5 July 2004

Porsche’s most accomplished junior sports car of all time – the Boxster – will be replaced early next year by this all-new model. Autocar’s photographer dodged security guards to obtain these exclusive, virtually undisguised photographs of a production car for the first time.

The new Boxster is expected to make its debut at this year’s Paris Motor Show in September before going on sale, much earlier than previously thought, next spring. And for the first time the roadster will be joined by a separate coupé model due next summer.

To achieve the economies of scale required of a relatively low-volume independent manufacturer, Porsche is closely interweaving the DNA of the Boxster with that of the new 911, codenamed 997 and driven by Autocar on 15 June.

The first-generation Boxster shared around 36 per cent of its components with the previous 996-era 911, and this commonality will be repeated. Our spy shots clearly show that the door handles, mirrors and possibly even the aluminium bonnet are shared by both models.

Styling is distinctly Boxster, although most body panels are new. The headlamps will become more rounded and larger front air vents feed the front-mounted radiators, while bigger vents ahead of the rear wheelarch ram air into the mid-mounted engine. Porsche is spurning the current fad for folding hard-tops on account of their unnecessary weight and complexity.

Most of the componentry shared with the 911 will be out of sight, including a four-way adjustable steering column, a repositioned pedal box for more interior space and many of the component sets used in the chassis and suspension.

Two carry-over, six-cylinder engines will power the new Boxster and Boxster S, although both horizontally opposed units will be upgraded. Capacities are expected to remain at 2.7 and 3.2 litres, although new VarioCam Plus valvegear will push power outputs up to around 240bhp and 270bhp.

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Expect the standard Boxster to top 160mph with 0-60mph in around 6.0sec, while the more powerful Boxster S will nudge 170mph and reach 60mph in 5.5sec. A new DSG twin-clutch gearbox will be available, but not at launch.

Sitting inside the snug two-seater cabin, drivers will notice a 911-sourced centre console, although the eye-level dashboard will be unique. A multi-function screen, larger glovebox and modern switchgear will be welcome additions, all absent on the ageing 1996 original.

Prices for the two models are likely to rise to around £32,000 and £39,000.

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