The 2005 Porsche Boxster launched the second generation of this sports car.
But eight years is an eternity in the car business, and Porsche knew the Boxster would eventually need overhauling to keep pace in a market sector ruled as much by fashionistas as gearheads. Accordingly, designers and engineers got out the fine-tooth combs they'd used for the Porsche 911's 2005 transformation from the 996 generation to the new 997 series.
Significantly, the 2005 Boxster and Boxster S had their own new type number, dumping 986 in favor of 987. They didn't look very different at a glance, but Porsche said they were 80-percent-new, second-generation cars. Closer inspection confirmed it.
Leading the many changes was another power boost, achieved mainly with new "staged" intake manifolding and freer-flow exhaust systems. The 2.7-liter engine added 12 horsepower to reach 240 at 6400 rpm, while the S-model's 3.2-liter claimed 280 horsepower at 6200 rpm, up 22. Torque in each case swelled by seven pound-feet to 199 and 236, respectively, and on tap from 4700 to 6000 rpm.
Both manual transmissions got beefier internals and shorter-throw shifters, and the S-model's standard six-speed was newly available for the base Boxster.
Chassis revisions, as usual, aimed to add strength, subtract weight, improve dynamic response, or all three. A wider axle expanded front track about an inch, and new pivot bearings aided steering precision. The steering itself was the 911's latest variable-ratio mechanism that "speeded up" once the wheel was turned 30 degrees from center.
A redesigned rear subframe furnished more lateral stiffness, and all springs, shocks, suspension mounts and bushings were tweaked. The last was necessitated by larger rolling stock.
The S moved up to standard 18-inch wheels with 235/50 front tires and 265/40 rear covers. These were available for the base model in lieu of 17-inch rims with 205/55s and 235/50s. Optional for both models were new 19-inch alloys wearing 235/45 and 265/35 tires.
Another first-time extra was Porsche Active Suspension Management, computer-controlled shock absorbers that varied firmness to suit speed and road conditions within driver-selected normal and sport modes. This, too, was borrowed from the latest 911s. Brake discs were enlarged to 11.73-inch diameter for the base car and to 12.5 for the S. Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes were yet another new extra, with the same $8,150 surcharge as on 911s.
The revamped 2005 Porsche Boxster had 240 horsepower and started at $43,800.
In a change that puzzled some, the '05 Boxsters got the same new-look front end as 997 Carreras, with oval headlamps, larger bumper air intakes and more-prominent fenders. The rest of the skin was new and exclusive, but the changes were subtle, though rear fenders added visual muscle via a nominal 0.8-inch gain in overall body width. Other exterior dimensions changed little or none.
Not so the cockpit, which sported a handsome new dashboard, more-legible gauges, cleaned-up minor controls and visibly higher-grade plastics. Slightly larger door windows made for an airier top-up ambience. The top itself was restyled with a lighter frame and could now be operated on the move at up to 31 mph.
Prices went up again, the base Boxster starting $1,200 higher at $43,800, the S rising $1,500 to $53,100. But those were modest hikes given the many improvements, and standard equipment now included the trip computer and PSM antiskid/traction control that had been options.
A final new option was a 911-style Sport Chrono Plus Package that provided more-aggressive control maps for the throttle, suspension and antiskid systems, just the thing for weekend track days and autocrossing.
For all their added goodies, the 2005 Boxsters were only 33-45 pounds heavier than previous models, yet weren't dramatically quicker. Car and Driver, for instance, timed a six-speed S at 5.1 seconds 0-60 mph; Porsche claimed 5.2 for it, 5.9 for the base car.
And yet this was another Porsche that somehow exceeded the sum of its changes. Indeed, the Boxster S nosed out the flip-top C6 Chevrolet Corvette in a four-way C/D comparison test.
"Sure, the Vette has a ton of protein calories, but the Boxster is the complete meal," the editors explained. "[It] squirts from corner to corner with race-calibrated steering, peerless damping of body motions, and delicious mechanical noises from the back. Decreasing radii, pitching surfaces, granular pavement-the Boxster keeps you grinning through it all...Pleasure is the Boxster's deliverable."
The 2005 Porsche Boxster S shows the revamped Boxster's elongated side vent.
For prices, reviews, and more on Porsche from the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide, see:
- Porsche new cars
- Porsche used cars
- 2007 Porsche Boxster
- 2005 and 2006 Porsche Boxster
- 1997 to 2004 Porsche Boxster