Posted in New Cars
The Speedster’s flat-four put out considerably less than this new Boxster, but it also weighed two-thirds as much. The 981 tips the scales around 2,900 pounds – still relatively svelte by modern standards – and Porsche’s obsessive attention to tonnage becomes a regular topic of conversation.This is the 2013 Porsche Boxster S. The nerds among us will refer to it by its chassis code, 981. As Porsche is all too happy to point out, it’s the direct descendant of a long line of Porsche roadsters, beginning with the 356. Case in point: The 2013 Boxster is available with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed PDK gearbox. When asked about the decision not to include a seventh, fuel-economy cheater gear (à la the new 911), engineers cited the additional weight. “But the PDK weighs just as much?” I ask, pointing out the fallacy in their logic. “Yes, but the manual driver is different.” Now there’s some truth in engineering. Porsche is surprisingly happy to admit that the 356 was a hit with the ladies. The original prototype was supposedly sold to a woman and later repurchased by Porsche and Co., and nearly half a century later, the Boxster’s reputation as the Ladies’ Porsche has continued to endure. It’s idiotic. Thoroughly and completely. It’s something that changed slightly with the last generation (987) and my hosts’ design team makes it clear that this latest iteration was designed to be “more masculine.” You’re inevitably going to see some shades of Carrera GT in the 981’s sheetmetal, particularly when viewed in profile, with the deeply sculpted doors feeding air into the two (functional) air intakes ahead of the rear wheels. But viewed from the front and rear, the details haven’t been pulled from an eight-year-old supercar. They’re from a new one. The 918 Spyder. The fascia is more stately than shapely, with shades of the 904 in the headlamps, while taillamps combine the 991’s vertical slats and the 918’s upkicked rear. Look closer and you’ll notice the lights protrude outward in the middle, forming a solid sweeping line across the back that incorporates into the rear spoiler. Per usual, Porsche design is looking forward – albeit incrementally – and the director of styling admits to developing the new Boxster “cautiously.” Still, few automakers make their wares look so similar while causing the outgoing model to look so dated. Inside it’s similar, with the now standard Panamera-inspired central tunnel dominating the interior, rising high above the waist, but mercifully slathered in far less switchgear.