2013 Porsche Boxster S - Editor's Notebook
I almost didn't come to work today. It took every bit of my self-restraint to steer the Boxster toward the office parking lot and not anywhere, everywhere else. I count the outgoing Boxster among my very favorite-driving cars of all time, and the brand-new 2013 model seems every bit as good, if not better. (I will definitely need more wheel time to decide that. OK, boss?)
I think the biggest improvement over the old car is the new model's styling. I love the huge intake scoops, the taillights that blend into the spoiler, and the bolder front lights. The only things I found a bit off-putting about this test car were the blue interior (which clashes a bit with the black buttons on the center stack) and the clutch (which seemed too heavy and long upon first impression but became perfectly familiar after a few gearchanges). Other than that, I just can't get enough of the Boxster's sublime steering, great gearbox, spectacular soundtrack, not to mention its glovelike fit and remarkable usability. This car retains its spot in the front row of my dream garage.
I mean ... I think I'm going to be running quite late this morning, boss.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
My wife and I took the Boxster S down to Ohio for a friend's party, and in the process turned heads, dropped jaws, and earned several dozen thumbs-ups. I'm sure these results were amplified by the shock of seeing a sexy silver Porsche race through the isolated back corners of farm country, but I'm also sure the Boxster's new sheetmetal has something to do with it. Simply put, the car looks stunning -- I always liked the past two iterations of the car, but this latest generation makes them both look frumpy. This new car exudes a matured elegance, but contains a few exotic hints. When I glance at the car from afar I can't help but see a miniaturized 918 Spyder. If looks alone don't turn heads, the sound -- an intoxicating, guttural growl that's pure horizontally opposed Porsche six - certainly will.
If only the car felt as exotic. I'm not going to suggest that the latest Boxster isn't fast, isn't fun, or isn't engaging. It just isn't as much so as the previous car (well, perhaps not the fast part; packing 311 hp into a lighter car does make it quicker). The new Boxster is plenty fun, and just as usable as past iterations (with its two trunks), but it just doesn't have the same sparkle when you push it hard in corners. Perhaps it's just too capable, as it doesn't seem to communicate, challenge, or reward the driver for exercising its full ability. Is it fault of the electric power steering assist? I'm not sure that's entirely to blame, although I do miss the old power steering rack at times, especially how it communicated weight transfer.
Some of my colleagues have told me this spoils the car, but that's hardly the case in my book. I still find this to be one of the best small German roadsters on the market (I'd handily take one over the Z4 or TTS), and one of the best Porsches money can buy, if practicality and purchase price are thrown into the mix. Like Rusty, I'm already sweeping out a corner of my garage and crunching numbers in the far-off hope I can one day call one my own.
Evan McCausland, Associate Web Editor
I have a friend who owns a five- or six-year-old Boxster. He was asking me recently if I'd driven the new one and what I thought about it. At the time, I hadn't yet been in the 2013 Boxster, but I told him that the reviews that came in were quite good, although there were some complaints about the electric power steering system. I've now driven the new Boxster, and I'd say that for most people, the new Boxster is even better than the old car. Its styling has been refined, there's a touch more room inside, it's got a little more power, and it's still a lot of fun to drive. I would venture to say that most people wouldn't notice the difference in the steering during everyday driving. It might become apparent on a twisty road at high speed or on a racetrack, but during the twenty-four hours I spent with the car, I had no complaints. One thing I really appreciated was the convertible mechanism. The Boxster must have one of the fastest-opening tops on the market -- I pressed the button to lower the top, and it was stowed away almost before I knew it. Porsche says it takes nine seconds, but it seemed even faster.
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor
I think it's worth noting the Boxsters I've driven of late have been of the razor sharp Spyder variety. That probably does skew my perspective a bit regarding this less wild variant of the new model. Like Evan, I find it just a tad softer and less engaging. Gripping the steering wheel used to be an amazing, perspective-altering experience as minute details of the road surface traveled to your fingertips. Now that sensation is mostly gone. There's still plenty to draw you in, however, including the best manual shifter I've ever used and a high-strung flat-six that responds to inputs from your right foot with such immediacy that the 315-hp Boxster feels quicker in the real world than a 545-hp Nissan GT-R. The Boxster's new interior better suits its price tag without sacrificing its focus on the driver, which is to say the cupholders are still useless.
As Amy notes, most Boxster buyers won't quibble over the degree to which the steering wheel rim vibrates in their hands. They'll be rewarded with a brilliant, well-rounded sports car that's every bit as comfortable as most luxury cars. For those who mourn the old Boxster, well, a used one can be had for less than $10,000.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor
MSRP (with destination): $61,850
PRICE AS TESTED: $85,410
3.4-liter DOHC flat-six
Horsepower: 315 hp @ 6700 rpm
Torque: 266 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm
WHEELS AND TIRES:
20-inch aluminum wheels
235/35YR-20 Pirelli P Zero front tires
265/35YR-20 Pirelli P Zero rear tires
FUEL ECONOMY (city/highway/combined):
Cargo (front/rear): 5.3/4.6 cu ft
Platinum Silver metallic/Yachting Blue
Dry sump engine lubrication system
High-performance exhaust manifolds
Automatic brake differential
4-piston brake calipers
19-inch aluminum wheels
6-speed manual transmission w/dual-mass flywheel
Stainless steel exhaust system
Tilt-and-telescopic steering column
Power convertible top
Speed-activated rear spoiler
Auxiliary audio jack
Multifunction trip computer
7-speaker audio system
OPTIONS ON THIS VEHICLE:
Platinum Silver metallic paint- $710
Yachting Blue leather interior- $2025
Infotainment package w/Bose sound system- $3860
Porsche Communication Management
Bose surround sound audio system
SiriusXM satellite radio w/3-month subscription
Premium package w/adaptive sport seats- $5265
Automatically dimming mirrors
Automatic dual-zone climate control
Bi-xenon headlights w/Porsche Dynamic Light System
Porsche Torque Vectoring Control- $1320
Porsche Active Suspension Management- $1790
Heated steering wheel- $270
20-inch Carrera S wheels- $1560
Wheels painted in black- $1425
Ventilated seats- $730
Light design package- $340
Front and rear parking assist- $860
Sport Chrono package- $1850
Power steering plus- $270
Multifunction steering wheel- $615
6-disc CD/DVD changer- $670
KEY OPTIONS NOT ON THIS VEHICLE:
Ceramic composite brakes- $7400
Sport exhaust system- $2825
Electronic logbook- $570
Compared to the Boxster, the S has 50 more hp and 59.5 lb-ft more torque. It will also, according to Porsche, go from 0 to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds, which is 0.7 second quicker than a standard Boxster.