Sixty years of performance heritage speaks volumes for any brand. For Porsche, it represents a history full of race engineering and technological experience. This experience allows their product development team to create new and exciting vehicles like the 4-door Panamera while concurrently enhancing crowd pleasers such as their sports cars that roll on the lightweight, mid-engine concept. That being said, let’s give a round of applause for the all-new 2013 Porsche Boxster and Boxster S.
Introduced in 1993 and codenamed 986, the Boxster name came about by mixing Porsche’s horizontally opposed “boxer” engine with the term “roadster.” The theory was simple: Stuggart wanted to entertain consumers with a new model below the 911 but without forsaking the value and reputation of the German company. Mission accomplished.
Since its introduction, the Boxster has only undergone two complete redesigns with the first in 2004. And as evolution would have it, a third generation Boxster was needed to stay in tune with the passion and technology Porsche instills in all of its vehicles. Internally labeled 981, the 2013 Boxster refuses to disappoint in mostly every category for those seeking a smaller performance roadster.
To experience the major improvements of the Boxster and Boxster S, we diverted from Switzerland to the South of France where the mixture of cool and warm air would allow us to define the true characteristics of the Boxster including its advanced soft top.
The skinny is that the mid-engine roadster has a longer wheelbase, is wider and lower and has new aluminum doors. Both the front and rear trunk lids are made of aluminum as well. In fact, 47% of the vehicle is aluminum while the rest is comprised of high-strength steels. Racecar inspired vertical headlamps—either halogen or Bi-Xenon—are embedded within the arched front fenders and connect the fender for a fluid transition. Porsche tries to maintain a family resemblance with every vehicle so they don’t alter the fascia much. A special line in the door helps create an indentation that draws air into the large intakes so the water-cooled, flat-six engine can breathe easy.
The top stows away in 9 seconds and can be opened or closed while cruising up to 31 mph. Porsche also did away with the compartment lid to reduce weight. The enhanced soft top is made of thicker acoustic textiles and a lighter frame that doesn’t show any ribs. At times it was so quiet we forgot we were in a convertible. Moreover, the top is longer, the windshield is less upright and the rear windowpane is larger.
The route was becoming challenging as we detoured through mountain roads that settled in like racetracks with chicanes and hairpin turns. This is where the Boxster’s 46/54 percent weight balance came into play. As light as the vehicle is, the 3.4-liter boxer engine that sits fore of the rear axle felt extremely good. Its 315 horsepower and 360 pound-feet of torque do not sound like much, but sit back as the German purveyor of sports cars and sporty SUVs puts Porsche Intelligent Performance to work. A base 6-speed manual or the optional and improved 7-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission ($4,000 U.S. option) integrates with either the aforementioned 3.4-liter or the 2.7-liter found on the Boxster.
Three hours into the drive we ended up at a lunch venue outside of Cannes. We ate well and chatted about the many changes to the 2013 Boxster S before heading out again in a platinum silver metallic Boxster S with a Yachting Blue leather interior. My partner now chose the 6-speed manual that allowed for quick, hard shifting. A few times I was jolted back when he gunned it abruptly, and at this rate we arrived in Cannes in just minutes. We slowed it down a bit to enjoy the sights and allow onlookers to enjoy the Boxster S.
On sale in the U.S. in July, the 2013 Boxster starts at $49,500 while the 2013 Boxster S begins at $60,900. Make sure to set aside a separate upgrade budget for the diverse option menu.
Haute Auto curator Kimatni Rawlins is the founder of Automotive Rhythms Communications, LLC (AR), a multi-national lifestyle firm that blends evaluations of the latest cars, trucks, SUVs, and bikes around music, fashion, travel and technology. Consisting of Internet, print, radio, network TV, online video and event properties, AR is a multi-media and marketing gateway for receiving real time data and information on new rides, car shows, vehicle technology, green energy projects, customization, motorsports, celebrity profiles and auto lifestyle experiences. www.automotiverhythms.com @ARtvKimatni