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2001 Porsche Boxster REVIEW logo 4/5/2017

Con: Plastic rear window, regular Boxster's power is only adequate, price can become high when lots of options are ordered.

Pro: Supreme handling characteristics, plenty of power in Boxster S format, two large cargo areas, long list of features and custom trim.

Edmunds Say: An indication of just how good and desirable this car is: the fact that Porsche can get away with charging obscene prices for its options, such as up to $4,000 for wheels.

What’s New: Minor interior changes are in store for 2001. The Boxster S' thicker roof lining has migrated to the regular Boxster. Both cars now feature a hidden cell phone antenna, a gauge cluster design similar to the 911's, improved interior lighting and better dashboard material quality. Porsche has also added a new button to the ignition key to control the driver seat and outside memory function. In terms of optional equipment, the sophisticated Porsche Stability Management system is now available for the Boxster and Boxster S.

Review: Entering its fifth 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 these numbers are adequate, they are shy of the numbers posted by the Audi TT Roadster and the BMW M Coupe.

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 horizontally opposed 3.2-liter flat six also makes 33 more foot-pounds of torque, bringing that number to 225 and endowing the German roadster with a decidedly forceful personality. The S model also gets 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.


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