What's the best new Porsche on the market? If you're thinking the 911, think again -- because the winner just might be the nimbler and more affordable 2013 Porsche Boxster S. The Boxster is all-new for 2013, and it's so good that we had a hard time finding a single thing wrong with it. If it's possible for a $60,000-plus sports car to be a bargain, this Porsche is Exhibit A. Want specifics? Here are five reasons why the latest Boxster S is an absolute must-drive.
1. Sublime Engine and Transmission
The Boxster S model's 3.4-liter 315-horsepower flat-6 engine is a thing of beauty. It's amazingly responsive, pinning you to your seat whenever you step on the gas -- and it sounds like a dream. As for the PDK automatic transmission, it's not cheap, but it's a wonderful partner, delivering perfect shifts faster than any human could manage. You'll never get tired of running through these gears.
Fun fact, by the way: The PDK is so good that you literally don't feel the shifts at all by default, and Porsche's engineers worried that this might seem strange -- so they added some computer-generated shift shock to the PDK's Sport Plus mode in case you want to bang home those shifts like the old days.
2. Ultra Rigid Body
Convertibles have improved dramatically in terms of rigidity, but the Boxster S takes it to another level. When you drive over a patch of rough pavement, it's like you're in a coupe -- there's hardly any of the shaking and shuddering that used to be part of the drop-top experience. The Boxster S rides firmly, no doubt, but there's a sense of supreme control and confidence on every surface.
3. Tastefully Redone Styling
The original Boxster had somewhat awkward styling from certain angles, but the new Boxster cuts a truly dashing figure. From its aggressive headlights to its streamlined tail, this Boxster S doesn't look like Porsche's entry-level car at all. You might even call it a work of art. The 2013 Boxster S is a car that transcends the money it's worth -- it's just a beautiful thing, and that's not going to change with time.
4. Legitimately Luxurious Interior
The old Boxster's interior was arguably a little plain, but the new interior is exquisite. Porsche didn't hold back on materials or design. The result is a cabin that's so rich and appealing, it's almost on the 911's level. Our test car had rich camel leather upholstery that reminded us of Ferrari's favorite leather color, and every interior trim piece seemed to be built and installed with care. Again, the new Boxster S isn't just a nice car for the price -- it's a nice car, period, no matter what it's parked next to.
5. Exceptionally Fun to Drive
If the Boxster S isn't the most fun you can have on four wheels, it must be in the top five. This is an incredibly precise driving tool, from its laser-sharp steering to its prodigious cornering grip. Thanks in part to the Porsche Torque Vectoring electronic limited-slip differential, which gently squeezes the inside rear brake to make mid-corner steering more precise, the new Boxster S feels truly telepathic. Once you finish tearing up your favorite winding road, you'll want to go back and do it again.
If you've got the cash, the 2013 Porsche Boxster S is one of the most desirable sports cars ever. You'll thank yourself for buying one every time you twist the key in Porsche's traditional left-mounted ignition. You should definitely take one for a spin, but it's addictive. Don't say we didn't warn you.