2013 Porsche Boxster S Convertible (3.4L 6-cyl. 6-speed Manual)
Driven On 7/17/2012
This rating has been carried forward from a prior year because the newer model has no substantial differences.
Perhaps the Porsche Boxster's biggest strength is its ability to retain a superb ride while offering world class response and handling. Chassis improvements mean it's a dedicated sports car that, now, even those with sensitive backsides can drive all day. And, it's a convertible.
PerformanceThis is where the Boxster truly shines. Not only is it quick in a straight line thanks to a quick-revving 315-hp flat-6 engine, but its handling abilities are downright amazing, including 1.0g of lateral acceleration.
With 0-60 mph in 5.1 sec., it's not quite as quick as its big brother, the 911. Easy-to-use 6-speed manual shifter with intuitive clutch takeup. Acceleration is hampered somewhat by a tall first gear.
Solid pedal feel and ultra-consistent stops. Distances were short, too, needing just 103 feet from 60 mph.
This electric-assist system lacks some feel compared to the previous Boxster's hydraulically assisted steering. But we still found it to be very precise at speed.
Stunning dynamic abilities thanks to the Boxster's optimized packaging which consists of a low, center-mounted engine. It provides more confidence than the 911.
With the exception of the tall first gear, driveability is very good. This is an easy car to drive, whether puttering around town or pushing the limits down a canyon road.
ComfortOverall the Boxster S strikes a remarkable balance between handling and ride comfort, thanks in large part to its adjustable dampers. You won't ever forget it's a sports car, but it's certainly one you could drive every day.
The firm and well-bolstered sport seats hold you in place during cornering. But we found ourselves squirming after just an hour's drive.
As you expect of a sports car, the ride is firm and controlled. But it's also one that's easily tolerated for driving to and from work, not just back roads on the weekends.
Average noise performance. The Boxster is adequately quiet and the noises you do hear are almost all good ones, like a howling intake and glorious exhaust note.
InteriorPorsche does interiors right. A lot of functionality leads to a lot of controls, but at least they're well organized. The smallish buttons and switchgear are immensely precise and everything inside the Boxster utilizes high-end materials.
The button-cluttered center console can overwhelm (even once you've acclimated), but pressing a button is faster than working through menus. Touchscreen isn't the most user friendly.
Like most roadsters, the Boxster is low, which means getting in and out requires far more work than an SUV. It's worth it. Plus, the sills are relatively narrow for a sports car.
Even with the top down, you feel surrounded in the Boxster and it feels less convertible-like. Legroom is typical for a roadster (tall folks may be squished), a BMW Z4 has more.
Visibility isn't very good top up or down, but it's definitely worse with the top up. Especially the rear three-quarter view for changing lanes, which can be problematic.
Front and rear trunks are modest, but together there's more than enough for weekend trips. It's impressive for a mid-engine car. The fold-out cupholders are beyond pathetic.
It takes less than 10 seconds to raise or lower the top. And it can be done at speeds up to 31 mph. When lowered, doesn't impinge upon trunk space.
ValueUnless you have a lot of extra means, it's hard to make a solid value statement for any Porsche. They're expensive. Period. But they're usually really good, too. The Boxster is no exception.
Build Quality (vs. $)
Build quality is right up there with high-end luxury cars. Assembly is top-notch, although some materials could be better.
The Boxster has just about every option you could ever want available, and many more than some cars in this segment. But you'll pay dearly for those optional features.
Porsche will never win a comparison test on price. You get what you pay for, though. Top-shelf performance and quality.
The EPA rates the Boxster S with the six-speed manual at 23 mpg Combined (20 City/28 Highway). We weren't able to match the EPA numbers, but that isn't uncommon in sports cars.
The Boxster comes with an above-average warranty. The basic warranty and drivetrain are covered for 4 years/50,000 miles.
There's roadside assistance for 4 years/50,000 miles, but no free scheduled maintenance.
Fun To DriveIt's hard to argue with a 315-hp roadster, especially if you live in a climate where you can regularly drop the top. The Boxster's handling and dynamic numbers are stunning. But more importantly, it's a blast to drive.
With the ability to surprise just about any car on a back road, the Boxster S is a bit of a sleeper. It exudes world-class sports car in every sense.
A true high-performance sports car disguised as the entry-level Porsche. In some ways, it's more enthusiast-oriented than its bigger, more expensive brother, the 911.