Porsche Introduces a Brawnier Boxster for 2013

A substantially revised Boxster was unveiled by Porsche on Thursday, mere days after the German automaker’s executives packed up from the Detroit auto show media previews.

While this Boxster unmistakably follows in the footsteps of previous models, Porsche called the two-seat sports car’s lightweight body entirely new and its chassis completely revamped.

The car will continue to be offered in standard and S specifications. Both cars wear more strongly defined fender and quarter-panel curves, along with side sculpting evocative of the Carrera GT, all of which impart a more powerful appearance.

The base model is powered by a 265-horsepower, 2.7-liter horizontally opposed 6-cylinder, which edges the previous model’s 2.9-liter unit by 10 horsepower. The 3.4-liter H-6 that motivates the pricier Boxster S develops 315 horsepower — five more than its predecessor but five less than the Boxster Spyder’s 3.4 liter. Both power plants benefit from direct fuel injection, which was previously unique to the larger-displacement engine. Other enhancements include electrical system recuperation, efficient thermal management and a fuel-saving start-stop function.

A 6-speed manual transmission remains standard with both engines, and a 7-speed PDK double-clutch automatic transmission is also offered. As has been the case with Porsche products since the PDK’s debut, the brand asserts that the automatic affords the quicker 0-60 m.p.h. time, clocking in at 5.4 seconds with the base engine and 4.7 seconds with the 3.4-liter. Times for the 6-speed manual were not disclosed.

With a wider track and a wheelbase two and a half inches longer than that of the outgoing model, the 2013 Boxster is expected to be a bit more stable and forgiving, and PTV torque vectoring, which applies brake pressure to the inside rear wheel in cornering, should make the vehicle turn in with alacrity. It can also help save drivers who push too hard from embarrassment or injury. Torque vectoring was previously offered only on more expensive Porsche models.

An available Sport Chrono Package, which provides acceleration and handling upgrades, is activated when the driver presses a sport-mode button. In the recently refreshed 911, pressing the button remaps the throttle response in the control computer, alters the shift action of the PDK transmission, stiffens the suspension dampers and raises the threshold for stability management. The latter feature would allow the Boxster driver to wag the car’s prominent tail a bit.

The new Boxster models are expected in American showrooms by early summer, with the standard car starting at $50,450 and the S at $61,850.