First Drive: 2013 Porsche Boxster S reviews porsche luxury cars first drives
2013 Porsche Boxster S. Click image to enlarge

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Review and photos by Jonathan Yarkony

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2013 Porsche Boxster

This is going to be a long review. You see, this is not only a First Drive of the 2013 Porsche Boxster S for Autos.ca, it is also my first ever drive in a Boxster, a car I have heard and read about for years as being one of the most balanced and engaging cars, ever.

Normally we would work our way through some of the design changes or trims and features, but I say, “Forget that.” (Or something to that effect.) This car isn’t about features or value — nobody buys a $60K two-seat convertible for practical reasons — it’s about an unparalleled driving experience and perhaps even the occasional track day. 

The first item on many enthusiasts’ minds is likely the controversial switch to electric power steering, following in the footsteps of the 911. In that, perhaps Porsche was fortunate (or wise) to have me in attendance — having never driven a Boxster before, and a Cayman only briefly, I won’t have any baggage or preconceptions about the almost universally revered steering feel and precision in former Boxsters.

First Drive: 2013 Porsche Boxster S reviews porsche luxury cars first drives
2013 Porsche Boxster S. Click image to enlarge

Well, the Boxster’s electric power steering is flawless. Quick to turn in, accurate through curves, lightly weighted but firming up at higher speeds, and unflappable even in the harshest, quickest, side-to-side transitions, often a fatal flaw of lesser electric power steering systems. I, for one, didn’t have any complaints about the accuracy and weight of the steering, and I find myself indifferent to the need for “feel”. Perhaps some people need or want it coming through the steering rack, but with a chassis as balanced and communicative as the Boxster’s, a bit more twitchiness in the steering wheel won’t get me around a track or autocross any faster, although some might find that the daily drive is a bit more rewarding with a bit more feedback. However, for those that prefer a certain rawness in the steering, I guess they’ll have to look back to Porsche’s older models.

First Drive: 2013 Porsche Boxster S reviews porsche luxury cars first drives
First Drive: 2013 Porsche Boxster S reviews porsche luxury cars first drives
First Drive: 2013 Porsche Boxster S reviews porsche luxury cars first drives
2013 Porsche Boxster S. Click image to enlarge

After repeated laps on the full track and a fast autocross course (I consider speeds over 50 mph in a parking lot plenty fast), it’s clearly this driver that needs the improvements in feel (braking, throttle, and steering — yeah, I can be a mess out there). We drove the 2013 Boxster S (no base Boxsters were on hand) around Porsche’s home turf in North America, Barber Motorsports Park, grounds of the Porsche Sports Driving School, where enthusiasts can sign up to take a track school at the helm of a variety of Porsches — typical Porsche fantasy fulfillment program like the Camp4 we covered this past winter. 

Between the track, the autocross course and a drive on the surrounding country roads, we had a chance to explore all the levels of capability offered by this toy. Being the smallest Porsche, it’s easy to forget that even the base Boxster is still packing at least 265 horsepower, a modest 10 hp improvement over its predecessor, but impressive considering the engine has shrunk from 2.9 to 2.7 L. 

In addition to shedding displacement, shedding weight (weight improvement) allows it to improve its official 0–100 km/h time to 5.8 seconds. On public roads it would likely be more than sufficient, but out on the track, the 315 hp of the Boxster S (a 5-hp bump over the 2012) and its 5.0-second sprint to 100 seemed just right, and I rather enjoyed abusing every lick of that power on repeated laps of the autocross course, which had an addictive quality of constantly being able to get on the power, brake hard, hold a line through a tight corner, power again, brake again, side-to-side transitions, power brake, corner. I could go on repeating myself ad infinitum (and reliving each lap and turn again and again), but suffice to say, the brakes will suffer a day of abuse at the track and still come back asking for more, the seven-speed PDK transmission will crack off hard, fast shifts, and the car can dance on the razor’s edge of balance and still feel as controllable as it does driving through the countryside. It seems, and is, designed to be driven at the proverbial 10/10ths.




About Jonathan Yarkony

Jonathan Yarkony is the Senior Editor for Autos.ca, a Brampton-based automotive writer with eight years of experience evaluating cars and an AJAC member.