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2013 Porsche Boxster

Porsche says you don’t drive fast in a Boxster. Rather, you drive the third-generation roadster “with a dynamic driving style.”

Remember that phrase should your exuberance attract the local constabulary, although reciting it likely won’t save you from financial penalty and attendant points deduction.

For the 2013 model year, Porsche’s dynamically daring Boxster is brand new, despite appearing familiar with its mid-mounted engine and recognizable silhouette. But the numerous differences collectively add up to significant change. The windshield is more steeply raked and has been relocated forward of the cockpit by four inches, presumably for aerodynamic reasons and to keep your noggin a safe distance from the windshield edge when entering/exiting.

The rest of the body is now edgier, especially the deeply sculpted door panels, reshaped fenders and a rear deck with a prominent spoiler that give the Boxster a squared-up presence reminiscent of the Carrera GT supercar.

Nearly 2.5 inches has been added between the front and rear wheels for greater legroom. Overall length, however, has increased by only about an inch due to reduced front body overhang. The Boxster’s wheels have been positioned a bit more outboard for a wider stance and the car now sits slightly closer to the ground, all of which is intended to aid stability and cornering composure.

Another noticeable design change is the latch-free power-operated soft top that no longer hides beneath a hard tonneau when folded; a portion of the roof remains exposed to the elements. That doesn’t in any way hinder the roadster’s eye-riveting looks and allows the folding/unfolding process to occur in a quick-draw nine seconds (formerly 12) and “with a dynamic driving style” of up 31 mph.

The cockpit has been reengineered to a similar degree with a new center console, control panel and optional sport seats that assist whenever the aforementioned dynamic driving style is initiated. A console-mounted electronic parking lever now replaces the traditional hand-brake control, which might upset some Porsche purists, but there’s no denying its elegance.

What might also seem surprising is that the base Boxster’s six-cylinder engine has been reduced in displacement to 2.7 liters from 2.9. However horsepower is increased to 265 from 255 due to some key modernizing initiatives including direct injection (fuel sprayed directly into the combustion chambers under very high pressure). That same measure is employed for the Boxster S’s 3.4-liter six, only its 315-horsepower rating remains unchanged.

Either powerplant can be had with a six-speed manual transmission, or optional seven-speed paddle-shifted manual/automatic gearbox called the PDK.

According to Porsche’s stopwatch, the base Boxster can hit 62 mph (100 km-h) from zero in 5.8 seconds and 5.5 with the PDK. The numbers for the Boxster S are 5.1 and 4.8 seconds, respectively.

Porsche’s Sport Chrono package, available with the PDK transmission, includes a launch control program that maximizes standing-start acceleration, shaving about 0.2 of a second off the zero-to-62-mph times of both models.

Along with generating impressive straight-line times, the Boxster should prove adept at conserving premium fuel with auto stop/start that shuts off the engine when stationary, then fires it up when the driver wants to move forward. As well, PDK-equipped models come with a coasting feature whereby the engine will simply idle when power isn’t needed, including decelerating and heading downhill. As of this writing, actual fuel-economy numbers aren’t available.

About the only questionable gas saver on the Boxster’s menu is its electric power steering that replaces the hydraulic unit. Again, Boxster-istas will claim foul, but if it saves fuel, weight and complexity, you know Porsche is going to adopt it.

Following a June launch, the latest Boxster will generate considerable interest and once more leave Porsche 911 Cabriolet buyers wondering why they didn’t save nearly half the car’s $95,000 admission fee and instead select a roadster than can turn both corners and heads with equal aplomb.