Test drive a Porsche Boxster at
Newport Auto Center or McKenna Porsche.
When it comes to labeling their various high-tech doodads, car companies love acronyms. Take Porsche, for example, an automaker that has long worn its engineering wonkiness as a badge of honor (and rightfully so). My 2013 Boxster test car came equipped with such innovations as PSM, ASR, ABD, POSIP, PTM, and PASM, just to name a few. So perhaps it’s fitting that while reflecting on my time with this modern classic, I am inspired to create my own acronym to characterize its charm. I call it PPF.
It stands for Perceived Performance Factor. It’s an innovative zero-to-10 index useful for quantifying that often-elusive Porsche driving experience – a numerical je ne sais quoi that goes beyond typical measures like zero-to-60 times. Such performance benchmarks simply fail to effectively communicate the all-new 2013 Porsche Boxster’s immense appeal.
For its latest Boxster lineup, Porsche did what it does best: fine tune. Of course, add up enough tweaks and you end up “all new.” The 2013 Boxster’s spanking new sheet metal is draped snugly around a longer, wider frame, giving the two-seater a markedly more aggressive stance. Scalloped door panels; shorter front and rear overhangs; larger side air intakes; and a more steeply raked windshield all enhance the proverbial “looks fast standing still” factor. This alone translates to major PPF points.
Inside, a host of nips and tucks have further enhanced the Boxster’s already excellent ergonomics. The pedals are further back; the sturdy sport seats sit lower; and the silky six-speed manual gear selector is a tad closer to the driver’s right hand. The dramatic new downward sloping dash is cleanly adorned with best-in-class switchgear. Inside and out, it is one of the sportiest cars I have experienced in a while. Mind you, I have yet to turn the key. Rack up several more PPF points right there.
The 2013 Boxster’s generous use of weight-saving aluminum body panels means it is roughly 70 pounds lighter than its smaller, all-steel predecessor. This more than offsets a slight dip in torque (down seven lb-ft to 206) from the smaller 2.7-liter flat-six engine, mounted (as always) just behind the passengers. The higher-revving engine also produces a 10 hp bump to 265. Porsche purists are bemoaning the car’s new electric steering as a numbed-down version of its predecessor’s hydraulic system. Maybe so, but even a mildly compromised Boxster still beats most other cars when it comes to road feel.
The 2013 Boxster isn’t slow. However, it doesn’t feel exceptionally fast either. This is where the PPF comes into play. With a base price just under $50,000 – not counting any add-ons from Porsche’s notoriously lengthy and exorbitant options list – pure performance can be had for less cash. That said, with the Boxster’s fully electric cloth top stowed and flat-six buzzing behind my head, perception overtakes measurable reality, and I’m having the time of my life. Never mind I barely cracked 40 mph. Now that is how a vehicle earns a perfect 10 PPF.