2013 Porsche Boxster Review

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Although the 911 remains the most iconic sports car in Porsche’s lineup, the Boxster is popular due to its title as Porsche’s most affordable sports car. In the 1990s, Porsche experienced financial trouble as its 911 was too expensive, and interest in their cars were waning. The solution was to make an entry level sports car that would slot in below the 911 in terms of performance and price. Using styling cues from old Porsche models and all new engines and technologies, the Boxster debuted in 1997. With a price more attainable than the 911, the Boxster made Porsche relevant. With a mid engine layout, the Boxster provided unparallelled handling brilliance. I got the opportunity to review a 2001 Porsche Boxster S, and I was amazed at its handling and performance. The second generation debuted in 2005, and the Cayman, a coupe version of the Boxster, was introduced. The Boxster was redesigned again in 2012. Having got to drive the 2001, I was interested to see how this 2013 measured up.

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The Boxster has always used styling cues from the 911, and this generation is no exception. This is most apparent in the front with the bug eye headlights and bumper design. The front is noticeably wider than you would expect. The side profile is where things get interesting. The air intake behind the door and the subtle rising beltline towards the rear make for a distinctive silhouette. The rear is dramatically different than previous Boxsters due to different taillights and a spoiler. The spoiler cuts into both of the lights, and I have a hard time debating whether I like this detail or not. The center mounted dual exhausts is a nice touch. The interior shares a similar design with other Porsches meaning the interior feels stoic and there are a lot of buttons present. Regardless, the Boxster is stunning inside and out.

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No doubt about it, this is one of the best handling cars I have driven. The Boxster corners adeptly with virtually no body lean. Thanks to its mid engine layout and excellent tire grip, it stays balanced and its handling gives the sensation of driving a go-kart. Even with the stability control off, the Boxster remains impressively controllable. If the back end gets out of line, all that is needed is a flick of the wheel to bring it back in line. The responsive steering moves with a surgical like precision. It weights up progressively while it is also light enough to make parking a breeze. The only thing wrong with the steering is the feedback. While it is excellent for a car, it’s not as detailed as you expect a Porsche to be. Porsches are known for providing unfiltered steering feel. Now as Porsche made the move from hydraulic to an electric steering setup, some of the feel that I experienced in the 2001 has been lost in this. Surprisingly for a sports car, the ride is comfortable. While there is an underlying firmness, road imperfections are not noticeable and it stays supple on all surfaces. The braking performance is excellent.

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With 265 horsepower, the flat six engine never struggles getting the Boxster up to speed. It feels strong at any speed, but its sweet spot lies in its midrange. Get the revs up to 3,000 and there is a big surge in power. At highway speeds, there is plenty of overtaking power. The PDK automated manual transmission is excellent. It has lightning quick shifts, and it seems well matched to this engine. As great as this transmission is, I would still go for the standard manual transmission and save three grand. Yes, the automatic is faster than the manual, but the latter gives you a better connection between the driver and the car. Fuel economy is good at around 25 mpg overall. A 315 horsepower six cylinder is available.

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With the top down, there is no wind buffeting. With the top up, the cabin stays hushed with little road and wind noise. The engine is refined at low revs, but when you open it up… there is nothing like the sound of a flat six. It lets out an invigorating exhaust note. I cannot tell you how many times I had to resist the urge to floor it just so I could hear it again.
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As soon as I got in the front seat, I noticed how snug the seats are. While I liked that snug feeling, it also means that it may feel confining for some people. The seats themselves are comfortable enough, but I felt that the cushioning was too firm for my taste. There is not enough legroom if you want to spread your legs, and the center console takes up a lot of room. The driving position is good, and all controls are within easy reach of the driver. Speaking of controls, they are not the easiest to learn. The sea of black buttons makes it hard to decipher which button is which, especially if you are in a hurry. The climate controls are laid down on the center console, forcing you to take your eyes off the road. The touchscreen responds quickly, and the climate control system works well. Putting the key in the left side of the steering wheel is a Porsche quirk, but I got used to it. The gauges are generally easy to read, but the speedometer is smaller than I would like. Fortunately, there is a digital readout of your speed, but direct sunlight washes the gauges out. The cabin features flawless execution and quality. All the surfaces are nicely padded, and the steering wheel feels lovely to hold. Visibility with the top up is problematic due to the small window. There is not much cabin storage, but the two trunks in front and back make up for it.
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Just like any other car fanatics, I love Porsches. True fact: I pronounce Porsche correctly: “Por-sha”. Despite my love for Porsches, I had a hard time writing about this car, but not because it is a bad car. On the contrary, it is one of the finest sports cars on sale today. Maybe it is because of the 2001 Porsche Boxster that I reviewed that I had high expectations for this Porsche. It handles exceptionally well, but it does not have that zest that makes a car so special. Maybe it is because of the automatic transmission or the steering feel or my peculiar tastes with cars, I don’t know. Rather, it feels like it was engineered to be as good as something, not as good as it can be. I feel bad for saying this, but I prefer the 2001. Don’t get me wrong; this Boxster is an impeccable driving machine. It is just not for me.
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3 thoughts on “2013 Porsche Boxster Review

  1. mr.car_geek says:

    I love the photography! 🙂

  2. […] I just love when the car is all black 🙂  Photo of Porsche Boxter by: RNR Automotive Blog […]

  3. Great review, I absolutely loved the photography! I thought the seats were a little on the firm side as well. Other than that, it was a joy to drive.

    Hopefully, I can get behind the wheel of a 986 Boxster one day so I can see what you’re talking about. Aside from the 981, I’ve only driven a 987.

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