CARS.COM — Not only does the 2017 model year mean a full redesign for the Porsche 718 Boxster, it is also the 20th birthday for the mid-engine roadster. That gives us a chance to look back and see how it has changed over the past two decades.
It’s not just the Porsche Boxster that was different back in 1997; Porsche was a very different company, as well. Today, Porsche is a full-fledged luxury car company selling not only sports cars like the Cayman, but also a pair of SUVs and a large touring sedan. In 1997, however, its portfolio comprised just two cars: the iconic 911 and the newly released Boxster after Porsche ended production on the front-engine 968 a year earlier.
The Boxster signaled a new direction for Porsche. The 968 was more of a touring car while the Boxster was designed to be more of a pure sports car in the vein of the 911. It used a flat six-cylinder engine like the 911, mounted in the middle of the car for superior balance and weight distribution. The Boxster was also the first Porsche to be designed as a roadster since the 550 Spyder in the 1950s, which was important for the car’s performance. If you design a car to not have a roof from the get-go as opposed to chopping the roof off a coupe, it means you can dial in the handling and suspension with that body style in mind.