The Boxster is a mid-engine roadster that takes its name from the union of Porsche's classic, horizontally opposed six-cylinder "boxer" engine architecture with a roadster body. In the case of the Boxster, that body echoes such famous mid-engine Porsche sports and racing cars as the 550 Spyder and the RS60.
The Boxster was unveiled as a stunning concept car at the North American International Auto Show at Detroit in January 1993. After an overwhelmingly positive response from around the world -- and an extensive period of development and testing -- Porsche put its newest sports car into series production as a 1997 model.
Ever since the Boxster's launch, the car has undergone continual enhancements. Those updates truly accelerate for 2003 with a more powerful engine, a new top with a glass window and a wider range of standard equipment.
New front and rear fascia improve the car's appearance as well as its performance efficiency. Performance is enhanced even more with the availability of new light-alloy wheels that reduce unsprung weight.
New VarioCam® technology and Motronic ME 7.8 engine management software increase the output of the Boxster's 2.7-liter engine and also make the engine more fuel-efficient while reducing exhaust emissions. Horsepower increases to 225 horsepower (SAE) at 6,300 rpm (compared to 217 horsepower for the 2002 model). The engine's torque figure remains 192 pound-feet at 4,750 rpm.
The 2003 Boxster can accelerate from a standing start to 100 km/h (62 mph) in only 6.4 seconds, an improvement of two-tenths of a second over the 2002 model. But even with this improved performance, the Boxster gets better fuel mileage. For 2003, its EPA figures are 20 mpg in the city and 29 on the highway (compared to respective numbers of 19 and 27 in 2002) and 11.7 liter/100km and 7.4 for Canada. Those figures are for a Boxster with its standard five-speed manual transmission; the Tiptronic® S transmission is available and also shows performance improvements for the 2003 model year.
Refinements to the car's styling contribute to these improved performance figures and also provide the Boxster with an even more contemporary -- and more 911®-like -- appearance.
The lower section of the roadster's face has been refined with enhanced side air intakes and a subtle redesign and extension of the front lip. These changes improve airflow through and around the car.
The redesigned convertible top has a fourth support bracket and a glass window with an electric defroster. The top still goes up or down in only 12 seconds, but its revised shape allows improved airflow to a redesigned rear spoiler that emerges from the car's rear deck at 75 mph (120 km/h) and retracts at 50 mph (80 km/h).
The side-mounted air scoops that feed cooling air to the Boxster's engine have been redesigned for improved efficiency and also have body-colored grids.
The rear section of the car gets new turn indicator light covers and a redesigned exhaust pipe that is flanked by thin but wide vents that enhance the car's appearance while also providing more cooling airflow around the exhaust system. For 2003 the Boxster gets the same shock absorbers as the Boxster S model, and the car's performance can be further enhanced by the availability of new optional wheels. The Boxster comes with standard 16-inch wheels, but a new, optional 17-inch wheel is more than half a pound lighter than the 17-inch wheel that was available on the 2002 model. Also optional for 2003 is an 18-inch light-alloy wheel previously available on the 911 Carrera. This wheel reduces unsprung weight by nearly six pounds per wheel compared to the 18-inch wheel available in 2002.
Also new for the 2003 model year is Porsche's new Communication Management system (PCM) that incorporates tuners, CD player, navigation system and trip computer, all connected to each other through the new Media-Oriented Systems Transport (MOST) digital databus.
Completing the subtle but significant changes for the Boxster for 2003 are the addition of such standard features as a new, 911-style cupholder that pops out of the dashboard, remote unlocking front and rear trunks as well as the passenger doors, and a lighted and locking glove compartment. The air-conditioner and heat controls have been moved from the console to the dash for easier accessibility and use, and instead of black leather, the steering wheel, gearshift lever, door handles and handbrake lever are trimmed in the same color leather as the rest of the interior.
The Boxster continues to provide such safety technology as its patented crumple-zone body structure, inertia-reel three-point seatbelts with pretensioners and load limiters, dual front airbags, door-mounted side airbags and anti-lock brakes. Boron steel tubing reinforcements around the windshield and supplemental safety bars behind the seats help provide protection in rollover accidents. The Porsche Stability Management system (PSM) is available as an option.
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