Developed in conjunction with the 996-model 911, the Boxster was an entry-level model to replace the aging 968. It was an all-new design that carried nothing over from the previous Porsche. In order to reduce costs, the new car was cleverly developed in close conjunction with the new 996-model 911. Indeed, from the front bulkhead, the Boxster and 996 were virtually identical.
The Boxster (internal model number 986) was an open-topped car with a mid-mounted, water-cooled flat-six engine that was similar to the larger unit in the 996. The 2.5-litre engine had four valves per cylinder, VarioCam variable valve timing and Bosch Motronic engine management. The engine was totally hidden from view – all the owner could see was filler caps for the oil and coolant.
Strictly a two-seater, the cockpit was modern and well-equipped, with an electrically operated hood that folded neatly away when open. A hard-top was an optional extra. Luggage could be stored in compartments at the front and back of the car.
With 204bhp on tap, the Boxster offered reasonable but not earth-shattering performance – it was universally agreed that the car’s mid-engined configuration could cope with much more power.