Outside the Box

By David Goodspeed / dgoodspeed@blitzweekly.com

Lighter, faster, more agile, and, as if it really matters, more fuel-efficient.

That is how Porsche describes its next-generation Boxster convertible sports car.

The Boxster was a hit from the start and since initial launch Porsche has sought to improve on the initial package while not confusing the car with its bread-and-butter 911 line.

The Boxster is a mid-engine two-seater and for 2013 is almost totally madeover. The new design has a longer wheelbase and wider tracks front and rear for better balance. It is surprisingly athletic and this car feels oh-so-good on the road. This is a car that speaks by its actions and is best for folks to skip past all the nitty-gritty and technical details and go right to the test drive.

Sitting still the car looks good. Top up or down, Boxster presents an attractive profile. The new front fascia is clearly Porsche and sidelines instill a sense of track heritage. At the rear is the signature single oval exhaust outlet under dead center with the truck lip blending into a hidden speed-activated rear spoiler.

For 2013 Porsche engineers have done away with a separate convertible compartment lid thus shaving a few pounds. As the vehicle is mid-engined there is cargo space fore and aft, although consumers get a little cheated at not being able to gaze upon the engine.

Speaking of the powerplant, Boxster arrives with a 2.7-liter boxer engine generating 265hp to the rear wheels. The more spirited Boxster S offers 315 ponies from a 3.4-liter flat six. Six-speed manual gearboxes are available for traditionalists but we enjoyed the new seven-speed Porshe-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe transmission (PDK for short). More than a mouthful for sure, but again, actions are louder than words.

Porsche also includes a few technical goodies in the Boxster including Sport Chrono Package, Porsche Torque Vectoring with mechanical rear axle differential lock, Porsche Active Suspension Management, dynamic engine suspension, electro-mechanical power steering, Porsche Stability Management, and some gorgeous optional 20-inch alloy wheels with sport rubber at each corner (OK, the last one is not “technical” but they look so good on this car).

The driving systems all work together in glorious harmony in the new Boxster to the point where one really doesn’t need to question “why” but merely say “thank you.” For comparison’s sake, the new car was able to shave 12 seconds off the previous model’s time around the legendary Nurburgring-Nordschleife track.

The redesign did not end with the outside of the 2013 car. Designers totally worked over the interior as well, improving functionality, ergonomics, and comfort. Three seat packages – sport seats, sport seats plus, and adaptive sports seats plus – offer high levels of support and comfort for both road and track and offer heating and now ventilation for enhanced comfort.

A new seven-inch display screen provides navigation and multimedia information while three levels of sound system provide audio entertainment. Out tester arrived with the top-of-the-line Bose surround sound system and even with the top down and exhaust and engine screaming we enjoyed our favorite tunes.

Pricing begins at $49,500 with our loaded tester arriving at $78,125. Fuel economy is rated at 22 mpg city and 32 mpg highway.

The 2013 Porsche Boxster is quite a car and were I going through a mid-life crisis as I enter my fifth decade it would be on my short list. The car works and works well, maybe not so much for carpooling duties or runs to the home improvement store, but as a representative of pure driving pleasure it would serve as ambassador with honor.

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