2013 Porsche Boxster S | Road Test
|Good||Brilliant engine, handling, ticks all the boxes for a perfect roadster|
|Bad||Electronic steering wheel, annoying PCM, can get expensive with options|
|Specs||3.4-liter, 315-hp, 266-lb-ft Horizontal 6, RWD|
|Price||AED 275,000 (As Tested)|
The baby Porsche has finally grown up!
Since its birth in 1996, the Boxster has never been the car favoured by true Porsche enthusiasts. Last year, with the launch of the 2013 Porsche Boxster S, Porsche has changed that. This Boxster is no longer a Porsche for pretty girls. Or pretty boys for that matter. It is a proper driver’s car!
This is an all new car from the ground up. Not just a facelift model. The styling changes seem very subtle but that is typical Porsche. On closer inspection you notice the car is longer, wider and lighter. Add to that the beautiful 3.4L Boxer engine(same as the one on the base 911) churning out 315 disciplined but rowdy horses makes it absolutely fantastic! Don’t believe me? The 2013 Porsche Boxster S laps the Nurburgring in a whole 20 seconds quicker than the outgoing model. THAT is how different this car is. The Boxster has lost weight in spite of bigger wheels, better standard equipment and more interior room. The styling changes although very subtle add to a stunning overall package giving the Boxster an excellent stance and great road presence. The excellent flowing lines, LED lights all around and wider backside make this the best looking Boxster so far. The engine could not have been placed in a better position. Sitting right behind your ears, the flat 6 engine is an aural treat. Drive it in normal mode and it seems like a relatively calm and composed car. Brisk but smooth up shifts way before redline while downshifts are gentle and mild. Press the Sport+ button and everything changes. Up shifts are violent. Feeling like a kickback from a shotgun recoil, accompanied by an angry burp from the exhaust. Steering is sharper, with stiffer suspension making cornering an absolute joy. You don’t have a 7th gear anymore. You won’t need it while caning it around the twisties. There is an auto start-stop feature too. But I suspect that was just done to calm the tree huggers. The only reason you’d want the car to switch off is so when it starts back on you can hear the 315 German horses scream to life right behind your ears.
The stiff chassis along with the beautifully designed suspension makes it an absolute breeze to chuck into corners. You’d have to try real hard to upset the dynamics and throw this little champ into oversteer. In sport+ you are in attack mode, transforming this into a point and shoot machine! Thanks to the electronic steering system, some of the communication is lost. Like having a conversation with someone over the phone and their voice is constantly muffled. It is alright, but you know it could be better. It is however, one of the better electronic steering systems I have driven.
If you are shopping for a strict 2 seater convertible, you can’t really go wrong with this. Storage space is improved and will easily take care of your weekly grocery run. Just don’t expect to pick your spouse up from the airport and have space for her luggage! The ride isn’t as smooth as a GT but it isn’t harsh enough to require a monthly membership at the Chiropractor either. The ride can get a little tiring on the not so smooth roads with the top down. Thankfully though, the majority of the roads in the country are top notch so that isn’t much of a worry. While around town, stick the car in comfort mode and it shouldn’t be much of a bother. There is a bit of road noise, as you would expect with any soft top convertible. Fuel economy might not be the most important thing on your check list while buying a Porsche but it is good to know that the direct injection and variable valve timing help limit its thirst to a miserly 8.0L/100km while cruising which is good number for a green conscience.
The PCM (Porsche Communication Management) an AED 10K option allows you to connect your phone via Bluetooth to stream music and make phone calls. After spending more than a few minutes trying to pair my BlackBerry, I can safely say it was far easier to get my engineering degree than getting the PCM to work. Thankfully the beautiful gurgling and sputtering from the engine right behind me distracted me from wanting to listen to music. The dash is simple and to the point. Speedometer in 50kph increments to the left, Rev counter bang in the middle and a little screen to the right that you can choose to show whatever data you like on, including Navigation information. But when you are busy trying to push the car to its limits you’ll forget about all of that.
The Chrono package gives you a smart looking chronometer in the centre of the dash that moonlights as a clock while you’re cruising around town not measuring lap times. The wind deflector is made out of a mesh rather than a piece of glass (which is what I would have preferred) but with the roof down it didn’t obstruct much of the visibility and it did a fair job at keeping wind turbulence low. With the roof up, visibility is compromised and does require you to crane your neck quite a bit while merging and changing lanes so you don’t end up denting this beauty.
The 2013 Porsche Boxster S starts at AED 217,100 at Al Nabooda Automobiles. As with all Porsches the starting price isn’t much of an indicator as this just about gives you a seat and a steering wheel. Door mats, dimmable rear view mirror, wind deflector, Chronometer, PCM, PASM, etc are all options. At a cost of course. With all options ticked, the Boxster as you would like it costs about AED 275,000 (Price as tested)
The new Boxster is no longer just an entry level Porsche that you would buy to be part of a brand. It is much more than that. This feels and drives more like the big daddy 911. Sort of prepares you. Like a prologue to the real deal. In spite of all the electronics on board, the 2013 Porsche Boxster retains the spirit of a pure bred sportscar. There is a mechanical feel every time you change gears. The electronics are only there to assist you in the background without stealing away the joy of driving this brilliant machine. Every bit of engineering in this car has come together perfectly to reward you with a great experience. Except the electronic steering that is.