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The Porsche Boxster is a two-door, two-seat luxury sports roadster than emphasizes performance and style. As the most affordable Porsche sports car, it sits next to the fixed-roof Cayman and under the flagship 911 in the Porsche range. It’s also top of class against the Audi TT, Mercedes SLK, and the BMW Z4.
All-new for 2013, the Boxster has competed with a range of vehicles during its decade and a half on the market, including the Audi TT, BMW Z4, and Nissan 370Z Roadster. Ranging in price from about $50,000 to more than $70,000 for a loaded Boxster, the roadster sits at the upper end of its price category.
The Boxster first hit the market in 1996. From its inception, it was praised for its performance prowess, but criticized for its noisy cabin. The horizontally-opposed six-cylinder engine has grown over the lifespan of the car from 2.5-liters at its introduction, to 2.7-liters in the base and 3.2-liters in the S models by the end of the first generation, on to 2.9-liters and 3.4-liters for the second-gen Boxster, and now 2.7-liters and 3.4-liters for the brand-new third generation. Power has risen accordingly, from the introductory car’s 201 horsepower output to the current top-of-the-line model’s 315 horsepower. Over the first two generations, several special-edition models were offered, though the basic two-seat, rag-top layout has remained undisturbed until the production of the Boxster Spyder in 2010. As yet, Porsche has not launched any special editions of the third generation Boxster.
The second-generation Porsche Boxster range was divided into three models, the Boxster, Boxster S and Boxster Spyder. The entry-level Porsche Boxster used a 2.9-liter engine and 255-horsepower output while the upgrade to the Boxster S brought a 3.4-liter engine rated at 310 horsepower. The low-volume Boxster Spyder model had the same displacement as the Boxster S, but with another 10 horsepower. All models were available with either a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed dual-clutch PDK transmission.
While the standard Porsche Boxster and Boxster S were available with all the luxuries you’d expect from a modern Porsche, including electric seats, power accessories, leather interior and high-tech features like ParkAssist, the Boxster Spyder did without some of the luxuries to present a more focused, lightweight package for the true enthusiast.
For the 2013 model, a new generation of the Boxster, the 981, brings a new chassis, more features, and revised engines. The base Boxster uses a smaller 2.7-liter engine that generates 10 more horsepower than the previous Boxster, scoring 265 hp. The Boxster S also gets a small power bump, rating 315 horsepower for 2013. The new chassis is both lighter and stiffer, but more standard equipment brings the total weight up to within about five pounds of the previous model. Inside, the 2013 Boxster is much more refined and modern-looking, its design echoing that of the 2012 911 and the Panamera.
As always with the Boxster, handling and performance is at the forefront, and it excels at tackling the curves, but the 2013 Boxster is also quieter and more comfortable when the pace is less frenetic. The well-appointed interior, comfortable seats, and ample storage space front and rear (the soft top doesn’t impinge on trunk space), plus a power soft-top that can open or close at speeds up to and slightly beyond 30 mph, all combine to make the newest Boxster the best yet. Porsche has set a 7:58 lap time of the Nürburgring Nordschleife with the new Boxster.
In fact, the 2013 Porsche Boxster is so refined, capable, and enjoyable to drive, it won Motor Authority’s Best Car To Buy 2013 award.