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Old 02-15-2005, 11:10 PM   #1
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97-2001: What are the MUST HAVE options?

I'm looking to get my first Boxster (and thus am glad I came across this site).

What are the indispensible options on the Boxster for someone living in the rainy but mild Pacific Northwest?

I am seeing ads for "fully optioned" cars, but am not sure what came as standard equipment during the 97 to 2001 model years.

Tiptronic: should I be paying more for an automatic? I would want the Boxster to be a stick, but that would rule out my wife driving not (not an altogether bad thing mind you...). But are there any disadvantages to an automatic?

Is air conditioning standard? I don't think I could live without it.

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Old 02-16-2005, 01:18 AM   #2
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Aside from purists poo-pooing the presence of an auto in a Porsche (there Is a certain sacriledge to that) and slightly slower quarter-mile and lap times, there are really no disadvantages to the tiptronic. For city driving, with it's congestion and slow movement, it may even be preferable. It all depends on you. To me, rowing through the gears is essential, but then I like to get the car out to the track. As to the A.C. I believe it's standard as is leather, cd stereo, power windows, and the other luxo 'options'. The only option I'm aware of is the Sport Package, which has a better sound system. And of course, the S, which is a faster version of the Boxster. But you can't have a Tip in an S, or the Porsche gods may well smite thee. Check the FAQ and do a search on buying a used Box. And newer is better. The engine displacement was increased in 2000-01 to 2.7 ltrs in the standard Boxster, which delivers the hp needed to make the car competitive. And whatever bugs exist in a new model are ironed out year-on-year so with each years' iteration, improvements are made. Which is not to say a '97 is a bad choice. But newer IS better. Whatever you do, make sure you're informed, and the Boxster you bring home will give you perma-grin. Maintenence is not cheap, but neither is it cost-prohibitive, nor are there any serious defects or issues. The tops can be problematic, but thus far I'v e not encountered any problems. Furthermore, I accept that, like all things, nothing is perfect. Likie I said, get as much info as you can, and you won't be sorry.
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Old 02-16-2005, 02:19 AM   #3
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Must have options - no such thing, but here's a few that I would seriously look for:

1. The base sound system only has speakers in the dash. I have the Porsche Sound system in my '98, which includes an amp and speakers in the doors, and even then, the sound quality is only average. best of all go for the Bose system on the newer models.
2. Cruise if you are going to be travelling longer distances in straight lines - happens a lot in Oz (and at very slow speeds as well)
3. The wind-guard behind the seats. This puts a mesh in the rollover bar and a clear screen between them. I'm not sure if this is standard in the US -- just make sure you have it.

Other than that, there are loads of opportunities for after market, but it is always cheaper to pick up factory options already in a second hand car. The original owner never gets back his money on those.

Now, don't dawdle and get a Boxster - I guarantee you will not regret it!
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Old 02-16-2005, 02:25 AM   #4
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Hmmh. I believe you CAN have a tip in an S, as a saw some.
Automatics "a la tiptro" are a pure sacrilege in a Porsche IMHO.
It is slow, uses more fuel, castrates the engine and removes 50% of the driving experience this wonderful car provides.
I live to match the revs, heel and toe, exit the curve nicely and properly, because this is what this car is about....and while the tiptro is easier in the traffic, it is a TOTAL pain on mountain roads...
Some people will tell you go for the manual mode on the tiptro when driving mountain roads...but it's a joke. It's no Maserati cambiocorse, no BMW SMG II, no AUDI DSG. It's AWFUL !!!!
My $0.02
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Old 02-16-2005, 05:34 AM   #5
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You'll save about the same $3K the first buyer paid for more the Tip. ($6K net loss...) My wife, luckily for me, would not have an automatic in 'her' Porsche.

Outside of P-dealers, most car dealers don't have a clue what is on the car. They only see that it's on the lot for 60+ days and want to make it GO AWAY - or are Crak-happy with Saudi pricing. "There is virtually no price difference between a stripper (later years have Leather, Air, etc...almost all have 'Sport Package') and a well loaded car". I quote myself because I took the time to find this out. You can save about $5-8K by buying a std vs. S. (a base 2002 w/low miles in St Louis sold for $24k in Dec)

One of the options I like, that may be handy out by you, is the Auto-dimming mirrors that come with 'rain sensor'. It's like a silent, third passenger who's only job is to turn the wipers on when the windshield is wet. ....it's strange to have it change the frequency as needed rather than the typical metronome settings. Cool bit.

The search can be fun too.


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Old 02-16-2005, 06:46 AM   #6
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As a dealer, I would answer you this way on a used Porsche"

The S is preferable, for your own use and resale. More torque in everday driving is appreciated, the gas mileage is close to being a wash.

The Tip is actually a fine trans, this is certainly a personal preference issue. Tips are very easy to sell on a used Box. You will likely pay about a grand more on a used Tip, don't pay any more. Blue books says so.

The sport package is a nice option, which brings with it the upgraded stereo, cruise, rear package shelf and the wind deflector kit. These are all useful things and the SP should pretty much be on any used car. In other words, you should DEDUCT about a grand if it is not. BTW- if you have the package shelf, you can tuck speakers back there!!!!!!!!

The rest of the options get more rare, the more common ones being 18" wheels, Sports Touring package etc.

Hope that helps.

And GOOD LUCK!
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Old 02-16-2005, 07:33 AM   #7
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I would highly recommend the 18" wheels, or at least plan on putting them on later. IMO it make the car look $20K more expensive and way sleeker.
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Old 02-16-2005, 08:04 AM   #8
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Ditto on the 18s. It is MUCH cheaper to buy the car with them on than after.
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Old 02-16-2005, 08:36 AM   #9
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My 02 cents' worth:

The traction control on my car is quite helpful, especially in slick weather (fresh rain over oil-laden asphault when it's been 90 degrees out that day)

The upgraded stereo system is a must in my mind. If it has no door speakers, keep looking the upgrade path without them is very, VERY expensive and you'll wish you had found one with more speakers.

Get an S. I have a 2.5 non-S and wish I had held out for the 2000 S I dreamed about.

Tip or Non-tip for me meant the difference between me enjoying the car and my wife driving it FAR more than I and ignoring my demands to keep it out of grocery store parking lots. She has no passion for cars and could not care less if they're abused in parking lots. So no Tiptronic for me

More than anything that's been shared, what you must look for in a used Boxster is a car that has been cared for throughout its life. Mine was neglected and while I snagged it for 15k, it's taken 6k to get it in shape, including a transmission swap. So, my bottom line is this:

Buy a Boxster S with some factory warranty on it and find a good independent Porsche repair facility to fine-tooth comb over the car and pick at every flaw it has before you buy it. Then take it back to the sales person and tell them to fix everything on your list and you'll buy it. Basically, force Porsche to repair and replace anything wrong with the car before you buy it, and then take it back as often as you possibly can to drain the life out of that warranty. Oh yeah, not to scare you off, but if you're offered a warranty the dealership sells you for the years and miles after the factory warranty expires, seriously consider it. You'll probaby be glad you did.

Last edited by RandallNeighbour; 02-16-2005 at 08:38 AM.
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Old 02-16-2005, 08:36 AM   #10
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My 2 cents:

1) The windstop is a must.
2) I would have really looked a bit harder for heated seats if I had known what I know now. They will extend the amount of top-down time you'll get.
3) If you are an audio afficionado, none of the stereo systems will thrill you IMHO, so I would not pay extra for any of them. Aftermarket is the only way to go I think. But the uplevel system with the door speakers gets you ready for the upgrade.
4) At least 17" rims if you're not buying an S.
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Old 02-16-2005, 09:18 AM   #11
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Litronics are a very desirable option as well and one to definately look for.
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Old 02-16-2005, 10:32 AM   #12
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the price difference between a new S and the standard engine is big.
In the used car market the difference is not so big.

Its really the only way to go, When I was searching I never looked at anything but an S.

aside from that my must have's were:

1-Silver paint & Red interior (classic Porsche)
2-6 six manual ( I hate the very notion of paddle shifters and tip tronic, it has ruined motorsports).
3-Not sure if the brakes on the S are different than the standard, if so
that's another must have.
4-Litronics, I really don't understand why this wasn't a standard option. A car name like Porsche should never leave the factory with lesser lights than a Honda.
5-Factory windblocker and the rool hoop screens (way too expensive new)
The upgraded stereo, with the windblocker its perhaps the best top down audio experience ever.
6-Wheels are a personal choice. I like BBS so I wasn't getting around that upgraded.

But the best option is LOW MILEAGE. My 2000 S came with 10,000 miles.
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Old 02-16-2005, 04:34 PM   #13
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Jeannot, I didn't say you can't get it that way, only that the porsche gods would get you if you did...hmnnnn.
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Old 02-17-2005, 08:12 AM   #14
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If getting a TIP is a bad idea on a boxster S, what do you think of all those 911 turbos floating around with tips. It's crazy how many there are.
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Old 02-17-2005, 10:25 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam
If getting a TIP is a bad idea on a boxster S, what do you think of all those 911 turbos floating around with tips. It's crazy how many there are.
Well I don't see tip tronic shifting as any different than a car with paddle shifters like the Ferraris. In those Italians you can switch to full auto gearbox which seems to be the future unfortunately.

But as for "watered down" Porsches, they have to sell cars. Which means people who have allot of $$$$ and know very little about driving or racing hisotories will buy their mid life crisis Porsche. And the 911 interiors reflect that plush Lexus taste of the majority of Porsche owners.
Doctors and Lawyers who want to pick up young girls think they will do a better job at that if they are driving in 911 Turbo CABRIOLET. Even though they will be sucessful at picking up the girls they will have to do it looking ridiculus. But I guess I would pick the girls too
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Old 02-17-2005, 11:30 AM   #16
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Let's not compare a 911 Turbo with a Boxster when it comes to torque and HP. The tip trans. in a 911 Turbo does take the power down a notch, but that lowered notch is still quite higher than a Boxster S. IMO, the 911 Turbo can afford it and the driver can still enjoy a very quick car.

Moreover, I'm THANKFUL those doctors driving the Tip versions of them are not in 6 speeds or they'd kill themselves AND their young girlfriends! One cannot enjoy one's midlife crisis if he does not live to see his 60's.

Perfectlap, you are absolutely right though. It all comes down to what people want to buy and pay for... if it was bright pink paint with glitter in the clearcoat, doggonit, they'd make it a base factory color and put the car on billboards to advertise it's available. It's all about making more Euros!
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Old 02-17-2005, 11:39 AM   #17
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Icebox:
oops, sorry, I fully agree with you on this one

Perfectlap:
Hmmh..totally disagree, paddle shifters on a Ferrari can't be compared with tiptro.
While true, it can be put in auto mode, a robotized manual gearbox is actually faster than manual. You can't say the same about the tiptro which is an auto gearbox.
Porsche will hopefully soon catch up with the DSG, apparently featured in the upcoming 997 turbo...
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Old 02-17-2005, 03:12 PM   #18
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The reality is that the Tip is a very fine transmission and will work very well in a Boxster S. There is a market/demand for the Tip and for the manual. It is a preference issue IMHO.

Frankly, as a dealer it is easier to sell the Tip here in SOCAL>
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Old 02-18-2005, 09:45 AM   #19
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A tiptronic transmission in a porsche cannot be compared to a sequential manual, or other f1 style gearboxes such as the ferrari or lambo, except for the cambiocorsa in the maseratis which is jujst terrible. A tiptronic porsche gearbox is an automatic transmission with better electronic technology that allows you to override the auto and make it go into a a gear you select. A porsche tip is better than a regular automatic gearbox becuase it has such technology as sensers and servos that detect if you are in a corner so it wont shift gears and you will lose the torque and power, which would make you lose the grip. If you are looking for an automatic that allows you to downshift into curves and hold the gears go for a tiptronic, but if you really want to puch the car and feel why a porsche is a drivers car go for the manual. The boxster just handles so well with its mid engine and near to perfect weight distribution, that its only flaw is that its underpowered for the potential it has. This is why porsches top of the line car, the Carrera GT is a mid engine supercar. Once you really start driving the boxster you will see how glad you were you got it in manual. I have seen boxsters with a 3.4 996 engine woop all other 911's around the track. I am in the same position as you, I want to buy a boxster, it just handles so well. So look for a low mileage one with a service history and if you can run a paint check to make sure that it has all original paint. A car with all original paint means the car has never had any paintwork done, so the body has never been damaged. While all the used car dealers tell you the car is carfax certified, if possible get an 120 point inspection from a porsche dealer for about 200 dollars, but then you'll be able to separate a perfect car from one that needs work done to it, because fixing up a box would be pretty expensive.
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Old 02-21-2005, 03:36 PM   #20
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At the end of the day, the only real must-have option is the drop-top. Anything else is either subjective or can be up-graded, like a stereo or exhaust or suspension bits. If you need speed, get an S, if you're a sportscar purist, get a manuel. Any Boxster beats the snot outta anything else in it's price-range, and most any other car for that matter. And Jeannot, I knew we were on the same page!

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