Boxster Tuning

"Tuning guide to the best Porsche Boxster modifications."

Although the 911 has the top end power and prestige, TorqueCars was surprised at the cornering abilities of the Boxster.

It is beautifully balanced and poised and is probably a better car than the 911 if it was going to be your daily driver. It is much easier to live with and considerably more forgiving than a 911 when pushed hard.

When it was released it was unfairly hailed as a poor mans 911, or the sensible sports car.

To be fair it is a stunning package and more accessible to the average driver than more exotic specialist cars.

With the right mods a Boxster can give a 911 a serious run for your money!

Running costs are lower than a 911 and you will still get many smiles per gallon from it.

Tuning tips and articles

Engine tuning Transmission tuning Care care Intake & exhaust mods Improve handling Forums

This is mainly due to the fact it has a mid mounted engine offering a near perfect balance, where the 911 engine is at the rear. On a short twisty track that prevents the 911 getting into its stride the Boxster would do more than just hold its own.

In fact we would go so far as to say the only thing lacking in the Boxster is power, although there is certainly enough in the standard car to make it fun. With a bit of clever Boxster tuning you can create the perfect car.

Boxster Engine tuning

The engines are very solid and reliable performers and Porsche have done a good job in tuning them.

Some of the pre 2000 engines were prone to cylinder liner failure but this is a problem addressed in newer engines and most of the early ones have now been fixed or have stood the test of time.

In fact the manufacturing process ensures that the Porsche engines all lave the factory meeting the quoted power figures.

The 3.2 litre engines are the best in terms of power output but even the early 2.5 litre engines have a lot to offer the keen tuner.

The question we get asked the most is what Boxster Tuning methods work the best. A lot depends on your aims and aspirations. First up we would recommend taking a look at improving airflow both into and out of the engine.

Please watch our video which covers the 5 principles of tuning your car. Be sure to keep up with our latest YouTube content and subscribe.

Best mods for your Boxster

  1. Boxster Suspension - Fitting a more sporty Suspension kit radically improves your Boxster handling Adjustable coilovers and better bushings are what is needed here.
  2. Head work - The goals of porting and flowing the head are to get air flowing into the engine while removing flow restrictions and turbulence.
  3. Air Induction and Performance Exhausts - Please note that on their own these mods will NOT ADD POWER for most setups, but they enable you to lift power after other mods by minimizing the restriction.
  4. Brake Upgrades - Enhancing your stopping power ought to be somewhere in your mods list.
  5. Upgrades to turbochargers and superchargers - Adding a turbocharger is the most significant way to increase air supply, allowing you to utilize more fuel and make better power figures. Although one of the most expensive modifications it does provide the largest gains.
  6. Lighter flywheels - a lower weight flywheel will noticably improve the engines free revving nature. In some cases flywheel lightening is not recommended for all Boxster engines.
  7. Tunes - A remap provides the most advantage compared to cost, aftermarket ECU upgrades, and inline Tuning boxes are all alternatives.
  8. Fast road Camshafts are are often the best upgrade for an engine, but we strongly suggest they be setup by someone familiar with setting them up on your car and tracking one down may be hard but you might find a local firm to regrind a stock camshaft for you.

Boxster Tuning Stages

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Alloy wheels, Remap, Lighter flywheel, Panel air filter, Sports exhaust, Suspension upgrade (drop 21mm - 39 mm.).

Typical stage 2 mods often include: Power/Sport clutch, high flow fuel injector, Fast road cam, Ported and polished head, fuel pump upgrades.

Typical stage 3 mods often include: Internal engine upgrades (pistons/head/valves), Sports gearbox, Engine balancing, Competition cam, Adding or upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger).

Your targets when modding the engine should be a wide torque curve. You don't want all the torque to be at the top end of the rev range unless you are creating a competition car.

It is worth noting that the standard gearbox and clutch is a relatively weak area. Pushing an extra 50bhp through this has caused some owners a few problems.

A good quality sports exhaust with a sports cat will do a lot to lift your peak power. Match this with a full induction kit with a cold air feed. We would recommend a partition or box arrangement around the air filter to shield it from the high engine bay temperatures.

Getting a remap, performance chip or similar will also make quite a difference - especially if you are willing to restrict yourself to the higher octane fuels around. A remap should be done last and take into account all the other tuning mods you've had done.

The Boxster is a brilliant package. It has supreme handling and is a true everyday sports car

Getting a little more technical we start to look at internal engine tuning and starting at the top of the engine would recommend a fast road cam. There are fairly noticeable power gains to be had from gas flowing the head using a method known as a "spiral flow". This creates a swirl in the air to enable better fuel atomisation and flow into the cylinder. A 3 or 5 angle valve job will also improve the air flow effectively increasing the duration or valve open by widening the air intake at partially open/closed settings.

Many companies are now offering various stage 1,2 and 3 tuning parts. A fast road cam is probably the most significant change you can make along with a lighter flywheel.

A full low down engine rebuild tuning project should look at balancing the internals and if you decide to go with forced induction we would recommend lower compression pistons. Going the supercharger route makes a lot of sense and is somewhat easier to setup but a turbo will give much greater power gains.

We have a few members who have added superchargers on low boost settings with fantastic results. Source a supercharger from a breakers yard and as long as you get the fuelling and mapping right you'll have a massive hike in power for a "relatively low" outlay.

Boxster Handling & braking mods

When it comes to handling you should get an uprated suspension kit but lower the car no more than 30mm. Any more than this and you risk compromising the excellent handling. Stiffer springs and a harder damper will give a sporty feel but many consider this too much for a road car and opt for something a little softer.

Upgrading your Bushes

What factors should you consider when setting up and selecting your bushes if your Boxster is also used as a daily driver?

It is possible to connect the Boxster's suspension components to the chassis of the Boxster using poly bushes, which are direct replacements for the original rubber mounts. The rubber ones usually start to fail with time and need replacing anyway so why not upgrade.

Installing new OEM rubber bushes may dramatically improve the performance of your car.

It's probable that the ride may be a touch rougher because of the stronger polyurethane bushes but they'll last longer and maintain tighter handling.

They may also accelerate the degradation of other suspension parts due to the increased vibration and play.

With a new set of poly bushes, the excessive play associated with rubber bushings may be lessened.

Some poly bushings are hard to locate, but most will find the primary mounts readily available in their local stores Custom poly bushings are often made to your requirements.

How low should you go on the Boxster?

According to TorqueCars research and testing, the maximum amount of suspension drop for most road vehicles is 27 - 44 millimetres, whereas versions that come with lowered sporty suspension already have a maximum suspension drop of 18 millimetres.

These tolerances may be drastically lowered if the wheel size is changed. Even with 16 or 17-inch wheels and conventional suspension, lowering the vehicle may create a lots of new issues.

While the fact that the Boxster being lower allows for less air to travel underneath it may aid in stability, the ultimate goal should always be to enhance handling. When lowering the springs, it is critical to use the proper shocks that match all round.

Putting a tiny bit of negative camber at the front wheels and a few degrees of toe (in for better stability or out to improve cornering), will often improve your Boxster in handling and cornering.

Boxster Brake Upgrades

For radically improved stopping you should get better performance pads and combine this with larger brake discs.

We should point out that race pads will be noisy and will need to be hot before they start to work.

On your regular commute to work the brakes are only applied now and then so won't stop you as well so choose pads which work well in daily use.

There are quite a few options open to your from its bigger sister the 911 or the many aftermarket parts suppliers. If you can afford it go with ceramic disks and a 6 or 12 pot caliper for the ultimate stopping power.

Don't forget that the Audi and VW group share similar hubs so you actually have quite a large range of aftermarket parts. Bigger discs will usually require larger wheels so you'll need to check the clearance.

Boxster Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

Now we move on to the intake and exhaust and ensure proper flow through the engine.

Contrary to popular belief there is generally a small if any power gain obtained by fitting an induction kit, they only work well and are recommended after you boost the engines power to the point where the standard air intake box cannot cope!

For most Boxster engines TorqueCars would suggest you just go with a washable panel air filter. On heavily tuned engines and turbo vehicles an induction kit will help release the power providing you address the problem of supplying cold air.

Sports exhausts can usually air flow through the engine but avoid an exhaust that is too big or you might just stuff your flow rate and make things worse. So generally speaking, keep to a size of 1.5 to 2.5 inches for best results.

Airflow through the head can be dramatically increased with some professional polishing and ported. These should match and be setup to take into account any other engine mods.

A good heavy duty fast road power clutch will help to keep that power going where it should. Never make false economies or expect your standard clutch to cope. The best mods in our opinion for your Boxster are a remap especially on a turbo, a fast road camshaft and sports exhaust, with a good air intake.

Turbo engines are just asking to be Upgraded. You will see large power gains on most modern turbocharged cars including diesels making a remap one of the most cost effective and large modifications for your money.

Adding forced induction will see big power gains but this is usually too expensive to be cost effective. It is usually simpler to add a supercharger than it is to fit a working turbo. It is harder to map a turbo as the boost comes on exponentially with engine speed.

The nice proportional boost and rpm characteristics of the supercharger make them simpler to map. Decreasing the engines compression ratio will allow you to add forced induction, water injection may also help prevent detonation.

Boxster Alloy wheel upgrades.

Alloy wheels will help the brake cooling and are usually less heavy than steel ones. Further improvements can be made to your cars handling with the addition of directional tread pattern tire. Large Boxster alloys can decrease performance. If you get big alloys you will be changing your final drive ratio.

For this reason we would advise sticking to a maximum wheel size of 18 inches, although we know some of our members have fitted larger wheels with no problems.

If you would like to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your car please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss Boxster options in more detail with our Boxster owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Porsche tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

If you want to discuss the Boxster tuning options in more detail please join our friendly forum and feel free to swap tips with a resident Porsche enthusiasts. We would particularly like to hear about your tuning experiences in this car and which mods worked the best for you - you can also drop your tips on our feedback form below.

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2 Responses to “Tuning the Porsche Boxster”

  1. Frank Coia says:

    I found it very informative as I want to increase the BPH of my Porsche Boxter 986 3.2 litre.Any advice would be much appreciated

  2. Mark says:

    Don’t bother with mods.
    It’s just not worth it.
    Wait for summer and drop the top and cruise til the wheels fall off. Soak it up my friend

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