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Porsche Boxster S (2000 – 2002)

In 2000, Porsche gave us the Boxster S, with a 3.2 liter naturally aspirated flat-6 and 250 hp.

Porsche Boxster S 986 Profile - Large
Porsche Boxster S (986.1)
2000 - 2002
3.2 L Nat Aspirated Flat-6
250 bhp @ 6250 rpm
225 ft lbs @ 4500 rpm
0 - 60 mph
5.60 seconds
Top Speed
161 mph

(2000 – 2002) Porsche Boxster S – Ultimate Guide

For the 2000 model year, the 2.5-litre flat six-cylinder engine in the base Boxster model was upgraded to a 2.7-litre engine, but the most exciting thing to happen in 2000 was the introduction of the Boxster S variant to the Boxster lineup. The base Boxster was having to complete with growing outputs in cars like the M3, so additional power was much appreciated by fans of the Boxster.

For 2000, the no-suffix Boxster’s crankshaft stroke is up 6 millimeters to 78mm, which increases displacement to 2687c c from 2480. The Boxster S maintains this increased 78mm stroke while its bore is enlarged 7.5mm to 93, thereby upping displacement to 3179cc.  The net result is a 25-percent increase in horsepower, from 201 bhp to 252 – about halfway between the standard Boxster’s power output and that of the 296 horsepower Carrera. The engine gets drive-by-wire throttle and a system of tuned intake runners to boost torque; they switch to longer runners in the 3000-to-5100 rev range. Both Boxster engines are smaller-displacement versions of the 3.4-liter six used in the 911 Carrera, and they share the variable intake-valve timing system of the larger powerplant.

Hardware changes are abundant, including a new dual resonance intake manifold and the introduction of “E Gas” drive-by-wire throttle technology. A third radiator fitted to the revised front fascia adds extra cooling capacity, and the Carrera donates its heavier-duty crankshaft and Motronic ME 7.2 engine management system. Lest you fear the longer stroke might subdue the Boxster’s rev-happy nature, fuhgetaboutit: Redline actually increases by 200 revs, to 7200. There were two gearbox choices also. The driving fans got a new, closer-ratio six-speed manual that starts off with a lower (numerically higher) first gear. The new fifth is geared about where the old fourth was, with sixth, of course, becoming the overdrive. Closer gear spacing means less rpm dropoff between shifts.

The 3.2 liter flat six is good for 250 bhp @ 6250 rpm and 225 ft lbs @ 4500 rpm, really amping performance in the process too. 0 to 60 mph now takes 5.60 second (compared to 6.5 for the 2.7 L base model). Top speed is 161 mph and the quarter mile is 14.1 seconds. With more than 250 horsepower the S is taken to a whole new level in terms of performance, but it isn’t just the numbers that tell the story. The extra power and torque means the long sleeping potential of the chassis could be fully exploited. The Boxster now has sufficient power to oversteer the rear tires so that it is more adjustable in corner. The basic steering tendency remains to be mild understeer most of the time. The wonderful steering feel remains unchanged. Porsche is so confident that it made no modification other than slightly revising the rear suspension geometry and installing firmer springs / dampers to cope with the extra 45kg kerb weight as well as the increased cornering speed. 

When Porsche grafted an S onto its mid-engined droptop for the year 2000, it turned up the knob in all the right places. – Car and Driver

From behind the wheel, the Boxster S rushes forward in a way that is missing from the base model, that torque increase really making itself known. The midrange is so lusty, the six-speed’s ratios are so perfectly spaced, and the pipe-organ music from behind is so sweet that you can happily play on the back roads without pushing to the 7200 redline. It feels faster than the numbers suggest and it isn’t just faster in a straight line either, carving and slicing through the corners with a whole new energy that is utterly addictive.

The design got some tweaks too, albeit small changes over the base model. The 986 Boxster S 3.2 gets a third air intake in the middle of the nose to draw air to the third radiator and the titanium molding that circulates around the windshield. At the back, the S gets a double exhaust pipe (vs the single on the base model) and the addition of the S badge. The cabin now is surrounded by high quality plastic, some painted in aluminium colour. Standard equipment level has been upgraded. The increased performance of the Boxster S is matched by the more powerful brakes with red aluminum brake calipers and perforated discs. 17-inch wheels are standard on the S. The cab comes standard with a 3-spoke steering wheel, white face gauges with the speedometer readings rise to 300 km/h .

Both Boxster 2.7 and Boxster S 3.2 are Y-series for the 2000 model year. The models remained quite similar for 2001 (1-series) and 2002 (2-series). The 2001 model year’s options list includes the PSM – Porsche Stability Management system (M476). Another interesting option is the Sports Exhaust System (XLF), which allows the driver to adjust the exhaust sounds.