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2004 All-Star Sports Car: Porsche Boxster

The two-seat roadster segment is based largely on impulse and emotion. New roadsters sell well for a few years until they are deemed passe by the mix of enthusiasts and poseurs who consume them. In this constantly evolving segment, the Boxster is so immediately perfect and timeless that only slight tweaks are necessary to keep it on top. Porsche knows when to change and, more important, when change is unnecessary. A true Porsche, the Boxster feels crafted instead of merely built. It is beautiful to behold, still or in motion, and even better when you are the one putting it in gear. Boxsters speak so clearly through the controls that driving becomes an existential quandary of human getting lost in machine, in the snarl of the flat-six and the gentle pulsing of the leather-wrapped steering wheel. Cynics will claim that there are less expensive sports cars that duplicate, or even surpass, a Boxster's quantifiable abilities, but none has its noble grace, which is rarely found in machines at any price. Mesmerizing and involving, the Boxster is a living being in a segment full of automatons.