2000 Porsche Boxster and Porsche Boxster S
The Porsche Boxster S, left, joined the base Boxster in Porsche's 2000 lineup.
According to Car and Driver's Peter Robinson, a Boxster S had been ready to go in 1998, just "waiting for a call from marketing." The call finally came because "some real competition has shown up, the spanking new Honda S2000 and the proliferating Audi TT."
Robinson went on to explain that the S-model was intended to split the difference in price and performance between the base Boxster and the 911 Carrera. "Porsche wants the S to be interesting enough to attract current Boxster owners, but not so fast that it cannibalizes 911 sales."
But Porsche wasn't content with just one muscled-up Boxster, so it fortified the base model too. Swapping in the crankshaft and conrods from the related 3.4-liter Carrera engine increased stroke by 6 mm, lifting displacement from 2.5 to 2.7 liters. Horsepower climbed by 16 to 217 at 6500 rpm; torque improved by 11 pound-feet to 192 at 4500.
The Boxster S got a 3.2-liter engine with the same 78 mm stroke, a bore widened by 7.5 mm to 93, and the Carrera's latest Bosch Motronic ME7.2 engine computer. Horsepower totaled 250 at 6250 rpm. Torque measured 225 pound-feet, again at 4500 revs.
New for both engines was "e-gas," an electronic "drive-by-wire" throttle control to replace a mechanical linkage, which was now as old-hat as dial telephones.
To complement its extra power, the Boxster S was accorded a close-ratio six-speed manual gearbox (Tiptronic was optional), 17-inch rolling stock (18s were available for both models), and stiffer rear springs. It also boasted larger brakes, another Carrera crib, with front/rear diameters of 12.5/11.8 inches and red-painted calipers.
Exterior visuals involved a large "S" on the rear trunklid, twin round exhaust pipes instead one oval outlet, a central front air duct added to feed an extra radiator, and various titanium-color accents. The interior was more obviously "special," sporting a new three-spoke steering wheel, alloy-look paint accents, better-quality plastics, and an extra insulating layer for the top.
Porsche pegged the 2000 base Boxster at 6.4 seconds in the benchmark 0-60 dash, a modest 0.3-sec up on the 2.5-liter original. The real-world time was probably more like 5.9, but no one seems to have bothered checking, because media naturally focused on the S. And rightly so.
Though Porsche quoted 5.7 seconds here, Car and Driver clocked a 5.2-second sprint to 60 and a 13.8-second standing quarter-mile at 101 mph. "Who-eee, those are Porsche numbers," C/D exclaimed. Handling? As capable and forgiving as ever. C/D found "cornering grip to be excellent on this [S] at 0.92g, up just a shade from the 0.91 of the last Boxster we tested [both cars had the optional 18-inch boots]. The test S understeers predictably, about right for confident control on public roads."
Not all was bliss, however. C/D complained that several design details still weren't fixed after three years. And it groused about inevitably higher prices.
The base Boxster now started at $41,430, while the S debuted at $49,930, which was 911 money not too long before. Alas, prices would keep on rising, and for the same old reason: a weakening dollar, now overpowered by the euro. Even so, Boxster sales held up well.
The 2000 Porsche Boxster S ran with 250 horsepower to the base Boxster's 217.
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