2005 Porsche Boxster

Written by tonks on February 8, 2007

2005 Porsche BoxsterThe Porsche Boxster and the Boxster S are the best-handling production roadsters. There are faster vehicles and certainly more powerful cars than the comparatively small-engined Boxsters, but none with their light, precise steering and cornering capability. And none that offer the option of top-down driving in addition to such superb handling.

Yet Porsche may be the world’s most conservative auto manufacturer. Once the company establishes a successful model, it retains that car’s look and configuration for decades. So it has been with the classic 911, redesigned only six times in its 41-year lifespan, and so it apparently will be with the Boxster. Introduced in 1996 as a mid-engine, six-cylinder two-seater with a shape that reminded many of the 1950s Porsche Spyder (think James Dean), it remained essentially unchanged, other than moderate horsepower and interior-options tweaks.

Despite being restyled inside and out, the more powerful second-generation Boxster introduced in 2005 doesn’t stray from Porsche’s conservative evolutionary path. It remains a mid-engine, six-cylinder two-seater that looks a lot like a Porsche Spyder. And that’s not a bad thing. Part of what makes Porsches instant classics is the fact that, if other Porsche models are an indication, only serious cognoscenti will be able to readily distinguish between a 2005 Boxster and a 2025 version.

The basic 240-horsepower 2005 Boxster (a gain of 15 hp) has become a bargain compared with its predecessor. For a base price of $43,800, it nearly equals the performance of the first-generation 258-hp Boxster S, which sold for $51,600, and it carries as standard equipment the Porsche Stability Management system, a finely tuned electronic anti-spin/skid platform, previously a $1,235 option.

Whether it’s an artful revision of the torque curve or simply the effect of 15 added hp, the 2005 Boxster immediately seems sprightlier than its 2004 equivalent, with the added power coming on strongly between 2,000 rpm and 4,000 rpm, the meat of the rev range. The 2005 Boxster S ($53,100 base price) benefits from a 22-hp jump to 280 hp and virtually equals the acceleration and top-speed performance of Porsche’s expensive 911 Carrera only five years ago. Both engines are smaller versions of the vaunted six-cylinder in the Carrera, but the Boxster exhaust has been tuned to play a distinctive tromboning wail like no other car.

Boxsters are not opulent cars. The bodywork and interior are of high quality, but there’s nothing tricky, purely decorative or lavish about them. In fact, the previous-generation’s interior was often criticized by picky car-mag writers for being too cheap-looking. Porsche has responded by upgrading the center console and dash with revised switchgear and titanium-look paneling for 2005. Some feel it’s an improvement, others think it gives the new Boxster a bit of a generic, Japanese luxury-car feel.

The Boxster’s seats are superb, even more supportive and body-shaped in the new version than before. They work nicely on long, lazy interstate cruises as well as short play sessions on back roads. I know one driver who stepped out of her own Boxster after a six-hour New York-to-Montreal marathon to declare the comfort unequaled in her experience.

And unlike many roadsters, the Boxster has no problem swallowing luggage for such a trip. It has two trunks, a small one in the rear and an amply deep one under the front hood. Forget about golf bags, but sizable duffels and gear for two or a week’s worth of family groceries fit just fine.

Posted Under: Cool Cars

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