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Porsche Boxster

Porsche Boxter Car 986


Porsche 986

The Porsche Boxster is a mid-engine roadster built by Porsche. The first-generation Boxster (the 986) was introduced in late 1996 as a 1997 model. It was Porsche's smallest and least expensive vehicle, taking over from the front-engine Porsche 968, which was discontinued in 1995.

Porsche Boxster

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Early Boxster models were powered by a 2.5 litre flat six-cylinder engine. In 2000, the new Boxster S variant was introduced with a larger 3.2 litre motor, and the base model received a more powerful 2.7 litre engine. In 2003, styling and engine output was upgraded on both variants.

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In 2005, updates were substantial enough that Porsche internally identified the Boxster as a new 987 model. The 987s were more powerful than the 986s; engine output increased yet further in 2007, when both Boxster models received the motors from the corresponding Porsche Cayman variants.

Production of the 986 began at the former Porsche 928 facility in Stuttgart, Germany in 1996. Valmet also manufactures Boxsters under contract to Porsche at a facility in Uusikaupunki, Finland. The Boxster was Porsche's biggest volume seller from its introduction in model year 1997 until the company introduced the Cayenne utility vehicle in model year 2003.

The Boxster's name is a combination of the word "boxer", referring to the vehicle's horizontally-opposed or "boxer" engine, and the word "roadster", referring to the vehicle's convertible top.



The styling of the Boxster is owed to former "Style Porsche" department head Harm Lagaay. His Boxster design study and the production Boxster stimulated a commercial turnaround for Porsche after several difficult years of falling sales.

Porsche 986
Manufacturer Porsche
Production 19962004
Engine(s) 2.5 L H6 (1997-1999)
2.7 L H6 (2000-2004)
3.2 L H6 (2000-2004)
Transmission(s) 5-speed automatic
5-speed manual
6-speed manual
Wheelbase 1997-2002: 95.2 in (2418 mm)
2003-04: 95.1 in (2416 mm)
Length 1997-2002: 171.0 in (4343 mm)
2003-04: 170.1 in (4321 mm)
Width 70.1 in (1781 mm)
Height 50.8 in (1290 mm)

The first generation of the Boxster whose visual appearance was heavily inspired by the Porsche Spyder and Speedster as well as the 550 Spyder. The Boxster was released ahead of the release of its big brother, the 996 model 911. Through consultation with Toyota, Porsche greatly decreased the cost of manufacture, and introduced large scale sharing of components between its models. Indeed, the Boxster has the exact same bonnet and front wings as the 996, and shares several other components. Its original 2.5L M96 engine is the same basic design as the original 3.2L M96 engine used in the 996; these were the first water-cooled engines employed in a rear-engine Porsche. It's widely seen that the combination of the new Boxster/911 styling and the reduced build costs through component sharing that saved Porsche from becoming owned by another car company.

The M96 is used in all 986/987 Boxsters, and most of the 996/997 range (except the GT3/GT2 and Turbo, which are based on the GT1 racing engine). The M96 is a horizontally opposed ("flat") six-cylinder layout. This layout is one of only four engine layouts that have a natural engine balance, the others being the straight six (as used in many of BMW's engines); the flat 12; and the V12. This gives the engine a characteristic smoothness throughout the rev range. The flat six is also an inherently flat engine, so can be mounted lower in the car. Its placement immediately ahead of the rear axle offers the Boxster excellent balance, a low center of gravity, and renowned neutral handling characteristics. The M96 engine design had well documented problems during early production (leading to a small, but significant number of engine failures due to cracked piston linings) however since a minor redesign in 2003 these problems are reported to have been resolved.

Porsche Boxter Car


Porsche 987

Boxster 986 Model History:

  • 2.5L 201 bhp (150 kW)
  • 2.7L 217 bhp (162 kW)
  • 3.2L 250 bhp (186 kW) Boxster S introduced
  • 2.7L 228 bhp (168 kW)
  • 3.2L 258 bhp (190 kW)
  • 3.2L 264 bhp (194 kW) Boxster S 550 Spyder 50th Anniversary Edition limited to 1953 cars

The model received a minor facelift in 2003. The plastic rear window was replaced by a glass window. Porsche installed a different exhaust pipe and modified air intake. In addition, the often disliked orange "fried egg" front indicators were replaced with clear glass indicators, and the rear light cluster was also changed from red to clear.

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550 Spyder 50th Anniversary Edition

In 2004 the 550 Spyder 50th Anniversary Edition was released, a production run of just 1953 cars. The Anniversary Edition cars are all painted GT Silver Metallic, the same color as the car show version of the Carrera GT supercar, and had unique cocoa brown full leather interior as standard, with grey natural leather as a no-cost option. Each car also received special interior paintwork, high-end BOSE sound system, two-tone grey and silver 18" Carrera wheels (unpainted as another zero-cost option), 5 mm (0.2 in) wheel spacers, the Boxster S sport exhaust, the 030 option lower sports suspension, and a plate on the center console piece commonly known as the "batwing" showing the production number. On American market cars the rear turn signals were red, whereas they remained clear for the rest of the world.

Porsche Boxter 550 50th Anniversary Edition


50th Anniversary 550 Porsche Boxter


The second generation of the Boxster (internally known as the 987) made its debut at the 2004 Paris Motor Show alongside the new 911 (997). The car became available for model year 2005.

Porsche 987
Manufacturer Porsche
Production 2005
Assembly Finland
Engine(s) 2.7 L flat-6 (2005-)
3.2 L flat-6 (2005-2006)
3.4 L flat-6 (2007-)
Transmission(s) 5-speed automatic
5-speed manual
6-speed manual
7-speed DCT
Wheelbase 95.1 in (2415.5 mm)[1]
Length 2005-08: 171.6 in (4359 mm)[1]
2009-: 172.0 in (4369 mm)
Width 2005-08: 70.9 in (1801 mm)[1]
2009-: 71.5 in (1816 mm)
Height 51.0 in (1295 mm)[1]
Curb weight 3,130 lb (1,420 kg)[1]
Fuel capacity 16.9 US gal (64.0 L)[1]

In appearance the car remains very similar to the previous generation. The most obvious styling change is to the headlights, which now have a profile

similar to those of the Carrera GT, Porsche's mid engine supercar. The intake vents on the sides of the Boxster are now larger, with more pronounced horizontal slats and are coloured metallic silver, irrespective of the paint colour on the rest of the car. The wheel arches have been enlarged to allow wheels up to 19 inches in diameter, a first for the Boxster series. The most significant updates from the 986 series are in the interior, with a more prominent circular theme evident in the instrument cluster and cooling vents. Porsche claims that the 987 Boxster shares only 20% of its components with its predecessor, despite their being almost identical from the outside. The base engine is a 2.7 L 176 kW (240 hp) flat-6, with the Boxster S getting a 3.2 L 206 kW (280 hp) engine. The Cayman series is derived from the 987.

For the 2007 model year the base Boxster received a revised engine featuring VarioCam Plus to provide a 5 hp boost (245 hp; the same as the Cayman). The Boxster S engine was upgraded from 3.2L to 3.4L, resulting in the production of 15 more hp (295 hp; the same as the Cayman S). These upgrades made the Boxster series and the Cayman series equivalent in terms of horsepower. (In terms of bhp/tonne the Boxster scores better because of its lighter weight.)

Porsche Boxter Car


Porsche 987

Boxster 987 Model History:

  • 2.7L 240 bhp (176 kW)
  • 3.2L 280 bhp (206 kW) Boxster S
  • 2.7L 245 bhp
  • 3.4L 295 bhp Boxster S


In 1998, after a year of marketplace acceptance in the United States, the original Boxster was the recipient of many awards, including those listed:

  • Car & Driver One of the 10 Best Cars of 1997
  • Automobile Automobile of the Year
  • Motor 1997 Performance Car of the Year
  • Autocar Best Roadster in the World
  • Motorweek 1997 Drivers Choice for Best Sports Car
  • The Philadelphia Inquirer Best Sports Car of the Decade
  • Newsweek One of the Best New Products of 1997
  • BusinessWeek One of the Best New Products of 1997
  • American Marketing Association Best New Product of 1997
  • Automobile Journalists of Canada 1997 Car of the Year
  • Automobile Journalists of Canada Best Design of 1997

The Boxster has been on Car and Driver magazine's annual Ten Best list eight times, from 1998 through 2003 and 2006 through 2007.

The Boxster S (986s) was rated as one of the top ten Porsches of all time by Excellence magazine.


  1. "Into the Sunshine: 2005 Porsche Boxster Revealed", an article in the "News" section on page four of the 10 May 2004 issue of AutoWeek

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