For those awaiting the next-gen Corvette, we have disappointing news: In its upcoming redesign it will, once again, retain its front-mounted V8, rear-wheel drive platform and not – as Motor Trend envisioned some forty years ago – adopt a mid-engine rotary. That the pace of a Corvette’s evolution is almost glacial (an appropriate analogy prior to global warming) isn’t unique; the same, after all, might be said for Porsche. Or, more correctly, it would have been said prior to driving the 2013 Porsche Boxster. For with its newest sportscar Porsche moves the needle to the point you won’t worry about paying a ticket; rather, you should worry about posting bail.
At its introduction in 1996 Porsche’s then-new Boxster was both a step back in time – broadly recalling Porsche’s 550 Spyder – and a giant step into what we thought would be a more recreational future. With a compact footprint, elemental architecture and a just-right 2.5 liter displacement, the then-new Boxster served as the perfect antidote to the incessant noise coming from Washington and growing number of sport utilities emanating from Detroit. It may not have been as minimalistic as a purist (you know, the guy in the funny hat…) might have hoped, but it was light years removed from your mother’s Suburban. And this new Porsche rocketed off showrooms as if possessed by an inner Turbo.
Tweaks, of course, proliferated, beginning with an ‘S’ variant in 2000, styling and engine mods in 2003, a second generation in 2005 and an aggressive freshening of that in 2009. Throughout its evolutionary stages the Boxster’s essential mission remained intact: Provide pure Porsche pleasure at a more accessible price point. This brings us to the Boxster’s third iteration, and an as-tested window sticker of $78,125. To be sure, that’s with destination ($950), but represents almost $30K worth of adds to the Boxster’s $49,500 base.
In any discussion of price points we – that is, those supplying the ‘editorial voice’ – have an admission: Most of us covering cars can’t begin to afford those vehicles we test. What is now the median new car purchase, roughly $25K, looks positively daunting from the perspective of Internet-based pay structures. So, when contemplating an ‘entry-level’ Porsche optioned up to almost EIGHTY THOUSAND DOLLARS it does give pause. With that as the pretext let’s work our way back, starting with the sheetmetal.
From the beginning the Boxster’s architecture looked more exotic than its entry-level mission would have suggested. In fact, using a Ferrari of just twenty years ago – the 360 – as a reference point, I would argue the early Boxsters look equally attractive, more athletic (especially in ‘S’ guise) and every bit as ‘exotic’. Fast forward to 2013 and we think the same argument should apply. Despite all-new sheetmetal Porsche’s 2013 Boxster has been restyled conservatively; it still, however, draws more attention from the great unwashed than those models coming from Detroit or Japan.