Sporty/performance car; Built in Germany
  • 2-door convertible
  • transverse mid-engine/rear-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $6,600 – $16,500*


2000 Porsche Boxster S


1997 Porsche Boxster Roadster


1997 Porsche Boxster Roadster


2000 Porsche Boxster Roadster


2000 Porsche Boxster S

Pros:
  • Acceleration
  • Side airbags (1998-up)
  • Steering/handling
  • Braking
Cons:
  • Noise
  • Passenger room
  • Ride

As a more affordable Porsche, the Boxster is mainly for those who appreciate a Porsche’s special virtues. BMW’s 6-cylinder Z3 2.8 is a more “traditional” sports car that’s close in performance, while some observers favor the Mercedes-Benz as the best all-around machine. All are good in their way, and cost about the same, so take your pick. No, it’s not perfect; but Boxster is a genuine sports car, and genuinely entertaining on the road.

Overview

An “entry-level” Porsche debuted for 1997, serving as the company’s reply to popularity of “retro” 2-seaters. First previewed four years earlier as a show car, introduced after the start of the 1997 model year, it was the company’s first all-new model in 19 years. Named in part for the flat “boxer” (horizontally opposed) configuration of its midmounted water-cooled engine, the Boxster was a 2-passenger roadster. Porsche intended to compete against the Mercedes-Benz SLK and BMW Z3, and perhaps attract a few buyers who might otherwise fall for a Mazda Miata (which cost considerably less). Mounted just behind the cockpit, Boxster’s 2.5-liter dual-overhead-cam 6-cylinder produced 201 horsepower and drove the rear wheels through either a 5-speed manual gearbox or an optional 5-speed “Tiptronic” transmission–an automatic that permitted manual shifting. A power-operated soft top and antilocking 4-wheel disc brakes were standard. Most maintenance work had to be done from the underside. The only other service access consisted of a behind-the-seats port for checking coolant level and replenishing engine oil. High-performance Z-rated 16-inch tires were wider in back than up front. The power top fit behind a hard cover. One small trunk sat at each end of the car, offering combined capacity of 9.1 cubic feet of lockable cargo space. Options included 17-inch wheels/tires, traction control, and a cockpit “wind blocker.” A 55-pound aluminum hardtop also was available, as was a roof storage system for toting skis or bicycles (with the top up or down). An automatic child-seat detection system could be dealer installed.

Yearly Updates

1998 Boxster
Two safety-related changes marked the 1998 season: standard door-mounted side airbags, and an optional child-seat detection system. The latter system automatically deactivated right-side airbags when a special child safety seat was installed.
1999 Boxster
Nothing of consequence changed for 1999 with Porsche’s “entry-level” model.
2000 Boxster
A new high-performance Boxster S model debuted this year, while the base engine grew a bit and gained power. The base engine grew to 2.7-liter displacement and 217 horsepower (up 16). A 250-horsepower, 3.2-liter flat 6-cylinder engine went into the new Boxster S, which used a new 6-speed manual transmission and 18-inch tires (optional on the base model to replace the usual 17-inchers). The Boxster S also benefited from larger brake discs, suspension upgrades, and dual exhaust outlets.
2001 Boxster
Newly optional for 2001 was the Porsche Stability Management antiskid system. Boxster also got revised gauges, new standard electric front and rear trunk releases, softer rollbar coverings, and LED “orientation lights.”
2002 Boxster
The few additions for 2002 included an in-dash cupholder in place of a clip-on, and an in-trunk emergency release.
2003 Boxster
Base engine gained 11 horsepower to 228 and S engine gained 8 to 258. A glass rear window replaced plastic in the convertible top. All models got modified front air intakes, body-color vs. black side scoops, and “smoked” plastic turn-signal lenses. Climate controls are relocated and Boxster’s first conventional dashboard glovebox is added.
2004 Boxter
The only addition to the 2004 Boxter is the newly available optional sport exhaust system.

Engines

transverse mid-engine/rear-wheel drive

Mounted behind the cockpit, the initial 2.5-liter, horizontally opposed 6-cylinder engine developed 201 horsepower. A 5-speed manual transmission was standard. Boxsters might instead have Porsche’s 5-speed “Tiptronic” transmission, which allows manual (but clutchless) gear selection. Two new dual-overhead-cam engines emerged for 2000: an enlarged (2.7-liter) base six, and a 3.2-liter six for the new high-performance S model, which got a 6-speed manual gearbox. For ’03 base engine gained 11 horsepower while the S engine gained 8.

dohc H6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.5/151
Engine HP 201
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 180
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
5-speed automatic
19/26
17/24
21.7

dohc H6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.7/164
Engine HP 217-228
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 192-192
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
5-speed automatic
20/28
17/25
18.2
dohc H6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.2/194
Engine HP 250-258
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 225-229
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
5-speed automatic
18/26
17/24
19.4

Road Test

Looks are just the starting point of the Boxster’s appeal. It may be the latest “budget” Porsche, but the Boxster is no less a thoroughbred sports car than its big-brother 911. This roadster entertains most on twisty roads, tracking with grippy sure-footed stability, little body lean, and sure control, aided by rifle-quick steering with ample feedback.

Unfortunately, the penalty for this handling prowess is an annoyingly stiff ride, with constant minor pitching on some freeways, and lots of thumpy jiggle over tar strips and patches. Add in marked noise from engine, wind, and tires, and the Boxster would be wearing on a long Interstate trip.

Although the engine is strongest at higher rpm, there’s enough low-end torque for punchy standing starts and quick passing sprints. Still, our manual-shift test car disappointed slightly in the 0-60 mph test at 7.5 seconds (Porsche claims 6.7).

Fuel economy is excellent for the performance, however. We averaged a laudable 21.7 mpg in spirited city/highway driving. “Panic” braking is arresting-cable swift. Mash the pedal and the Boxster just hunkers down and stops.

Some drivers feel cramped in a Boxster, even with the top down, while others have no complaints. Audio and climate controls are handy but confusing. Many drivers would prefer a tilt steering wheel instead of the standard telescopic adjustment. As it is, the wheel rim tends to mask part of the tachometer face.

Additional gripes: an old-fashioned floor-hinged gas pedal; analog and digital speedometers; no in-dash glovebox; and no top-side engine access other than three “service” ports in the rear trunk.

On the plus side, the Boxster’s two cargo holds (front and rear) take a fair bit of stuff for a 2-seater, the seats are supportively comfortable, and visibility is okay despite a “bathtub” driving position and the soft top’s fairly blind rear quarters. That top works quickly and seals well, but isn’t completely covered when folded under its lid. Also, the plastic rear window seems cheap at this price.

The optional behind-the-seats wind blocker is effective, but cumbersome to remove or install.

Boxster is solid and rattle-free for a modern ragtop. One test car had some body shake over railroad tracks, though paint was gorgeous and panel fits precise–a sharp contrast to the thin, cheap-looking black plastic used on the dashboard and console.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2001 Porsche Boxster

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 7
70%
Fuel Economy - 5
50%
Ride Quality - 2
20%
Steering/Handling - 8
80%
Quietness - 1
10%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 3
30%
Room/Comfort Front - 4
40%
Room/Comfort Rear - 0
00%
Cargo Room - 2
20%

Other

Value - 2
20%

Total: 34

Specifications

2-door convertible
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
95.1 169.8 70.1 50.8
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
9.1 15.3 2
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.4 41.6
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1999 Boxster 2-door convertible

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Front Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 124
Injury 45
Theft 149

Trouble Spots

Dashboard lights
Description: The check-engine light may come on due to a loose gas cap or damaged gas-cap seal. (1998-99)
Engine misfire
Description: An engine miss might be caused by water in the air-cleaner housing. A water-separator bowl must be installed in the housing intake. (1997)
Oil leak
Description: A steel plug in the cylinder head may cause an oil leak. An aluminum plug is available to correct the problem. (1997)
Vehicle noise
Description: On cars with a manual transmission, the power-steering-pump belt may squeal during parking maneuvers. Replacing the original aluminum pulley with a steel pulley eliminates the noise. (1997-98)
Vehicle shake
Description: If the hardtop rattles, replacing the centering-pin caps with redesigned caps might correct the problem. (1997)
Check-engine light
Description: Leak in oil filler hose between crankcase and service unit might cause check-engine light and engine roughness. (1997-2000)

Recall History

1997-98
Description: Contact buckle supplied with child-seating system airbag-deactivation kit does not deactivate the airbag.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.