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All-new for 2013, the Porsche Boxster is more capable on track and off, and more refined inside and out--in fact, it may just be the best of the compact luxury roadster crop.
The entirely new chassis is stiffer and lighter, and it's wrapped in brand-new bodywork that lifts the Boxster from its cute-but-mild past into a more aggressive, but still sophisticated role as the sub-911 convertible sports car in Porsche's range. Inside, the cabin is much more highly evolved, with better materials, 911-esque design cues, and reduced--though still present--cabin noise.
Its performance matches the looks. Whether choosing the 2.7-liter base Boxster or the 3.4-liter Boxster S, the engines are quick to rev and potent--both torque and power are readily available. The 3.4-liter engine in particular shines, with an aggressive bark at full throttle that lets you know the 315 horses inside have been loosed for full enjoyment. Accelerating to 60 mph in just 4.8 seconds and on to 178 mph top speed, the Boxster S isn't far off a few-years-old 911--though it's priced from just $60,900 brand new. The 265-horsepower base model starts at $49,500 and still manages to get to 60 mph in just 5.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 164 mph. A choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed PDK dual-clutch paddle-shift automatic transmission is available in either model.
But it's not all power and straight-line acceleration that define the Boxster; if anything, it's the poise with which the Boxster attacks the curves that is it s defining element. While the new electric power steering of the 2013 Boxster yields a different feel from past Boxsters, the overall level of communication, weight, and response in the driver's hands is still an exemplar for the class.
Ride and comfort around town are very good, too, especially when equipped with the adjustable suspension, which offers Comfort, Sport, and Sport Plus modes for progressively more aggressive driving. Dialed back, cruising for pleasure instead of speed, the Boxster is surprisingly sedate, top up or down. The seats are very comfortable and the driving position offers good visibility for a low-slung sports car. The PDK transmission gives up nothing to the manual in terms of performance, while making city traffic as easy as with an automatic. The stop-start feature saves gas, but can be a bit rough on restart--though most owners will quickly get used to the sensation. For those that don't, however, the auto stop-start feature can be disabled.
One highlight of the 2013 Boxster is that it sticks with a soft top while the competition has gone to retractable hard tops. Unlike the others, the Porsche's top can be opened or closed at speeds just over 30 mph, and it takes no space in the trunk.
The 2013 Porsche Boxster hasn't yet been crash tested by the NHTSA or the IIHS, but it does offer an excellent set of brakes; Porsche Stability Management (PSM) traction/stability control; rollover protection; and front, thorax, and side impact airbags.
In terms of equipment, the 2013 Boxster offers more standard equipment than before despite weighing slightly less, including in base spec: driver and passenger electric backrest adjustment; rain-sensing wipers; heated exterior mirrors; ambient lighting; power-operated soft top roof; cruise control; Bluetooth hands-free phone integration; and much more. Optional extras include a Bose surround sound system; a 7-inch touchscreen navigation system and infotainment center; a range of sport steering wheels and seats; leather interior upgrade package; and a range of other convenience upgrades.
- Excellent handling
- Fresh, edgy styling
- Brisk acceleration
- Total cover for man-machine bromance
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- Can be pricey in Boxster S guise
- Wind and engine noise can be intrusive at times
- Fiddly sound-system controls