PASM, Sport Chrono Package Plus ).

As expected, the mid-engine athlete sawed everything to the ground with his 3.4-liter boxer mid-engine with great pleasure. Because of a sheet of ice entrance Motodrom andSlightly icy curbs in the Sachskurve, the Porsche Boxster S remained three tenths of a second below the time from the super test with 1:14.2 minutes on the short course, but the notes on the test car card dominate superlatives: sensationally agile and precise at the same time, steering and rotating rear end fit perfectly together. If there was a request for the next model year, the PDK application should be adapted. Similar to the Elfer and Cayman, the PDK automatically switches down under kickdown in manual mode, which can be annoying on the racetrack. But the sport PDK in the new GT3 will probably only help here.

Porsche Boxster S wins clear test

But that is only a small point of criticism on the otherwise white driving fun vest of the Porsche Boxster S. After the clear test victory, the S-GO 2140 with its guards red paint coat was given a special honor. Get out of the press fleet and permanently into the museum fleet. Maybe in 20 years we will meet again for a nice youngtimer story in Hockenheim. If possible, not again at minus 11 degrees.

Due to technical problems, our measurement data are currently not displayed. We will deliver this data as soon as possible.

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