Previous Boxster owners
were largely perceived as the type of people Ron Swanson might hate — pastel wearing, shoulder sweater draping, Mediocre University Honors graduates who yearned for the 911 Cabrio but either couldn’t afford it or couldn’t muster the skills. Of course, it was a Porsche, so it drove well and handled well, but aside from the S model, it seemed to lack that Stuttgart Blitzkrieg-like power that Porsche drivers expect. So with this new generation of the German roadster, Porsche decided to make it worthy of her pedigree. With lusty new looks and enough power to make you pay attention, the 2013 Porsche Boxster finally has all the classic traits of leadership.

Stepping into the Boxster, you’ll find that the looks are unabashedly Porsche. The leather stitching and bolstered seats mean business — they hug tighter than a pair of your sisters pants (gross, dude). Cast your gaze forward and you’ll find Porsche’s flamboyant response to the maniacal touch screen trend: buttons and knobs galore. Even though you can’t accuse Porsche of being especially great with ergonomics, the cabin is well done. Though in a remotely connected way the Boxster owes some credit to the Miata for its roadster spirit, this year’s model does lack the Miata’s interior ease of use. Granted, you won’t find a tenth of the tech in the little Japanese go-cart that you will in an optioned-out Boxster.

Driving through the neighborhood will get you more than a few looks and thumbs up; the fresh redesign even left people asking what kind of Porsche it was. The lackluster Boxster memories of the prior two generations fade quickly. It seemed that the Boxster needed to find its own design niche — prior designs seemed to struggle to look like the 911, but in a less expensive manner. What resulted was a body that had equal parts femininity and masculinity wrapped into one, something that only works gets by with male Calvin Klein models.

But the new sheet metal is distinct from the 911, and for the first time, it’s truly handsome. No longer slender in appearance from the side view, the Carrera GT supercar-like intakes give the car heft where it needs it, and the taillight integrated lip spoiler is a stroke of design genius. Yet, with all this aesthetic bravado, where the Boxster truly shines is on the highway. Our model as tested was equipped with Porsche’s Doppelkupplung (PDK) transmission and paddle shifters with an automatic option. In the manual option with Sport Plus mode engaged, the Boxster begs to go faster. It feels surprisingly difficult to slow it down.

Sport Plus mode enhances the handling and throttle response characteristics of the car. Once you push the button, the harder damping and direct steering become immediately perceptible and make for even more intensive road handling. This mode begets the shortest possible shift times and optimum shift points, while torque boosts during gear changes provide the maximum acceleration available.

All this adds up to lots of fun. The bottom line: always the bridesmaid the Boxster nevermore will be. She’s a bargain 911, the life of the party, sexy on the streets but as unbridled as the Stuttgart stallion whose badge she bears.