2013 Porsche Boxster HD Video Review
There are cars that connect so well with a driver’s synapses that auto writers have to pause, reflect, study the sterile checklist, review it again, and then think twice about gushing like a little schoolgirl. The 2013 Porsche Boxster is just that. Porsche tends to do things the right way so let’s just cut right to it- yes, Boxster is a great car. This is the kind of machine that lures a guy out of bed very early on the weekend, just to drive without traffic on a winding country road.
This is pretty much all you need to know. Go ahead, pour over specs and compare them to other high performance roadsters such as Nissan’s 370Z and the Chevy Corvette. That won’t tell you what you need to know. There are no engineering metrics to measure soul. If you have 50 grand for the base model (73 grand as tested) and need to carry just one passenger, put the 2013 Porsche Boxter on your short list. It’s just that simple.
You Probably Want to Know More, Huh?
Okay then, for 2013 the chassis and body are new. It’s an inch and half wider, the wheelbase is now two and a half inches longer. Overall, length grows only slightly. At 75 pounds lighter, the body’s torsional rigidity is up by forty percent. Hmmm, what’s the German word for impressive?
There’s 10 more horsepower now but a skosh less torque (280 Nm at 4,500-6,500 rpm vs. 290 Nm at 4,400-6,000 rpm for the 2012). Open the rear hatch and you won’t see the premium fuel drinking, 265 horse 6-cylinder. It’s nestled between the seats and a nicely finished cargo area so lay down protection when filling the fluids. Turn the left-mounted ignition and you’ll definitely hear it. Boxster generates a terrific noise that’s great fun to hear from behind. How musical is it? I’ve left the excellent Bose sound system off except to test it. Fun fact- it uses 10 quarts of engine oil (the engine, not the Bose system).
A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic type transmission is available. Known as the PDK (because few can pronounce Doppelkupplungsgetriebe) it is a fabulous piece of work with blink-of-an–eye gear changes. My tester has the crisp six-speed manual with a close proximity to the excellent steering wheel, heated on my tester. I love manuals but knowing what the PDK is like, the automatic is my personal choice.
Boxster is a mid-engine car with a powerplant that lays deep and low for better balance. The pistons fire horizontally rather than the usual vertical orientation found on most engines. This is called a Boxer engine. It’s also a two-seat convertible, AKA roadster. Put the two descriptors together and you get the Boxster name.
You Can Just Call it Thrilling
0-60 happens in five and a half seconds but more than velocity, Boxster is about the total experience. The low center of gravity and mid-engine design give Boxster cat-like moves. Push hard and deep into a corner and it comminutes EXACTLY what’s going on, proof that electric power steering can be done right. It helps that the structure is as solid as an ingot. No squeaks, no rattles, no quivers. This is automotive meth. It is very hard to go back to a family sedan after driving a Boxster. Very, very hard.
Wind management is pretty good, those looking to completely eliminate hair tousling miss the point. It’s a convertible. Bring a hairbrush. The sound and feel of the engine has a gravitas that must be experienced to be understood. It’s mechanical in a refined sort of way. If a Rolex watch had an engine, it would be just like this one. The EPA rates the fuel economy of the manual at 20 city, 30 highway. The seven-speed PDK gets two MPG better.
There’s optional torque vectoring and active suspension, both are on my tester. Extremely capable brakes are standard (12.4” in front, 11.77” in back). Various levels of electronic stability control can be selected by the driver. Order the Sport Chrono package and Porsche throws in active transmission mounts that soften to reduce vibration and increase comfort, or firm up for less drive line flex and better power efficiency.
Active self-aligning steering makes sure that the steering wheel is automatically returned to the straight ahead position. Brake on surfaces with different levels of grip and the steering input is stabilized, making it easier to keep control of the car. Boxster can even save drivers from embarrassment; stall the engine and simply pushing in on the clutch restarts it.
Really, I could go on for pages describing how the stability control, active suspension, toque vectoring, and PDK transmission interact with each other to make you a better driver, but it would be a long, long read. Just know that it works, and it’s fun.
Top Notch Top
Boxster uses cloth rather than a hard top material, allowing for lighter weight, better packaging and a lower center of gravity. It’s insulated and the back glass window is mounted perfectly flush to the high-grade material. With a one step operation, the roof does its thing in less than nine seconds. The new Boxster does without a top cover now for more cargo space.
As expected in a Porsche (and any other car starting at 50 large) the detail, craftsmanship and materials are top grade. It’s a great space to see the world from, complete with the most over-engineered cupholders in the automotive universe. Seats are supportive, comfortable, heated and cooled in this case, plus adjustable in 14 ways. The switchable right gauge in the cluster rocks. It puts useful information in front of the driver including suggested shift points and a g-meter that’s a kick in the pants to play around with.
Boxster’s cabin is tailored for two people with door storage and a pocket down near the passenger’s feet. Not much in the way of cubby holes behind the back seat though. Porsche door releases allow your fingers to just glide in. The parking brake is electric, a power tilt/telescope steering wheel is optional.
Porsche’s touch screen interface is pretty simple and intuitive. Sonic parking assist is handy since large headrests and a removable windscreen compromise rearward visibility. A back-up cam would be appreciated. Another gripe? The USB port located in the glovebox is a reach for the driver.
Which Trunk Will You Use Most?
Performing the TP test with a Porsche Boxster is a two-step operation. In what most think of as the traditional cargo area, a single bundle fills the space. Don’t forget there’s space up front, it holds twice as much for a total of three packs. Better than most roadsters. I suggest luggage when traveling though, last time I checked hotels supply TP for free.
To my eye the 2013 model is the best-looking Boxster ever. Park last year’s model next to generation three and there’s a dramatic difference. Crisper. Sharper. More extroverted. It’s a very purposeful design right down to the air intakes up front and on the sides. The bee sting exhaust remains and I appreciate the way the taillight flows into the spoiler lip. Hats off to the guys in Stuttgart, nice job.
If the standard model doesn’t have enough power for you there’s always the Boxster S with 315 horsepower. Maybe you’re at the other end of the spectrum and want to conserve fuel. Go with the PDK dual-clutch transmission and there’s a unique mode that allows for efficient coasting. There’s also a stop/start system so you don’t burn fuel idling at stoplights.
Again, as tested this particular car goes for 73 grand. I consider it a bargain. Look, I don’t admire this car just because of the brand and the image that comes with it. I’m impressed by the fact that Porsche has created something visceral, and anyone who drives it can instinctively understand why it costs what it does. Telepathic handing, impressive build quality, and the perfect engine note have a way of getting under your skin. Throw in good looks and a great view of the sky and the 2013 Porsche Boxter is pretty hard to resist. I say we all go out and buy lottery tickets. If you win, think of me, okay?
FULL GALLERY BELOW. BOXSTER S MODEL SHOWN. ALL STILL IMAGES PROVIDED BY PORSCHE.