Porsche For 1998
By Carey Russ
1998 marks Porsche's 50th anniversary. The legendary German sports car maker offers two car lines this year: the Boxster, introduced last year, and the venerable air-cooled 911. It also has some very high- end mountain bikes. All Porsche cars have an optional child-safety seat that automatically disables the passenger-side airbag.
The current 911 may be the last-ever air-cooled version. The liquid-cooled 1999 model is not here yet, so Porsche traditionalists can still enjoy the 911's distinctive characteristics. All 1998 911 models use the familiar 3.6-liter normally-aspirated 282-horsepower flat 6 engine. Four body styles are available: the standard Carrera Cabriolet, the "widebody" Carrera S and Carrera 4S coupes, the Carrera 4 Cabriolet, and the innovative glass-topped Targa.
Models with a "4" in their name have all-wheel drive powertrains, others are rear-wheel drive. A 6-speed manual gearbox is standard on all 911 models, with the 4-speed "Tiptronic S" manually- shiftable automatic optional on rear-wheel drive models. The Tiptronic features gear selector switches in the steering wheel spokes, as on Formula One racing cars.
The first all-new Porsche in 19 years, the Boxster has been a worldwide success since its introduction a year ago. A mid-engined design, with a liquid-cooled 201-horsepower, 2.5-liter flat 6 engine, it pays homage to the great Porsche sports-racers of the past in style, and points to the future of the company in technology.
The Boxster is available with a standard 5-speed manual gearbox or optional 5-speed Tiptronic. Its Tiptronic has no gearshift lever, only steering wheel-mounted switches.
The 1998 Boxster is unchanged from 1997 with the exception of door-mounted side air bags.