Used Vehicle Review: Porsche Boxster, 1997-2004 –

6 Jun 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Used Vehicle Review: Porsche Boxster, 1997-2004 –
Porsche Boxster

September 18, 2008

To paraphrase the Fabulous Thunderbirds, #8220;Wrap it up, I#8217;ll take it.#8221;

Many a car enthusiast would love to walk into a Porsche dealership and say these words, but that pesky money issue always seems to get in the way #8211; as in, there#8217;s never enough of it to put the P-car in your driveway.

Those values look pretty close to what you#8217;ll find sellers asking at, but it#8217;s far from the only place to look for a used Porsche. This Boxster FAQ offers a list of places to start; naturally, your local on-line classifieds are always a good bet. Getting in touch with a local Porsche club is a good idea, too.

2002 Porsche Boxster; photo by Laurance Yap. Click image to enlarge

The original Boxster came only in base flavour; these cars were powered by a 2.5-litre flat-six that made 201 horsepower. That would remain the case until 2000, when the more potent S model was introduced. It used a 3.2-litre six-cylinder good for 249 horsepower, while the base model got a larger 2.7-litre motor producing 217 horses.

More power increases came in 2003: 228 hp in base cars, and 255 in the Boxster S, though engine sizes remained the same. The 2004 model run included the limited production Boxster S 550 Spyder 50th Anniversary Edition, whose 3.2-litre engine got a five-horsepower bump over the regular S model.

Transmission choices were a five-speed manual or optional five-speed Tiptronic automatic in base cars, or a six-speed manual or five-speed auto in the Boxster S.

As performance cars go, the Boxster (not to mention many 911 models) is a surprisingly fuel-efficient car if you can muster the willpower to drive it gently. In 1999, the car earned Natural Resources Canada fuel consumption ratings of 12.3 L/100 km (city) and 8.2 L/100 km (highway) with a manual transmission.

The numbers are even better in later cars, where a base model is rated at 11.7/7.4, and the S at 12.8/8.2, again, both with manual transmissions.

This is one situation where the manual transmission is not only more fun, but will use less fuel in normal driving than the automatic.

In 2003, the original plastic rear window was replaced by glass, making these later models a little more desirable. Other series changes were limited to minor cosmetic updates.

The 2004 model year was the last for the first-generation (986) Boxster, as the second-gen (987) car arrived in 2005.

2003 Porsche Boxster S; photo by Paul Williams. Click image to enlarge

Porsches are terrific cars, to be sure, but they#8217;re still cars. As such, they#8217;re prone to mechanical failure and maintenance issues, just like any vehicle.

Some Boxster engines were prone to cracked or slipped cylinder liners, but a 2000 redesign resolved that problem. The owner of the car being discussed in this thread at suspects a bad cylinder liner was the cause of his car#8217;s demise.

Maintenance-wise, keep an eye on the twin front-mounted radiators. According to the FAQ at the low-mounted rads aren#8217;t well-protected from road debris and can become clogged over time, reducing cooling capacity. The FAQ suggests removing the front bumper and cleaning around the radiators every two or three years.

Porsche Boxster

The FAQ also suggests regular cleaning of the drains in the convertible top storage compartment. If these get clogged, water will build up and eventually collect on the floor of the cockpit, a situation that can damage the car#8217;s electronic control modules, which are under the seats.

2003 Porsche Boxster; photo by Russell Purcell. Click image to enlarge

A run-down battery is a bit of a catch-22, as this prevents access to the front trunk, which is where the battery is housed. The FAQ suggests a couple of work-arounds.

It#8217;s worth remembering that, no matter how much you like working on your own cars, the Boxster isn#8217;t a terribly DIY-friendly vehicle: the mid-mounted motor is accessible only from below, the only topside access points being the oil and coolant fill points in the rear trunk.

Transport Canada has issued a couple of recalls for the Boxster, but neither is terribly serious, and most of the used examples on the market today will likely have had these issues resolved already.

Neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has crash-tested the Boxster.

Any high-end vehicle can be a dicey used purchase, as out-of-warranty repairs and parts can be expensive. On the whole, though, the Boxster appears to be a pretty solid car, mechanically. Indeed, even Consumer Reports#8217; data shows far less evidence of electrical/electronics trouble, which is usually where European cars prove unreliable.

The publication does note a few problem areas, notably in fuel delivery and aforementioned engine flaw.

My suggestion, then, is this: if your budget limits you to an older model, look for one that has a solid service history so you can see what has and hasn#8217;t been dealt with already. Alternately, a newer model with fewer kilometres and the revised engine design should prove trusty provided, again, that the recommended maintenance schedule has been followed.

Porsche Boxster
Porsche Boxster
Porsche Boxster
Porsche Boxster
Porsche Boxster
Porsche Boxster
Porsche Boxster
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