What's New for 2000
The big news for 2000 is the Boxster S. This more powerful version of the Boxster features a bigger engine that generates 250 horsepower. The regular Boxster (if you can call it that) also gets a horsepower boost in 2000, going from 201 to 217. Both models feature upgraded interior materials and new exterior colors.
Entering its fourth year of production, the 2000 Boxster is Porsche's competitor in the mid-priced sports car market. Considerably cheaper than Porsche's legendary 911, the mid-engine Boxster has successfully wooed back buyers left out in the cold after the departure of the 944 and the undesirable 968.
The Boxster's strengths lie in its handling and driver comfort, but its horsepower has always been considered rather average. Recent competition (the BMW M Roadster and the Honda S2000) has made the deficit even more noticeable. Good thing for Porsche the new Boxster S has arrived.
The Boxster S offers a higher level of performance and standard features. A wider bore increases engine displacement to 3.2 liters. With power-boosting technologies like a dual-resonance air intake and variable valve timing, the Boxster S produces 250 horsepower at 6,250 rpm and 225 foot-pounds of torque at 4,500 rpm. Porsche says the engine produces 85 percent of its peak torque at just 2,000 rpm. Porsche also equips the car with larger brakes and a stiffer suspension.
The Boxster also makes gains for 2000, now producing 217 horsepower at 6,500 rpm. It still features a five-speed manual transmission, but the Boxster S comes with a six-speed manual transmission derived from the 911. Both cars can be ordered with a five-speed Tiptronic S automatic transmission. The Tiptronic S allows drivers the option to manually select transmission gears via steering wheel-mounted thumb switches. If left in "D," the Tiptronic S still monitors driver inputs and road conditions, and adjusts shift points accordingly. For 2000, the Tiptronic's manual mode can be activated by using the thumb switches, even if the shift lever is in the "D" position.
Both versions continue to have one of the best cockpits in this market segment. With the top lowered, the Boxster offers more cargo space than any of its competitors. The car's mid-engine layout allows two trunks, which combine to provide an impressive 9.1 cubic feet of cargo space. Besides cargo, the Boxster's cockpit has a good deal of space for two occupants and features wonderful, cradling seats. For 2000, the Boxster gains a new soft-touch grain instrument panel and other upgraded interior trim. The shifter, door handles, and hand brake lever now have an aluminum-like finish.
For safety, front and side airbags are standard, and roll bars are built in behind the seats. High-intensity gas-discharge headlights are an option, and so is a GPS navigation system. Finally, the Boxster has a fast-closing automatic top, going from completely open to completely closed in a scant 12 seconds -- perfect for those unexpected rain showers.
The new Boxster S should put Porsche back on top of the mid-level sports car market in terms of pure performance. However, the Boxster has never been cheap, and at just under $50,000, the Boxster S is almost $18,000 more than the Honda S2000. That's a pretty big pill to swallow.