The Porsche Boxster is a mid-engined roadster built by Porsche. The Boxster is Porsche's first road vehicle since the 550 Spyder that was originally designed as a roadster.
The first-generation Boxster (the 986) was introduced in late 1996 as a 1997 model; it was powered by a 2.5 litre flat six-cylinder engine. In 2000, the new Boxster S variant was introduced with a larger 3.2 litre motor, and the base model received a more powerful 2.7 litre engine. In 2003, styling and engine output was upgraded on both variants.
In 2005, Porsche unveiled the new generation of Boxsters: the type 987. The 987 is more powerful than its predecessor and featured styling inspired by the Carrera GT. Engine output increased in 2007, when both Boxster models received the engines from their corresponding Porsche Cayman variants. In 2009, the Boxster models received several new cosmetic and mechanical upgrades, further increasing engine output and performance.
Production of the 986 began at the former Porsche 928 facility in Stuttgart, Germany in 1996. Valmet Automotive also manufactures Boxsters under contract to Porsche at a facility in Uusikaupunki, Finland. The Boxster was Porsche's biggest volume seller from its introduction in model year 1997 until the company introduced the Cayenne sport utility vehicle in model year 2003.
The Boxster's name is a portmanteau of the word "boxer", referring to the vehicle's horizontally-opposed or "boxer" engine, and the word "roadster", referring to the vehicle's two seat capacity and convertible top.
Harm Lagaay's Boxster design study stimulated a commercial turnaround for Porsche after several difficult years of falling sales.
The visual appearance of the first generation of the Boxster was heavily inspired by the Porsche 356 Spyder and Speedster as well as the Porsche 550 Spyder. The Boxster was released ahead of its big brother, the 996. Through consultation with Toyota, Porsche greatly decreased the cost of manufacture, and introduced large-scale sharing of components between its models. The 986 Boxster had the same bonnet, front wings, and distinctive 'fried-egg' headlight units as the 996. Its original 2.5L M96 engine shared the same architecture with the 3.4L engine used in the 996. Many believe the combination of the new Boxster / 911 styling and the reduced build costs through component sharing saved Porsche from being acquired by another car company.
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