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Porsche Boxster: Round 3!

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On: Tue, Mar 13, 2012 at 2:48PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Porsche Boxster: Round 3!

As if the outgoing Boxster wasn't good enough, Porsche felt the need to go ahead and make the next generation of one of America's best sports cars just a little better. Although there are quite a few details that are still a bit sketchy, from what we can tell so far, the new Boxster, which is code-named the 981 takes everything the old 987 did, and does it with just a bit more flair and fun. 

Taking a few cues from the venerable (and new in its own right), the 981 Boxster begins life with a slightly wider track and longer wheelbase than the 987, giving the new car a better platform to carve up corners. The 981 comes in 55 pounds lighter than the outgoing car, which in this day and age where excessive safety regulations seem to add so much poundage to cars every year it could almost be considered an epidemic, is nothing short of amazing.

Other major upgrades include an all new electromechanical power steering unit, and a revised direct-injection flat-six engine that manages to produce ten more horsepower despite being smaller in size (2.7 vs. 2.9 liters). Although the 981's engine does sacrifice a bit of torque due to its slightly smaller stature (207 vs. 214 lb.-ft.), but to be fair, even the most sensitive derriere would be hard pressed to notice seven pound-feet of difference if there is ten horsepower straining to make up for it on the top end.

This seems true with the new Boxster, which doesn't seem to be phased in terms of acceleration. Porsche claims a 0-60mph sprint time of 5.4 seconds for the new model, which is right on par with the outgoing model, though Porsche has a fairly noticeable pattern of underrating their acceleration times from the factory, so don't be surprised is something closer to the five flat mark shows up from time to time.

Not to be outdone by its little brother, the Boxster S also gets a similar revamp. The S retains its 3.4 liter flat-six, but gets a bump of five ponies, giving it a total of 315 (just shy of last years Boxster Spyder), while keeping torque at the same 266 lb.-ft. as the 2012 model. Similarly, the 2013 Boxster S makes the 60 mph dash in a quoted time of 4.7 seconds, which again, could end up being closer to 4.4 seconds by the time anyone other than Porsche gets their hands on one of these Boxsters.

In terms of design, the 981 Boxster looks very much like the 987 model it replaces, but the side vents are bigger and lose the louvers, the taillights go from being two-tone to unicolored, while the front fascia takes on a slightly R8-ish look to it, with bigger and wider air ducts. Inside, all Boxsters get a revised interior that gives the car a much more cockpit style setup that puts the driver in charge by surrounding him or her with a center console higher than the outgoing Boxster's connecting the dash and armrest, while simultaneously giving the car a much sportier and more sophisticated motif.

Potential owners can choose between the also sophisticated seven-speed PDK dual-clutch setup or a more traditional six-speed manual depending on what kind of open road experience they are after. Transmission choice aside, Porsche has integrated a "sailing" mode into the new Boxster, which disengages the engine from the drivetrain when the car is on a downhill grade and the throttle is not being used. This "feature" is supposed to save gas and improve efficiency, but some may find it a bit intrusive if they enjoy hearing a sporty car engine brake for no other reason than just for the hell of it.

All in all, the third gen-Boxster is everything the old car was and a bag of chips. The only real downside is that the base price has crept up a bit for either version of the car. The base Boxster starts at $50,450 while the sportier S model begins at $61,850. There are quite a few choices out there for that kind of money, but few cars can match the Boxster's poise, posh, and pizazz -- and that list now includes last year's Boxster as well.

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