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Porsche Boxster finally gets a proper scowl

| Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

Truly evil Porsches, the ones that look like silver fists, never really stop at red lights. They lie in wait, snarling at the pavement and quivering in anticipation of shrieking away the instant the light turns green.

Why do cars such as the 911 Turbo and Carrera S incite us to drive like some recently divorced, recently dyed 40-something guy next to a carload of college coeds?

“Check out the PDK and cross-drilled rotors, la-dies.”

I'm not sure. But it never seems to happen with the Porsche Boxster, the leaner, lighter and better-balanced little brother of the growling, biceps-shaped 911.

Although blessed with superb handling, sharp reflexes and spirited flat-six engines, the Boxster never looks quite right mugging in big brother's outlaw shirts.

Their awkward proportions — particularly their rear haunches and clumsy wheel openings — make them seem a bit like Porsches in training.

No one, however, will say that about the all-new 2013 Boxster, which finally receives many of the taut curves and dramatic proportions of the classic 911 — as well as most of its salt and sinew.

The Boxster I had recently showed up for work wearing lime-gold metallic paint that might have been lifted from one of Liberace's old jackets.

It didn't matter. Up front, the Boxster sported big, peering 911-ish headlamps that shoved their way into familiar, lightly muscled fenders.

It rode on a new platform that was slightly longer, allowing the designers to stretch the wheelbase 2.4 inches.

A subtle line on the leading edge of the front door curved around giant air inlets in front of the rear wheels, giving the Boxster some visual pop to go with its newly athletic stance.

Further assisting its appearance were 20-inch alloy wheels carrying low-profile 235/35s up front and 265/35s in the rear.

Moreover, even the rear of the car exuded style. Large semi-oval taillamps wrapped around the Boxster's rounded rear, wearing turn signals in their centers that lined up perfectly with the car's small, elegant spoiler.

I suppose that sort of fit and attention to detail are what money buys — and that's a mighty large consideration in anything with “Porsche” emblazoned on it.

The Boxster starts at a heart-pounding $49,500, about $30,000 less than a base 911.

But then Porsche loaded on nearly $30,000 in options to my base Boxster, pushing the price to $78,125.

I was pretty outraged for a couple of hours. Then I put the top down, cranked up the smallish 2.7-liter, 265-horsepower six and savored the sounds and sensations.

Even Porsche's entry-level engine idles energetically, snarling a bit with each upshift of the car's ultra-impressive seven-speed manual automatic — a $3,200 option called a PDK.

Although the engine has reasonable surge away from stops, it goes soft in the middle.

Stay with it, and the engine gets gutsy again around 5,000 rpm, pulling respectably to the eye-opening red line of 7,600 rpm.

While I would prefer to have a Boxster S with the larger 3.4-liter, 315-horsepower six in it — especially at 80 large — the smaller engine can still click off highly respectable 0-to-60 runs in 5.5 seconds, according to Car and Driver.

Pat the car on the back. The Boxster dropped 55 pounds, weighing in now at 2,882 pounds. (That's 150 pounds less, by the way, than a Volkswagen GTI.) That contributes to fuel economy of 22 miles per gallon in the city and 32 mpg on the highway.

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