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One of the best sports cars available–at any price–the Porsche Boxster is well-rounded, both quick and technologically impressive, with good manners and a truly rewarding driving experience. Since it’s latest redesign, the Boxster remarkably attractive, too.
Completely revised for last year, the Porsche Boxster continues into the new model year unchanged, aside from a pair of new paint colors: Rhodium Silver Metallic replaces Platinum Silver Metallic, and Sapphire Blue Metallic replaces Aqua Blue Metallic.
A lack of changes to the still-new Boxster is a good thing in our books: the chassis is lighter than the last-generation car, and stiffer, too. The result is a car that looks fantastic and drives even better.
Two mid-mounted engines are available in the Boxster, matching the two primary trim lines: Boxster and Boxster S. The base Boxster gets a 2.7-liter flat six-cylinder engine rated at 265 horsepower. Capable of 0-60 mph runs in just 5.5 seconds and a top speed of 164 mph, even the entry-level Boxster is quick. The Boxster S adds 50 hp for a total of 315 hp from its 3.4-liter flat six-cylinder engine. The extra power cuts acceleration to 60 mph to just 4.8 seconds elapsed and enables a top speed of 178 mph.
Both models come standard with a six-speed manual transmission, but a dual-clutch seven-speed PDK paddle-shifted automatic is also available. Add in the Sport Chrono package, which includes launch control, advanced racing-inspired shift logic for PDK models, and dynamic transmission mounts, and you have the most inspired version of the Boxster–as well as the one that rips off the quickest claimed 0-60 mph times.
Electric power steering has been a hot topic amongst enthusiasts, with early versions from some carmakers providing synthetic, unnatural feedback–if they provided any at all. Fortunately, the Boxster does not suffer for its EPS system. In fact, if you didn’t know it was electric, you might not notice. It’s not the same as it used to be, but it’s still very communicative and intuitive.
The same could be said of the Boxster’s handling; it’s a well-balanced, easy-to-drive-fast roadster. It’s also incredibly fun to drive, with the motor singing just behind the seats (but not unbearably so when just cruising), the wind blowing through the cabin, and a long, winding road laid out before you. Ride and comfort are also very good, especially in models equipped with the adjustable suspension. A set of bquipped with the adjustable suspension. A set of buttons in the center console provide sportier settings on top of the standard mode, which modify ride quality (and several other parameters) to suit the driver’s mood.
Seating space is good for the two occupants the Boxster holds, with plenty of leg, shoulder, and head room even for a six-foot-plus frame. When the driver isn’t pushing the limits, the Boxster is actually quite reserved, cruising smoothly and quietly, just as a daily driver should. Storage space in the cabin is rather limited, thanks to the mid-engine configuration, but the trunk area holds small to medium-sized bags. The convertible top (still a soft top, unlike much of the competition) can raise or lower at speeds up to 30 mph, and takes no space away from any cargo area.
Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have crash tested the Porsche Boxster, which is common for cars on the more expensive, less common end of the spectrum. Despite the lack of crash tests, the Boxster’s standard ABS, advanced Porsche Stability Management stability and traction control, rollover protection, and full suite of front, thorax, and side airbags should comfort safety-conscious buyers.
For the sports car aficionado with a taste for the finer, higher-tech things in life, the Boxster is a smorgasbord of standard equipment and available options. All Boxsters get driver and passenger electric-adjust seats; rain-sensing wipers; heated exterior mirrors; ambient lighting; cruise control; Bluetooth hands-free phone integration; a power-folding soft top; and more. Available extras include: a Bose surround sound audio system; a 7-inch touchscreen navigation system with infotainment; a range of available custom interior and seating packages; and many other a la carte technology and convenience upgrades.
On the green front, the Porsche Boxster scores 20 mpg city, 30 mpg highway, and 24 mpg combined when equipped with the manual transmission; with the PDK those figures rise to 22 mpg city, 32 mpg highway, and 26 mpg combined. The more powerful Boxster S rates 20 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, and 23 mpg combined with the manual; the PDK earns the Boxster S ratings of 21 mpg city, 30 mpg highway, and 24 mpg combined.
The Porsche Boxster was all-new last year, and carries forward into 2014 visually unchanged, aside from two new paint colors, Rhodium Silver Metallic and Sapphire Blue Metallic, which replace last year’s Platinum Silver Metallic and Aqua Blue Metallic.
Previous Boxsters have worn smooth, rounded shapes that spoke as much of femininity as they did sportiness. The new Boxster changes that, with crisper lines and a more gender-balanced style that keeps previous Boxster themes, but freshens them for today.
The front and sides of the car are the areas of the most dramatic visual changes, with more aggression and fortitude expressed in the sharp angles and large (functional) air scoops.
Inside the Boxster’s cabin, materials and layout are generally excellent, with leather-wrapped surfaces, quality switchgear, and a clean, linear control set that makes perfect sense–once you figure out what all of the buttons do.