German Flag Porsche Boxster (986) ~ 1996-05

Porsche Boxster, 986It seems that history repeats itself with Porsche being again on the verge of bankruptcy or on the selling block during the 90’s. After the low sales volume of the 968 ending in 1995, Porsche needed a new entry-level car, the choice came naturally with the worldwide acclaimed 1993 Porsche Boxster concept designed by Harm Lagaay.

Porsche Boxster, 986The little Roadster or should I say Speedster overall design has been retained, however the 550 Spyder’s aura has been tamed with less curvy shoulder lines, flatter headlights (fired egg) inspired by the 1989 Panamericana concept and front hood, while the sublime and expensive interior was gone. But who could complain even if the rear with its retractable spoiler could be confused for the front and vice and versa, Porsche made a little two-seater Roadster/Speedster/Spyder with a boxer engine…well the Boxster (986) as an entry-level car at the end of 1996… long gone were the 924 years!!!

Porsche Boxster S, 986, interior dashboardThe dashboard had three dials collapsed into each other with a bridge like visor leaving a front view between it and the dials. For practicality, two trunk spaces were available at the front and rear of the car made possible by a mid-rear engine layout.

Porsche Boxster S, Porsche BoxsterThe engine was all new but it had Porsche genes written all over it with a boxer flat 6-cylinder of 2.5 liter / 151 cu in producing 204 ps / 201 hp at 6000 rpm and with a weight of 2756 lb / 1250 kg, the Boxster could reach 60 mph in 6.5 sec with a top speed of 147 mph / 236 km/h.

Porsche Boxster S, Porsche BoxsterIn late 1999 the long awaited Boxster S made its entry with the flat-6 swelled to 3.2 liter / 194 cu in now producing from a bigger displacement, bigger intake valves along with a twin resonance induction system 252 ps / 250 hp at 6250 rpm. Now capable of sprinting to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds and with a top speed of 162 mph / 260 km/h, Porsche Boxster S, 986the Boxster S changed the little speedster game. With the already available 5-speed Tiptronic auto gearbox (best to avoid) the increase of power also came with a 6-speed manual transmission derivate from the Porsche 911 (996) as well as the suspensions and the “E-gas” which was a drive by wire throttle system, making the car more responsive.

Porsche Boxster S, 986On the outside, aside from the rear “S” badge, the Boxster S could mainly be identified by three air-intakes on the front bumper, and two central rear exhaust pipes instead of the single oval unit found on the “standard” Boxster. Also the front and rear turning signals lost their amber color for a better suited clear smoked tone, Porsche Boxster S, 986except in the USA where they stayed amber. The more detail oriented people would also have noticed that the more powerful brake calipers went from black to red, and the 3 main background dials graduated from black on the regular Boxster to white with bezels on the “S” model. Inside, the quality improved and a slimmer and more modern 3 branch steering wheel was fitted as standard for all markets for 2001.

Porsche Boxster, 986Also for model year 2000 the base model Boxster received a bigger 2.7 liter / 164 cu in engine producing 220 ps / 217 hp at 6400 rpm, but the 5-speed manual transmission remained. The good news was the changes made to the interior switches now shading their tacky glossy finish and erasable markings to a more durable finish. For safety measures the Porsche Stability Management system (PSM) was optional and allowed better handling while cornering and braking in bad weather or poor road conditions.

Porsche Boxster, 986For model year 2003, the power rose again with 228 ps / 225 hp at 6300 rpm for the standard model and 260 ps / 254 hp at 6200 rpm for the Boxster S. Aside from this the bumper air-intakes and now color matching side intakes were reworked with a busy slatted pattern, while Federal Boxsters now also received color matching rear overriders and clear blinkers. The exhausts were also redesigned and a few new wheel designs were also unveiled. Porsche Boxster S, 986Another improvement was the replacement of the plastic rear window soft-top for a glass window and finally a glovebox was added, but sales started to plummet and in 2004 the limited production Boxster S 550, in reference to the 1953 Porsche 550 Spyder (James Dean’s fatal car), showed the end for the Boxster model 986. The 550 had 266 hp, the sports package, a unique silver paint, and a full cocoa leather interior with red taillights; it also was well equipped with a numbered interior plaque going up to…1,953 limited cars.

Porsche Boxster 550 Spyder, 9862004 was the last production year for the first generation of the Porsche Boxster model 986. After all the “Poor man’s Porsche” name calling, the Boxster handled better than its big brother 911 due to its mid-rear engine layout. It also is a pure 2-seater roadster, and all this was reflected in the staggering sales bringing Porsche out of its financial trouble in less than a decade, IMS/RMS problems or not ;)


Porsche Boxster (986) Specifications - 1996-05
Model/Year Porsche Boxster
Porsche Boxster
Porsche Boxster S
Designer Harm Lagaay    
Engine Type Mid-rear Mounted
All alloy Flat-6, Water-cooled,
DOHC. 4V/24V
Capacity 2480 cc / 151 cu in 2687 cc / 164 cu in 3179 cc / 194 cu in
Fuel Feed Bosch FI.    
Power 204 ps / 201 hp @ 6000 rpm 220 ps / 217 hp @ 6400 rpm
228 ps / 225 hp @ 6300 rpm (2003)
252 ps / 250 hp @ 6250 rpm
260 ps / 254 hp @ 6500 rpm (2003)
Torque 181 lb-ft / 245 nm @ 4500 rpm 192 lb-ft / 260 nm @ 4250 rpm 225 lb-ft / 305 nm @ 4500 rpm
Transmission 5-Speed - RWD
5-Speed Tiptronic
5-Speed - RWD
5-Speed Tiptronic
6-Speed - RWD
5-Speed Tiptronic
Top Speed 236 km/h / 147 mph 250 km/h / 155 mph 260 km/h / 162 mph
"0-60" mph - 0-100 km/h 6.5 sec 6 sec 5.7 sec
6.7 sec (Tiptronic)
Chassis Unitary Steel    
Weelbase 2415 mm / 95.07 in    
Front Suspension MacPherson Struts, Coil Springs,
Tube Shocks, Anti-roll Bar
Rear Suspension Multilink, Coil Springs,
Tube Shocks, Anti-roll Bar
Brakes Vented Disc all around,
Front Tires 205/50ZR-17 205/50ZR-17 205/50ZR-17
Rear Tires 255/40ZR-17 255/40ZR-17 225/40ZR-18
Steering Rack & Pinion
Variable Power Assist
Weight 1250 kg / 2756 lb 1275 kg / 2811 lb 1295 kg / 2855 lb (manual)
1335 kg / 2943 lb (Tiptronic)
Country of Origin Germany    
Production Num.      
Porsche Boxster 550 Spyder Edition -
The Boxster 550 Spyder's
Cocoa leather interior isn't
everybody's tastes but at least
it is luxurious and well equipped.
Porsche Boxster -
Here is the reworked 2003
slat accentuated side intake
design now body color matched
instead of the usual black finish.
Porsche Boxster S -
No matter what the body color,
the original 1996-99 black rear side
air-scoop here to cool the mid-rear
mounted Flat-6 was finished in black.
Porsche Boxster -
The Original rear taillights
and curvacious rear fenders.
Porsche Boxster 550 Spyder -
In 2004 the last special edition called the
"550 Spyder 50th Anniversary Edition"
in reference to James Dean's fatal car
was only produced at 1,953 units,
noting the production year release
of the original 550 Spyder. Notice the
rear bumper lower lip, the color
matching overriders and special worked
exhaust tip also standard from 2003.
Porsche Boxster -
For 2003 the refreshed design
included a "slatted" theme seen here
on the front bumper side intakes.
Porsche Boxster S -
For MY 2000 the front and rear turning
signals lost their amber color for a
more modern clear tone except in the
USA where they stayed amber.
Porsche Boxster -
When introduced, the headlights
now dubbed "fried egg", were
controversial. The base level
Boxster as this one didn't have
a third air-intake between the
two main on the bumper.
Porsche Boxster -
Once retracted, the soft-top is
partially covered under an
automatically operated rear
top panel, while the soft-top's
hard front section by the
headrests is still exposed.
Porsche Boxster -
The cozy interior is protected by
a strengthened windshield frame and
fixed rear rollover hoops fitted just
behind the seats.