What's New for 2002
The Boxster stands pat for '02.
Entering its sixth year of production, Porsche's captivating Boxster is a purpose-built sports car for people who love a challenge, designed to go fast and provide optimum feedback while demanding the driver's undivided attention. It rewards skilled pilots with an unparalleled thrill ride and an unrivaled exhaust note.
There are two models available: the Boxster and the Boxster S. The regular Boxster is equipped with a 2.7-liter flat six engine that produces 217 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 192 foot-pounds of torque at 4,750 rpm. While adequate, the Boxster is a bit short on power compared to cars like the BMW M Coupe and Honda S2000.
Pop the extra $9,000 for a Boxster S and you get a half-liter increase in engine displacement and 33 more horsepower, for a total of 250, to adequately fling the car through your favorite set of S-turns. The 3.2-liter also makes 33 more foot-pounds of torque, endowing the German roadster with a decidedly forceful personality. The S model comes with a six-speed, short-throw manual transmission (as opposed to the Boxster's five-speed), a larger radiator, a revised suspension, 17-inch (up from 16-inch) wheels and more standard equipment. There is still plenty of optional equipment left to order, though, and doing so can quickly jack up the price to Porsche 911 territory. Certainly worth considering is the Porsche Stability Management system, a stability control system that helps to prevent dangerous skids and spins.
Two adults fit just fine in the Boxster, and the supple leather seats are mighty comfortable for most folks. Substantial bolstering holds occupants in place on tight turns, and nicely sculpted door panels provide a great spot to rest an arm while driving. Wind protection isn't great, so prepare to have your hair tousled even with the windows up and the wind blocker in place. On the plus side, cowl shake is nearly non-existent, with only slight amounts of shimmy evident, and there is an ample 9.1 cubic feet of cargo space available.
As a daily driver, the Porsche isn't well equipped to deal with the realities of ever-changing weather conditions, multi-tasking behind the steering wheel, and low-speed traffic situations. Its delicately balanced chassis, confounding interior ergonomics, lack of a cupholder and stiff steering, brakes and clutch conspire to make it a chore around town. Buy a Mercedes SLK320 or Audi TT Roadster if your primary driving environment resembles the Disneyland parking lot.
Rather, the Porsche Boxster shines as a weekend getaway vehicle, providing comfort and space for two adults and their belongings with driving characteristics improving at speed. Take the long way, running hard on as many twisty two-lane roads as you can find with someone who loves road trips just as much as you do, and you'll immensely enjoy one of the most memorable overnight vacations you've had in years.