An all-new Boxster is right around the corner, likely due sometime in 2012. Despite--or maybe even because of--that fact, we wouldn't overlook the current car. The Boxster, nearly fifteen years since its debut, remains an exquisite, focused driving machine. The most focused Boxster of them all, the Spyder, puts out 320 hp and keeps its weight below 3000 pounds--a feat for modern cars--by dispensing with such frivolities as a power-operated top, air-conditioning, and, um, inner door handles (there are fabric straps instead). Driving the Spyder is marvelous, to say the least. It essentially educates the palette for how steering should feel, how a suspension should respond, and how an engine should howl. Of course, the cheaper, more livable, less-decal-laden Boxster and Boxster S are not far off in terms of perfection. There are a few nits we can pick. The steering-wheel shift buttons for the optional seven-speed automatic, for instance, are uninvolving and counterintuitive. You can get shift paddles, but it will cost you. Indeed, some will balk at the lack of standard equipment--for instance, power seats--on a car that starts at nearly $50,000. For that price, though, the Boxster offers a better driving experience than do cars costing four times as much.
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