Road Test | Porsche Boxster

There I was, alone in the redesigned 2003 Porsche Boxster, leaning into a few tight turns at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., completely unable to wipe the huge smile from my mug. The steering was tight and responsive. The location of the shifter, on top of the center console, made changing gears effortless. Introduced in 1997, the Boxster is Porsche's entry-level car. Priced in the low $40,000s, it's a real sports car for about the same price as a fancy SUV. If you put the new Boxster next to last year's model, the outward changes are subtle: a glass rear window (with defroster) replaces plastic; new engine technology boosts horsepower slightly to 225, and small design changes on side air-intake holes and front and back bumpers give the car a cool, modern look. What's not different is the Boxster's supreme road performance.

-Tara Weingarten

Tip: A lot of Porsche, a little price.

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