Autozilla decided it would be fun to pit the 2010 Porsche Boxster Spyder against the 2011 Tesla Roadster Sport 2.5. The battle of mean against green is a sensitive competition. You’ve got your tried and true performance enthusiasts, of which the Tesla Roadster will have nothing on the silky-smooth prowess of the Boxster, and you’ve got your environmentalists who’d rather burn bra’s than fuel. But in reality, it’s really not about who’s better, but rather how far the electric car has come.
Not long ago, the word electric and hybrid, pinned images of the Toyota Prius, which is quite frankly anything but sporting. It wasn’t meant to be. But just because somebody is dedicated to watching their carbon footprint, certainly should not limit them from having fun, and this is what the Tesla Roadster is all about. An electric car may one day hold a lot of advantages over the gas engine, and when it does, many of the Boxster fans will probably be praising it from behind the drivers seat. By then, Porsche will have several of their own electric models in production.
But, with that said, the electric sport car is still a toy for the rich ($128,500), whereas the Boxster is at least within attainability ($61,200). Let’s lay out a few of the important choosing points for each sports car.
The Porsche Boxster weighs in a little heavier than the Tesla at 2811 pounds. Its 3.4-liter flat-six may have a bit more punch, generating 320 horsepower, but falls a little short on available torque, coming in at 273 lb-ft at 4750 rpm. Going along with the saying, horsepower sells cars, torque wins races, the Boxster is by far the more sought after vehicle, but if you pit these two on a black top in a straight line, the Tesla will smoke the Boxster from 0-60. The Tesla tags 60 at around 3.7 seconds, while the Boxster (with launch control) needs over a half second more, at 4.3 seconds.
The Tesla Roadster Sport is surprising light for its chassis full of batteries, it weighs in at only 2778 pounds. The Tesla produces about 288 horsepower and 295 lb-ft or torque. As characteristic of all electric motors, when we talk about 295 lb-ft of torque, that is instantaneous at 0 rpm, unlike the Porsche engine which must wind up to 4750 rpm. This helps explain some of the disparity in 0-60 times, but another part of the equation, is the Tesla’s one gear advantage over the Boxster’s six gears. Six is not always better than one, when you consider the slight loss through shifting. But there is another factor to consider.
While the electric motor has an instantaneous torque curve, and only one gear, it actually begins to lose some of its potential the faster it goes, whereas the Boxster just keeps getting better (thanks to those six gears). While the gears can be a detriment early on for the Porsche, at the later stage of the game, it becomes an advantage. From 0-90, the Boxster catches up to the Tesla at 8.5 seconds. During the next 10 mph, it almost leaves the Tesla behind a full second at 10.3 seconds (Tesla trails at 11.5 seconds).
So what can we conclude about these two brute forces of nature?
You can be mean… and have your green too!