29 April 2004

These are the first pictures of the new Porsche Boxster shorn of its disguise, pictured here virtually as it will look when it lands in showrooms in under a year.

The popular mid-engine roadster has been extensively reworked for 2005 with a mass of changes that promise to make the second-generation model every bit as impressive as the original was at launch back in 1996.

Codenamed 987, Porsche’s new entry-level model will be built in roadster and coupé guises next time around.

The roadster will be the first of the new Boxster models to appear with a planned debut at the Detroit Motor Show next January. The coupe won’t be unveiled until the Frankfurt show in September 2005 and Autocar sources describe it as being more sporting than its open-top sibling. Mirroring the 911’s evolutionary redesign, the Boxster exterior is subtly reworked with oval headlights and new tail lamps along with revised bodywork that provides the car with a discreetly more muscular appearance.

Enlarged front cooling ducts feed the front-mounted radiator, while the mid-mounted engine is cooled by enlarged air ducts extending further down the side of the body featuring four louvres.

New door handles are now pull-out units rather than today’s ‘flap’ arrangements and the pop-up rear spoiler is slightly wider for extra downforce at speeds above 75mph – the point at which it extends from the rear bumper.

Power for the new Boxster roadster and coupé will come from the choice of two lightly reworked horizontally opposed engines: the existing 2.7-litre and 3.2-litre units both gaining around 10bhp, together with a considerable boost in low-end torque.

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A six-speed manual ’box will be standard, but buyers can pick a new six-speed Tiptronic operated by steering-wheel buttons or a push/pull mechanism. The DSG-style dual-clutch unit in this autumn’s new 911 will be available later in the Boxster’s life.

Also new are the tasty 18-inch alloys spied on this prototype. To reduce the unsprung weight, Porsche has developed a new lightweight design with two cut-outs in each of the five spokes.

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