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Delightful (and devilish) dozen: what to drive when styling and performance are paramount

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Porsche Boxster and Cayman

Base prices range: $52,396-$74,495 Boxster, $53,595-$76,195 Cayman

Boxster and Cayman can be thought of as more affordable alternatives to the German automaker’s legendary 911 Carrera. But don’t think these are poor relations. The Boxster is basically the convertible version of the Cayman coupe. Both have two seats and mount a horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine admidships to drive the rear wheels through a six-speed manual transmission or Porsche’s seven-speed dual-clutch manual. Neither car inexpensive, yet both are great value for the money. Some serious critics in fact consider the Cayman a more focused sports car than the 911. The base Boxster has a 265-horsepower 2.7-liter. The Boxster S and GTS have a 3.4-liter with 315 and 330-horsepower, respectively.

The base Cayman’s 2.7 has 275-horsepower, and the 3.4-liter in its S and GTS models rates 325 and 340, respectively. The GTS versions of both cars have different front and rear fascias from the other models and a GTS-specific interior package. Acceleration is all it needs to be, with base models around 5.5 seconds 0-60 mph. The Boxster GTS does it in 4.8 and reaches 178 mph, while the Cayman GTS with the PDK and standard launch control does it in 4.5. But it’s the way these cars attack a twisting two-lane that inspires. Impeccable steering, balance and grip create an intoxicating connection between driver, car and road. That these are beautifully designed and built creations, to boot, makes them easy first-ballot Best Sports Cars.

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to Carpreview.com two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for HowStuffWorks.com, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]