2013 Porsche Boxster Road Test Review
by Martha Hindes
2013 Sexy Car Buyer's Guide - Top 10 Most Sex Appeal
One of our favorite Porsche stories involves the guys over at Ford Motor Co. They, as the story goes, decided to tune the exhaust of one of their little compact cars (probably an Escort at the time) and make it sound like a Porsche. Then they gave it to a family to test it out. Apparently it didn't last long, after the driver; infatuated with the delicious roar it exuded drove it the way one would expect a Porsche to be driven. But boy, was it a blast in the process. Lesson taken. If you're going to haul like the crown jewels of sports cars, make sure that's what you're driving – like the 2013 Porsche Boxster S, top down, carving its way along a whiplash road and owning every inch of it.
We've never failed to find a Boxster that didn't grab us with the same kind of tenacious grip, sucking us into its spellbinding aura of power, fun and delicious appeal. Whether it’s the sultry lines of the roadster, top down or up, or the decadent roar in its wake, or the amazing surge with a tap on the accelerator, or all of that combined, we're hooked.
This new generation rear-drive Boxster takes off from the heady level it lived at earlier, and refines it even more. First there was the diet. The Boxster has lost weight this go round, thanks in part to a body of steel and aluminum. But it's also stretched with a longer wheelbase, wider track and larger wheels for superior handling over its predecessor (if that seems possible).
Like Hollywood's naughty Lindsay Lohan cutting down on the consumption of liquids, the Boxster has done the same with premium gasoline. Fuel consumption is improved by about 15 percent in this new generation version of the Teutonic classic.
Two flat six cylinder boxer engine configurations power this little dynamo. (One can think of two boxers sparring in a sporting ring, with fists punching back and forth, for a mid-mounted engine with particularly aggressive power for its size.) The first 2.7-liter for the entry level Boxster (if anything from Porsche can be considered entry level), churns out 265 horsepower and 206.5 lb.-ft. of torque, while the top line Boxster S, with a 3.4-liter version, lets 315 horses out of the stable and generates 266 lb.-ft. of torque.
Purists get a six speed manual with both. Converts to automatic rack up a seven-speed PDK (an abbreviation for some unpronounceable German word) that Porsche says "allows faster sprints and lower fuel consumption." It instinctively recognizes when the driver wants a kick. For those who drive by instinct and revs, the redline here is 7,800. The S version gets 19-inch wheels with bright red brake calipers peeking out of the 10-spoke sport wheels like some satanic siren. They are one inch larger than the standard Boxster wheels. For the truly decadent, there are optional 20s available.
The automatic gets better fuel economy numbers than the manual it turns out, earning 22 city/32 highway and 26 combined in the Boxster, losing 1 city and 2 each highway and combine in the S. The best the manual can do is 20/30/24 in the standard Boxster. When not accelerating, Porsche has added what it calls "coasting" with engine idling to add to mileage. Of course all those numbers disappear on the track circuit, where one can push the manual to about 173 mph in the S. But that doesn't happen without an energy drink infusion. Hey, if you want to play you have to expect to pay something for the privilege.
As expected, the new Boxster retains a slightly bug-eyed appearance, with a redesigned, rounded edged tush with centered exhaust tips that signals this is the one and only. The deep side scoops are for mid-engine air flow. The total impact is mesmerizing.
Inside, the no-nonsense placement of controls, other than gauges in front of the three-spoke wheel, are neatly arranged in the center stack. In the "would you believe" category, it even has a sport button that allows for a toggle between comfort (with better fuel economy) and sport mode when stop/start and coasting functions are disabled.
With all those energy conserving add-ons, we'd expect some reflection in pricing. But listed in 2014 dollars, the standard Boxster clocks in at $50,400 while the Boxster S is $62,100. Those are just a shade above 2013's numbers. And if someone is doing advance planning to determine if a Boxster is in next year's budget, Porsche has put a little bottom line reality help on the horizon.