2013 Porsche Boxster Road Test Review

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Known by Porsche's internal model designation as type 981, the heavily revised second generation Boxster was introduced at the 2012 Geneva Auto Show. Currently offered in two models, Boxster and Boxster S, the 2013 car is improved in every way over the 2012 type 987 models it replaced. The 981 is more powerful, has a longer wheelbase, a wider track, and runs larger wheels than its 987 predecessor-yet it is also lighter.

The 2013 Boxster is equipped with a mid-mounted 2.7-litre horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine capable of producing 265 horsepower. The 2013 Boxster S uses a 315-horsepower 3.4-litre flat six. Remarkably, the base engine in the 981 is smaller in displacement than the outgoing 987's, yet it makes 10 more horsepower. The torque rating, however, is down by seven ft-lbs at 206.

Fuel economy is rated at 10.1 L/100km in the city with the six-speed manual transmission, 6.7 on the highway, and 8.6 combined. With the optional seven-speed dual-clutch sequential manual PDK gearbox the Boxster returns 9.4 in the city, 6.2 on the highway and 7.9 combined.

The gracefully flowing design, influenced by the Carrera GT supercar from 2004, builds upon the look of the original Boxster, and then proceeds to render it effete. Where the 987 looked softly feminine, the 981 is harder and more masculine.

While there is no question the new Boxster is a sports car; few others can match the mid-engine Porsche as a long-distance touring car. The cozy, yet spacious passenger compartment provides outstanding comfort and more than adequate storage. The Boxster also has two trunks.

The placement of the steering wheel and shifter in relation to the seating position are dead solid perfect. The seats are outstanding both in their comfort and their supportiveness. In fact, if the seats were parents, their kids would grow up to be strong, healthy and well adjusted. Yeah, they are that supportive.

The centre console treatment inherited from the Panamera places comfort and convenience controls nicely within reach. The dash features a large centre mounted tachometer, flanked on both sides by supplemental gauge housings. There's a 4.8-inch monitor in the right one, providing vehicle status, audio, telephone, navigation, trip computer, and tire pressure information.

The optional Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system provides 3D mapping, plus city and terrain modeling in addition to a superimposed satellite map. The PCM also houses an optical disc drive capable of DVD video and audio playback. Satellite radio, USB inputs, and Bluetooth audio streaming are also supported-and amplified through a Bose surround audio system.

The moment you key the Boxster's engine to life and feel its smoothly peripatetic rhythm burbling away behind you, you'll know you're in for a special driving event. Blip the throttle, the engine winds quickly and fluidly.

The Porsche's agility-thanks in part to its mid-engine, rear-drive powertrain-endows with it a preternatural willingness to change directions. The car's reflexes are positively athletic. While a good mid-engined car handles better than anything else, the 2013 Boxster handles better than any other mid-engined car I've driven.

Beyond the handling though, the way the Boxster feels is absolutely magical. It's like the Porsche glides over the pavement. Yes, you feel impact inputs from surface irregularities, but they don't upset the equilibrium of the car. The Boxster simply absorbs them, informs you of their existence, and continues unperturbed along your chosen path.

The new electromechanical steering is both accurate and lively. You'll get exactly what you ask for and feel the road too. Similarly, the brakes engage right at the top of the pedal's range of travel and the harder you press the more they bite. You can absolutely use the Boxster's brake pedal like a dial, gradually increasing the effect of the brakes at whatever rate you desire.

The action of the six-speed manual gearbox feels polished and well lubricated, yet the gates are crisply defined and the effort required to move from gear to gear is all but imperceptible. Further, clutch take-up is creamily linear.

Racing along a twisting mountain road in the 2013 Porsche Boxster is an experience more akin to riding a magic carpet than driving a car. It tracks like a slot car and it's so smooth, you're tempted to get out and look to see if the car is really touching the ground.
It really is that good.

If you love to drive, you'll definitely want to own at least one Boxster before fossil fuels have been either completely consumed or outlawed.

The 2013 Porsche Boxster starts at $58,585 including destination, whereas a Boxster S can be had for $71,985.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Convertible, Roadster, Porsche, 2013, Boxster, Boxster S, $50,000 - $74,999,

Organizations: Porsche

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