In the forty-something-thousand dollar price range, there were two clear choices for winners. If you need a back seat and trunk, you buy the 3-series. If you don't, you buy a Boxster.
Not that the Boxster is impractical - it may be small, but it has two trunks. It's as easy to drive as an economy car, but can keep up with some supercars in the twisties. It shares most of its front structure and interior with the 911 - and that's hardly a bad thing.
The original Boxster undeservedly earned a reputation as a chick car, and that is even less true now. The base 245-horsepower, 3.2-liter flat-six isn't lightning fast, but it sings the 911's song and, combined with legendary Porsche handling and brakes, easily outpaces other sports cars.
The Boxster S adds 200cc of displacement, resulting in 295 horsepower - only a couple less than a 911 of a few years ago. It's also about $10,000 more expensive than the base Boxster's $45,600, but either choice is a small price to pay to put a Porsche key in your pocket.