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2006 All-Star: Porsche Boxster

Charlie Mageephotographers

We wanted to paint the Boxster white, add angel wings, Photoshop some puffy white clouds around it, and have it flying at warp speed through the pearly gates of heaven, a twisty snake of pavement running into infinity in front of it. Get it? Sports-car heaven. That's what the Boxster is, what it was, and what it ever will be if Porsche keeps it on the track it's been on since its birth in 1997.

The Boxster was absolutely perfect at that moment in time, so perfect we named it our 1998 Automobile of the Year. Looking back, the 2.5-liter, horizontally opposed six wasn't all that powerful, a mere 201 hp with 181 lb-ft of torque. But the engine was where the sports car gods intended all engines to be: right in the middle of the car. Weighing a tick over 2800 pounds didn't hurt. It was pure Porsche--beautifully weighted controls, exceptional poise on the road, killer brakes.

The years have been more than kind to the Boxster. A 250-hp S model with a six-speed manual earned the Boxster an All-Star in 2000. We gave it an All-Star again in 2002, calling it a "quality driver's car with no peer." It won again in 2003 and 2004, and in its second iteration, we still believe that if you could have only one sports car, the Boxster might be the car you could live with until the end of time. It has gained a little weight over the years (3100 pounds now), but horsepower has improved in great measure--from 201 hp to 236 hp in the base car--and nearly a second has been shaved from its 0-to-60-mph time. And still the EPA city rating remains the same as always, 19 mpg. The Boxster S is now 276 hp, up from 250 hp. Driving one is never routine, even at 120 E. Liberty. Its ideal size, perfect power-to-weight ratio, exceptional poise, generous cargo space front and rear, and beatific personality are only the beginning of a list of attributes that add up to sheer sports-car heaven here on earth. The gods shine on us. How could we not give the Boxster an All-Star?