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Porsche Boxster S v Toyota MR2 Mk3 v Lotus Elise S2 – car pictures of the week

We test three affordable mid-engined icons in the latest issue of evo – here are some of our favourite shots

Is there a greater joy than driving a purpose-built mid-engined sports car? In issue 320 of evo, we gathered a group of mid-engined icons – from the likes of the Toyota MR2 all the way up to McLaren’s 650S – to discover what kind of sports car experience you can get your hands on for as little as £2000. 

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As it turns out, quite a good one. The first part of the test pits three affordable roadsters – Porsche’s 987-generation Boxster S, Lotus Elise S2 and the aforementioned Toyota – against each other to find out which is most rewarding to own within a reasonable budget. You can pick up a copy of issue 320 in-store or online via the evo shop to read the full feature. 

For many, the Boxster is the benchmark affordable sports car – and for good reason. Its engine and chassis still feel in perfect harmony two decades on from launch, and it’s hard to deny the spine-tingling aural thrills of its flat-six. It’s also a car you can happily use every day, as attested by Boxster owner Ben Cook who offered his car for the test. ‘With two boots, it’s probably more practical than a 911,’ he said. ‘You can get big suitcases in the front, and I transported a Christmas tree with the roof down at Christmas.’ 

Neither the Toyota or Lotus score as highly on the practicality front, but they have the potential to offer even greater thrills from behind the wheel. The lean, pure MR2 is a staggering 395kg lighter than the Porsche, but the Elise is a true featherweight, coming in at just 860kg. 

‘There’s subtle flex in the Boxster’s open-bodied structure (a similar sensation to the MR2, in fact), and the ride is tougher than normal on this car’s optional larger wheels (19 inches to the standard 18s) but still perfectly tolerable,’ said Deputy Editor James Taylor. 

‘If you were going to do a long journey in one of these cars, it’s the Porsche you’d grab the keys to. And even if it’s less immersive than the Elise and less effervescent than the MR2, it really does handle beautifully.’

Read the full verdict by picking up your copy of evo 320 in-store or online.

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