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In 1997, Porsche introduced an all-new roadster to its lineup that combined the Porsche pedigree with a relatively economical sticker price. This lowering of the exclusivity bar may have upset some Porsche owners, but its overall success as it enters the 2013 model year speaks for itself.
The 2013 model year, Porsche completely revamped the Boxster, but took special care not to change it too much. It’s most important dimensions – wheelbase, front and rear track, ride height, and body overhang – have all been improved to maximize handling while only increasing the overall body length by just 1.26 inches. Even though the body stretched slightly, the Boxster’s curb weight dropped across the board for 2013, allowing the roadster to accelerate, handle and brake more effectively. The body was also revised with a completely new rear end that eliminated the convertible-top lid, and new LED taillights accent the body much better than before. To finish off this light redesign, Porsche added in a bolder shoulder line and smoother air-intake vents on the front and sides.
This revamp wouldn’t be complete without some performance upgrades. The Base model Boxster features a smaller 2.7-liter flat-six engine, which is down from 2.9-liters in 2012. This engine pushes out 265 horsepower – a 10-horsepower increase from 2012 – and 206 foot-pounds of torque.The Boxster S has the same 3.4-liter flat-six from 2012, but with an increase to 315 horsepower – a 5-horsepower bump – and pushing out 266 foot-pounds of torque.
The luxury-roadster ring is not very larger, but is highly competitive nonetheless. The 2013 BMW Z4 starts things off and it comes standard with a 240-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, a six-speed manual transmission and leatherette seating for two. Next up is the Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class, which starts off with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with 201 horsepower, a 7-speed shiftable automatic trans and leatherette seating. The final competitor on the list is the 2013 Audi TT Convertible, which comes standard with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that pumps out 211 horsepower, a six-speed automated manual transmission and leather-and-Alcantara seating.
Like every other Porsche, when you’re talking about the Base trim level of the Boxster, it is not your typical base model. On the outside, it features high-end features like 8-by-18-inch and 9-by-8-inch staggered alloy wheels to increase its handling characteristics, electromechanical power steering with variable ratio for more precise steering, four-piston aluminum calipers for reduced unsprung weight and superior stopping, and an enhanced Porsche Stability Management system to improve handling and braking. Inside the cabin, the Porsche Boxster comes to life with luxury, as it includes Alcantara-wrapped sport seat for comfort, cruise control, HomeLink to allow you to integrate multiple home remotes into one system, and a four-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with auxiliary-in jack, 7-inch touchscreen and Bluetooth connectivity.
The Boxster S model adds in some extra sportiness on top of its larger and more powerful engine, giving drivers a well-balanced roadster. On the outside, the S trim level adds in 8-by-19-inch and 9.5-by-19-inch alloy wheels for better handling, 0.59-inch-larger-diameter front rotors for better braking, red-painted calipers for a sportier look and bi-xenon lighting for better vision. Inside the cabin, the Boxster S adds in extra storage in front and center console compartments, aluminum colored dials for a sporty look, and digital instrumentation that displays the total mileage, trip mileage, time, temperature and speed.
Unmatched fuel economy, awesome styling and slightly lower base price, but lacks power across the board and fake leather interior
Great mpg, low price, 7-speed shiftable automatic and up to 415 horsepower, but aging body style and underpowered base engine
Standard AWD, low base price and leather/Alcantara seating, but underpowered four-cylinder
430-horsepower base engine, 4.5 seconds to 60 mph and standard leather, but cheap-looking interior and horrific city mpg