Porsche 911: 1963 & 2013. Photo courtesy Porsche.
Review and photos by Brendan McAleer
2013 Porsche Boxster S
This year marks fifty years of the Porsche 911, and you know what that means: plenty of internet arguing about which generation is best. Porsche PR roughly prodded the purists by releasing hi-res shots of two bookend models, a lithe original 911 2.0 coupe next to a somewhat-hulking current-gen 991. Frankly, it looks like Harry Potter chatting to Hagrid.
Well, you could practically feel the foaming spittle flecking the keyboards as battle was engaged. Look what a heffalump the 911 has ballooned into! Who needs all this four-wheel-drive trickery and driving aids? Why doesn’t Porsche make a proper small sports car anymore?
Um, duh and/or hello? It’s right here in front of you!
This is it, the Porsche Boxster, finally come into its own. No longer just the 911’s little brother, while the middle-aged icon blurs the line between grand tourer and sportscar, the Boxster (and its hardtop twin, the Cayman) is entering the prime of life.
You need only look at it to tell. The original Boxster was based around hand-me-down doors from the 996, everybody’s least-favourite 911. This gave the little roadster a somewhat wonky double-ended look, like Dr. Doolittle’s Pushmi-Pullyu.
2013 Porsche Boxster. Click image to enlarge
With aggressively flared front air intakes, swollen rear haunches, and styling cues lifted from the mid-2000s Carrera GT supercar, the new car is much handsomer. There’s still a bit of symmetry to the side-profile, but it’s that of a balanced weapon – think Klingon Bat’leth.
But I digress; you, who have eyes, can surely see the improvement. Less stylistic pontification, more making with the driving.
First, a word about transmissions. While the Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) dual-clutch automatic has blazing-quick shifts, a near-telepathic connection to what the driver is trying to do, smooth operation in heavy traffic, and a unbelievably high Scrabble word score, it’s not really my favourite.
Instead, save your money and get the sweet-shifting six-speed manual transmission. It’s slick, it’s quick, and it lets you do your own rev-matching and heel-toe downshifting; a direct mechanical connection is integral to any properly thrilling sports car. It’s also a little bit lighter, and will be less of a looming Service Bill Of Damocles as your Boxster ages.
Don’t be lazy: the 315-hp 3.4L pancake-six in this Guards Red tester has such colossal gobs of low-end torque, you can happily lug it around town in stop-and-go traffic without wearing yourself out.