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Porsche beefs up the Boxster (pictures)

The 2013 Porsche Boxster lands swaggers into the Car Tech garage with a more muscular aesthetic and performance to match.

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Antuan Goodwin
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1 of 28 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2013 Porsche Boxster

The Boxster, despite being a sweet little roadster, has always struggled with a reputation as a secretary's or trophy wife's car.
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Redesigned

For 2013, Porsche has overhauled the Boxster with a new, more muscular design that draws inspiration from the 911 and the Carrera GT.
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Intakes

The air intakes just ahead of the rear wheels have been enlarged and a deep Carrera GT-esque channel now runs the length of the door to feed it.
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Headlamps

The vertically stacked bi-xenon headlamps echo those on the Porsche Panamera.
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Top up

The use of fabric for the roof keeps weight down and appeals to ragtop roadster purists.
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Top down

The top drops in about nine seconds and can be raised just as quickly. Interestingly, the Boxster's roof can be operated at speeds up to 31 mph.
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Center exhaust

The Boxster's trademark single center exhaust isn't as pronounced as the Boxster S' dual central tips.
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Rear

The tail lights integrate slim clear sections that line up with and flow into the rear spoiler. This strong horizontal character line visually widens the Boxster for an even more hunkered down look.
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Spoiler

The motorized rear spoiler automatically deploys at high speed (~75 mph) and lowers when you slow down (~50 mph). Alternatively, you can manually lift it with a console button.
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Wheels

Our Boxster was equipped with optional 19-inch Boxster S-style wheels with staggered widths and tire profiles.
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Purpose built

The Boxster was designed from the ground up as a drop top. Consequently, it looks slightly better with the roof stowed.
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Interior

Swathed in $2,385 worth of Yachting Blue leather, the Boxster's cabin manages to balance spartan simplicity and luxury appointment.
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Sport seats

Optional electric Sport Seats (pictured) offer 14-way adjustability, great bolstering, and three memory positions.
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Electronic power steering

Some longtime Porschephiles may lament Porsche's decision to move away from hydraulic power steering, but I found nothing to complain about.
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Instrumentation

The instrument cluster places the large tachometer at front and center. To the right is a circular LCD that can be set to display navigation data, hands-free calling info, or current audio source metadata.
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Six-speed transaxle

The Boxster comes standard with a six-speed manual shifter, but its PDK automatic gearbox is also available.
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Console

The center console is home to a host of buttons for the various sport engine and suspension modes and the switches for the power retractable roof.
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Climate controls

Porsche crams quite a few physical buttons for the climate control and audio system in the space ahead of the shifter, but everything is easy to reach and understand.
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PCM navigation

The 7-inch touchscreen of the PCM infotainment system is crisp and easy to navigate. Maps are sharply rendered and feature traffic data.
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Audio sources

The PCM system is able to playback MP3 and AAC files from its USB port or a connected iPod. Bluetooth audio streaming, SiriusXM radio, an analog auxiliary input, AM/FM radio, and the CD player round out the audio sources.
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Dashboard display

The driver is able to view the currently playing song by scrolling through the instrument cluster's multi-information display.
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Bluetooth

The Bluetooth hands-free speakerphone function is standard and features voice command and address book sync.
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Two trunks

The two-seater Boxster may surprise you with the storage space afforded by its two trunks.
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Rear trunk

A shallow rear trunk offers space for small goods.
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Front trunk

The deeper front trunk has space enough for a pair of carry-on sized suitcases.
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Driver's car

I couldn't help but to draw comparisons between the Boxster and the Mazda Miata during my week with the Porsche. Both are fantastic drivers' cars with great handling that suffer from poor images. The Boxster's easily twice as expensive as the Miata, but it's also a much more potent ride.
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Pricing

At $66,185, our tester came loaded with over $15,000 in optional equipment. Keep it simple and the Boxster can be had for just above $50,000.
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2013 Porsche Boxster

I think that I like the Boxster (and it's hard-topped sibling, the Cayman) more than I like the 911. Agree or disagree, let us know what you think about the more butch 2013 Porsche Boxster in the comments below.

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