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2004 Porsche Boxster Convertible

2dr Roadster 5-Spd Manual

Starting at | Starting at 20 MPG City - 29 MPG Highway

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  • $42,600 original MSRP
Printable Version

2004 Porsche Boxster Convertible

Printable Version

2004 Porsche Boxster Convertible


2004 Porsche Boxster

Source: New Car Test Drive


Now seven years old, the 2004 Porsche Boxster is officially a classic. We fell in love when we first drove it and that love has not diminished over time in spite of other roadsters now vying for our affection.

Porsche has been improving on this mid-engine roadster ever since its introduction as a 1997 model. Boxster got a bigger engine and an improved interior for 2000, and Boxster S was introduced that same year with an even more powerful engine. There were significant improvements for 2003, though they are subtle. All of these improvements enhance the quality of the original without affecting the basic attraction.

The basic attraction is the Boxster's embodiment of the Porsche 356 Speedster and 550 Spyder. Steering response, clutch take-up, shift tension between gears, all are familiar in a fashion that can only be labeled Porsche. Yet the Boxster has that mid-engine, pivot-at-its-center feel, with none of the tail-heavy temperament that was the hallmark of the rear-engine 911 for so long.

The standard Boxster offers plenty of performance, and its engine was revised last year (2003) for quicker acceleration. More important, it sounds much better. Dipping into the throttle at higher revs rewards the driver with a deep, muscular whoosh of air rushing through the intakes that's satisfying, intoxicating. Yet the Boxster engine is quite tractable, great for putting around residential areas or busy parking lots at low rpm. It handles superbly yet rides very nicely, a wonderful balance.

We prefer the Boxster S, though. Boxster S retails for $9,000 more than Boxster, but, after all, it's your money. The S does everything better than the Boxster while maintaining what makes the original wonderful. The 3.2-liter engine delivers noticeably more thrust than what's on tap from the 2.7-liter. Though the standard Boxster is no softie, the Boxster S has firmer suspension tuning. Most important, the S is gratifyingly distinguished by its bright red brake calipers, easily seen through the elegant spokes of its specially designed wheels. Gotta have 'em.

From a practical standpoint, the Boxster is eminently livable. The top can be raised or lowered at a moment's notice, making top-down motoring an easy decision. It rides smoothly and feels tight and rigid. It's impressively free of the vibration that normally accompanies convertibles. It may not be as comfortable as a new 911, but its seats are supportive and comfortable and it comes with a high level of standard equipment. There are other roadsters that cost less, but the Boxster offers a style and character that is uniquely Porsche and very satisfying. In short, we've never tired of driving the Boxster.

Model Lineup

Porsche Boxster ($42,600) comes loaded with leather seats, automatic climate control with a pollen filter, a double-lined power top with a glass rear window, telescoping steering wheel, AM/FM/CD, power windows, power locks, and a remote key fob with buttons to unlock the doors, the hood and the trunk lid. It also comes standard with side-impact airbags (and, of course, dual frontal airbags).

Powering the Boxster is a 2.7-liter horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine. Boxster comes standard with four-wheel ventilated disc brakes with four-piston calipers and Bosch ABS. It's equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels and an automatic rear spoiler.

Boxster S ($51,600) differs primarily by its performance equipment. The S comes with a 3.2-liter engine, a six-speed gearbox in place of the Boxster's 5-speed, a sport-tuned suspension, and 17-inch wheels. The S is distinguished by its additional front air intakes.

Porsche is notorious for offering a lot of options and Porsche owners are notorious for ordering them. Among them: premium Bose audio systems, a wind deflector ($375) that reduces buffeting when the top is down, Park Assist ($530), Porsche Stability Management ($1,235), various wheel and tire combinations, and a long list of interior trim options that allow a buyer to individualize and enhance the car. It's easy to (happily) drive a $50,000 Boxster off the lot and it's not hard to spend considerably more.


2003 brought significant styling revisions, but they are so subtle that only the keenest observers notice. Overall, the styling tweaks make the Boxster look a bit lower and longer. Yet the most significant cosmetic change is a glass rear window that replaces the clear plastic. A new roof provides for a more rounded and balanced shape.

Also new for 2003: Side intake grilles are body-colored, not black. The front air dam is redesigned with larger grilles. The rear valance is lower, with a new grille of its own and larger exhaust tips. The retractable rear spoiler has been reshaped to help maintain Boxster's benchmark 0.31 drag coefficient despite all the larger grilles. Fashionable white/gray turn indicators have replaced yellow ones.

The Boxster looks clean, purposeful and pure Porsche. From the front, the Boxster looks similar to the 911. In fact, they share front-end sheet metal though there are differences in the headlamps, bumper fascia and other details. From the rear, the Boxster suggests a blend of Porsche cars from the 1950s, specifically the 356 Speedster and 550 Spyder.

While the front of the Boxster is very similar to the 911, their proportions differ from the base of the windshield rearward. Unlike the rear-engine 911, the Boxster engine is mounted ahead of the rear axle rather than over the rear axle or behind it. This mid-engine configuration yields excellent weight distribution. Just as important, it puts most of the car's mass between the front and rear axles, a big asset when making rapid maneuvers; and that's what cars like this are all about.

Boxster S is distinguished from the Boxster by its twin exhaust outlets, additional air dam intakes, and wheels.

Boxster measures 170 inches overall, significantly longer than the BMW Z4, Mercedes-Benz SLK, and Honda S2000. But the Boxster wheelbase is about the same as that of the SLK and S2000, and shorter than that of the Z4. The Porsche is relatively light (2811 pounds for the standard Boxster, 2911 for Boxster S). Boxster is about 100 pounds lighter than the BMW, about 280 pounds lighter than the Mercedes, and about the same weight as the lightweight Honda. Lighter is better for braking, handling, and acceleration performance.

2004 Porsche Boxster
2004 Porsche Boxster
Interior Features

As roadsters go, the Porsche Boxster is comfortable and its features are easy to operate.

The Boxster's convertible top is power operated. Dropping the top is as easy as twisting a lever above the rearview mirror and pressing a button. It takes 12 seconds to lower. Raising it is just as easy. It's so quick and easy that we performed this maneuver while waiting for a light to change at an intersection, though we don't condone this behavior. A luxurious headliner enhances the appearance and cuts wind noise when the top is up. When the top is down, you can stretch the optional clear plastic wind deflector ($375) between the upper seatbacks to minimize interior buffeting. Porsche also offers a removable hardtop ($2,345) that includes a rear window defogger; it's useful for harsh winter weather and driving through the mean streets.

There's plenty of room for two people in this little roadster and the bucket seats are outstanding. Comfortable and supportive, the standard seats come trimmed with leather. You can spread more cowhide around the interior with the leather interior package ($2,980) or spring for natural leather ($3,520).

Also standard is electronic climate control. The system is easy to operate with a big Auto button and an LED that clearly displays the temperature, even in bright sunlight. Like most German cars, turning the fan all the way down is the easiest way to turn it off. Most controls are easy to use. However, the digital audio system, new for 2003, has too many small buttons, requiring too much attention from the driver. As with most small roadsters, the audio sounds tinny, a description that also fits the optional Hi-Fi Sound Package with six speakers, two bass enclosures and six-channel amplifier ($830). An optional Bose High End Sound Package ($1,625) is available, but we have no experience with it.

Consistent with virtually every Porsche ever made, the Boxster is all business inside. But the instruments represent something of a departure from Porsche tradition. Three round pods are fused together, with the speedometer on the left, coolant temperature and fuel on the right and a big tachometer dominating the center. The speedometer and tachometer are analog, but there are small digital readouts at the bottom of each pod for the odometer and clock. A digital speedometer provides some useful redundancy. Overall, it's an attractive and effective blend of classic with contemporary.

A pair of steel tube hoops, mounted behind the seats and extending above the seatbacks, provides extra protection for drivers unlucky enough to find themselves upside down. Other passive safety features include dual frontal airbags, door-mounted side-impact airbags, three-point seatbelts with pretensioners and load limiters.

With usable trunk space front and rear, the mid-engined Boxster has more stowage than most small roadsters. Both boots can be opened from the remote key fob, a feature that was added for 2003, but the remote on our car had a short range and we occasionally pressed the wrong button. Inside, Porsche has addressed a significant shortcoming by adding a glovebox, 5 liters big and wired to the alarm system. The cup holders, redesigned for 2003, pop out between the center vents and climate controls, but are flimsy. The optional navigation system ($2,630) was upgraded for 2003 and features a bigger, brighter display; called Porsche Communication Management, the system integrates navigation, audio, and trip computer.

Luggage space is apportioned between fore and aft compartments, and is surprisingly good for a small two-seater. Getting at the engine, however, is another story. Although you can get to fluid reservoirs readily enough, access to the engine itself comes from below. Major maintenance should therefore be performed by your nearest authorized service facility.

2004 Porsche Boxster
2004 Porsche Boxster
Driving Impressions

Driving the Porsche Boxster is a joyful experience, whether on a winding mountain road, on a closed racing circuit, or putting around town. Its excellent balance between handling and ride quality makes it easy to live with.

One of the things that impressed us while driving a standard 2004 Boxster was its tractability. It motors along with no complaints at very low rpm, making for pleasant cruising around town. Stand on the throttle, and the 2.7-liter engine springs to life, emitting a deep growl (actually more of a rowl) in the upper rev range. The standard Boxster offers plenty of performance for most folks and we'd be completely happy with it, assuming we stayed out of the Boxster S.

Revised for 2003 with Porsche's VarioCam technology and a new engine management system, the standard Boxster's 2.7-liter engine puts out 225 horsepower at 6300 rpm and 192 foot-pounds of torque at 4750 rpm. Boxster can accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in only 6.4 seconds, according to Porsche, an improvement of 0.2 seconds over the 2002 model. Top speed is estimated to 155 mph in the Boxster.

Boxster S gets a bored out version of the same engine, a 3.2-liter that serves up 258 horsepower at 6200 rpm and 229 foot-pounds at 4600 rpm. The added power reduces 0 to 62 mph acceleration times to 5.7 seconds.

At a glance, the Boxster engine is classic Porsche with roots that date to Ferdinand Porsche's early work in the 1930s. The horizontally opposed six-cylinder "boxer" layout offers packaging advantages because the pistons lie flat, which helps keep the center of gravity low. But the Boxster engine represents the state of Porsche art with twin overhead cams, four valves per cylinder, variable cam timing, and liquid cooling.

Boxster comes standard with a wonderful 5-speed manual gearbox, while Boxster S comes with a similarly wonderful 6-speed manual. Porsche's 5-speed Tiptronic S automatic ($3,210) is available for both models. The Tiptronic offers its operator the choice of full automatic operation or fingertip push-button self-shifting. It's the best compromise between stick and automatic on the market and works extremely well, but it's also the most expensive. A manual gearbox provides better performance and efficiency and seems more fitting for the Boxster. We prefer it.

Porsche brakes are legendary and braking in the Boxster is superb. Oversize vented discs are used on all four wheels plus Porsche's excellent antilock system. Porsche Stability Management ($1,235), or PSM, is a recommended option as this anti-skid system can correct skids can help you stay on the road in an emergency handling maneuver.

The Boxster generates impressive grip in the wet, whether braking or cornering. PSM helps greatly in slippery conditions, making it more difficult to make a mistake in this car. You can apply the throttle aggressively in a slippery turn and the stability system will prevent a spin.

As much as we like the standard Boxster, the Boxster S has more power and the engine revs more freely. Both engines sound wonderful at high rpm, generating a classic Porsche sound similar to that of the 911 and Porsche race cars. The Boxster S develops 85 percent of its peak torque at just 2000 rpm, providing outstanding throttle response.

But the real fun lies in the Boxster's precise response to driver commands. Mid-engine balance, an excellent chassis, and firm suspension tuning add up to a level of agility and stability that seems a cut above the Boxster's key competitors. No wrestling is required to guide this roadster down to the apex of a fast turn. It seems to anticipate the driver's intentions without a hint of hesitation or uncertainty. The ride quality is firm, but that adds to its appeal. The Boxster gets the same shock absorbers as the Boxster S, and the standard 16-inch wheels can be upgraded to lightweight 17- or 18-inch wheels.

So, Boxster or Boxster S? It's a much tougher call than it was before the base model was improved and comes down to personal preference. Enthusiasts who appreciate taut handling and quick acceleration performance and drivers who like ripping down mountain roads or autocrossing appreciate the higher state of tune of the Boxster S. Others are quite satisfied with the standard Boxster. While spending a week in Southern California with a Boxster, we never felt a longing for a Boxster S, we never felt that something was missing. If you're unsure, our recommendation is for the standard Boxster. Those who need the performance of the S, and you know who you are, will feel it's money well spent. Others will prefer to bank the cost difference or spend it on options that enhance the standard model.

2004 Porsche Boxster

The Porsche Boxster is an almost flawless sports car. It looks great and it sounds great. It provides a wonderful driving experience. And it has its own persona.

There are, of course, other roadsters available, the BMW Z4, Honda S2000, Mercedes SLK, and Audi TT, plus less-direct competitors such as the Mazda Miata, Nissan 350 Z, Chevrolet Corvette, and Lexus SC430. These are all good choices in their own right and most of them cost less than a Boxster. But none of them is a Porsche. And as they say, there is no substitute.

Model Line Overview

Model lineup: Porsche Boxster ($42,600); Boxster S ($51,600)
Engines: 2.7-liter dohc 24v horizontally opposed 6-cylinder; 3.2-liter dohc 24v horizontally opposed 6-cylinder
Transmissions: 5-speed manual; 6-speed manual; Tiptronic S 5-speed automatic
Safety equipment (standard): dual frontal airbags, side-impact airbags, rollover bars, ABS, belts with pretensioners and force limiters
Safety equipment (optional): N/A
Basic warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles
Assembled in: Stuttgart, Germany

Specifications As Tested

Model tested (MSRP): Porsche Boxster ($42,600)
Standard equipment: automatic climate control w dust/pollen filter and activated charcoal odor filters, digital AM/FM/CD, leather seats, power windows w one-touch auto up/down and anti-jam, power locks, power heated mirrors, telescoping steering wheel, anti-theft system, power soft top, front and rear luggage compartments with remote power releases, 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels, automatic rear spoiler, fog lamps, heated windshield washer nozzles
Options as tested (MSRP): 18-inch light alloy Carrera wheels ($2,920); wheel caps with colored crest ($175); cruise control ($570); Porsche Stability Management ($1,235); HI-FI digital sound system ($830); remote control alarm system ($450); Windstop deflector ($375); floor mats ($95); metallic paint ($825)
Destination charge: ($765)
Gas guzzler tax: N/A
Price as tested (MSRP): $ 50,840
Layout: mid-engine, rear-wheel drive
Engine: 2.7-liter dohc 24v 6-cylinder
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 225 @ 6300
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm): 192 @ 4750
Transmission: N/A
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy: 20/29 mpg
Wheelbase: 95.1 in.
Length/width/height: 171.0/70.1/50.8 in.
Track, f/r: 57.7/59.2 in.
Turning circle: 35.8 ft.
Seating capacity: 2
Head/hip/leg room, f: 38.1/NA/41.6 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m: N/A
Head/hip/leg room, r: N/A
Cargo volume: 9.1 cu. ft.
Payload: N/A
Towing capacity: N/A
Suspension, f: independent
Suspension, r: independent
Ground clearance: N/A
Curb weight: 2811 lbs.
Tires: 225/40ZR18, 265/35ZR18
Brakes, f/r: disc/disc with ABS
Fuel capacity: 16.9 gal.


Unless otherwise indicated, specifications refer to test vehicle.
All prices are manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSRP) effective as of September 17, 2002.
Prices do not include manufacturer's destination and delivery charges.
N/A: Information not available or not applicable.
Manufacturer Info Sources: 1-800-767-7243 - http://www.porsche.com


Copyright © 1994-2003 New Car Test Drive, Inc.

Printable Version

2004 Porsche Boxster Convertible

Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Std
Traction/Stability Control Opt

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Side Air Bag Std

Road Visibility

HID Headlights Opt
Fog Lamps Std
Electrochromic Rearview Mirror Opt
Intermittent Wipers Opt
Variable Inter. Wipers Opt
Rain Sensing Wipers Opt

Accident Prevention

Rear Parking Aid Opt


Alarm Opt
Printable Version

2004 Porsche Boxster Convertible

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Basic 4 Years/50,000 Miles
Drivetrain 4 Years/50,000 Miles
Corrosion 10 Years/Unlimited Miles
Roadside Assistance 4 Years/50,000 Miles

Porsche Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

The Porsche Approved Certified Limited Warranty comprises two distinct limited warranty coverages.
  1. The limited warranty covers up to 6 years or a cumulative 100,000 miles/160,000 kilometers, whichever comes first if the vehicle is still under the new car limited warranty.
  2. The limited warranty covers 2 years from the date of sale, up to 50,000 miles/ 80,000 kilometers to a cumulative 100,000 miles/ 160,000 kilometers from the current mileage on the odometer at the time of purchase.
The Porsche Approved Certified Pre-owned Limited Warranty offers full peace of mind. Porsche Cars NA will repair or replace with new or remanufactured part any factory installed part that is faulty in material or workmanship under normal use. This limited warranty covers all parts of the following components:
  • Engine
  • Fuel / Cooling system
  • Power train / transmission
  • Suspension / Steering
  • Brake system
  • Heating / Air conditioning
  • Electrical Systems
  • Body
  • Comfort Electronics
Age/Mileage Eligibility 8 yrs from original service date/under 100k miles
Lease Term Certified N/A
Point Inspection A comprehensive checklist with over 111+ quality criteria is used for this purpose. This way you can rest assured that your pre-owned Porsche is in perfect condition, both mechanically and visually.
Return/Exchange Program N/A
Roadside Assistance With the purchase or lease of each Porsche Approved vehicle, the owner will receive the advantages of the Porsche 24-Hour Roadside Assistance program for the duration of the Porsche Approved Limited Warranty coverage.
Special Financing Yes
Transferrable Warranty Should you wish to sell your Porsche, you will also benefit from the Pre-owned Porsche Warranty. The remaining balance of the warranty is transferred to the new owner. And this will undoubtedly increase the value of your vehicle.
Warranty Deductible No

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2004 Porsche Boxster Convertible

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