This two-seat, mid-engine convertible arrived early in 1997 as the first all-new Porsche in 19 years as part of the recent wave of retro-style roadsters. For 2000, Porsche adds a Boxster S model with a larger, more powerful engine and gives the base model more muscle.
The Boxster name comes from the boxer engine design that has horizontally opposed cylinders, favored by Porsche and the roadster body design.
Styling on the Boxster recalls the look of the Porsche 356 models of the 1940s and 1950s and the 550 Spyder. The front end is similar to that of the rear-engine Porsche 911.
The Boxsters power-operated canvas top has a plastic rear window. A 55-pound removable aluminum hardtop with a glass rear window with defogger is optional. A wind deflector that mounts behind the seats to reduce turbulence also is optional.
In traditional Porsche style, the vertical steering wheel telescopes but doesnt tilt, and the pedals are attached below the floor instead of above, which takes time to get used to with a manual transmission. Also according to Porsche tradition, the interior has body-hugging bucket seats, a no-nonsense design and Teutonic furnishings.
With the engine mounted behind the seats and ahead of the rear axle, Porsche found luggage space at both ends of the Boxster. They add up to a modest 9 cubic feet.
Under the Hood
The Boxster S gets a new 3.2-liter six-cylinder engine with 250 horsepower, while the base models six-cylinder grows from 2.5 liters to 2.7 and horsepower rises from 201 to 217. Both engines have horizontally opposed cylinders, instead of inline or a V configuration, that are mounted behind the seats and ahead of the rear axle.
A six-speed manual transmission is standard on the Boxster S, and the base model comes with a five-speed manual. On both Porsches, five-speed Tiptronic automatic is optional, which allows changing gears manually through steering wheel switches. Traction control is standard on the rear-drive Boxster.
Porsche is a company that builds racecars and adapts the technology to its road cars. The Boxster maintains the tradition for placing performance over creature comforts.