The Porsche Boxster is a 2-door roadster sports car aimed at providing a thrilling sports car experience without the inflated Porsche 911 price.
The Boxster is actually a lot different compared to the 911 because the 911 has a rear-mounted engine configuration, and the Boxster/Cayman models offer a mid-mounted engine configuration. This means that the Boxster utilizes a well-proven sports car formula, and the 911 is a completely different experience.
The first-gen Boxster was released in 1996, the second generation followed in 2005, the third generation launched back in 2012 followed by the latest 718 models in 2016. Choosing the best model year Boxster depends on many different factors, but the 2012-2016 gen seems like the best option overall for a used Boxster.
Third-generation Boxster (2012-2016)
Arguably the best-looking, the third-gen 981 Boxster is a huge improvement on the 2nd gen models as it introduced a lot of engineering improvements. These Boxster models are the last Boxster models to offer a naturally aspired engine, and that’s partially the reason why they are the ones to buy.
The 20012-2016 model years also offer decent luxury amenities, and the Cayman and the Boxster shared many parts between each other, which was not the case with the earlier models. The 981 Boxster models cost around $53k on average, which is a fairly affordable price, considering what you are getting.
The 981 Boxster came in a few different models. The standard entry-level Boxster model had a 2.7L flat-6 engine, and the upgraded Boxster S had a 3.4L engine. Both models offered either a manual gearbox or a Porsche PDK double-clutch automatic.
Both the Cayman and Boxster models from this generation were highly appraised by many different car magazines as some of the best handling cars at any price point. And finding a well-kept example is also fairly easy, as there are many of these out and about.
Second-generation Boxster (2005-2012)
The second generation of the Boxster is called the 987 generation, and the 987 Boxster was revealed at the 2004 Paris Motor Show together with the 997gen Porsche 911 models. Earlier models of this generation did not fare too well as they were fairly prone to all different kinds of issues.
But the 2009-2012 Boxster models were fairly reliable, and the facelift also made them a lot more attractive looking than the pre-facelift models. The earlier models experienced many engine issues because of the intermediate shaft (IMS) technology that was later solved for the 2009 and beyond models.
A great advantage of these models is the use of hydraulic steering, which meant that these models offered superior steering feel compared to the 981 Boxster that utilized a more modern electric power steering setup. The 987 gen Boxster was also the first generation to take advantage of a limited split differential, which improved the car’s dynamic abilities substantially.
The average 987 Boxster price is $32k, and many people believe that 2009-2012 987 is the very best used Boxster model out there, but the 981 certainly did offer a bunch of improvements.
Fourth-gen Boxster (2016-present)
The newest Porsche Boxster models are called the 718 Boxsters. These models are a far cry from the earlier models because in this generation they stopped offer naturally aspirated engines, and only the highest trim Boxster GTS model is still using a naturally aspirated engine.
A brand-new entry-level Boxster retails for $62k and it offers a 4-cylinder turbocharged engine with 300hp. The best Boxster model from this generation is the Boxster GTS 4.0, but the 4.0 starts at $90k which is almost three times the price of a used 987 Boxster.
Many Porsche purists believe that the 718 generations have lost the appeal of earlier Porsche models. Even the naturally aspirated models are not as exciting because of lots of fairly restrictive emissions regulations. No matter the case, the latest-gen Boxster is the best all-around car out of the entire Boxster lineup.
What’s the difference between the Porsche Cayman and the Porsche Boxster?
In essence, these two models are the same, but the Boxster is only available as a convertible/roadster, and the Cayman is a strict coupe. The Cayman is more of a performance-oriented variant, and the Boxster is mostly aimed at grand touring purposes, but the difference is almost non-existent.
The Cayman is lighter and better for track use, but the Boxster is a more stylish and plush version that usually offers more daring interiors and equipment options. In a nutshell, they are the same, so choosing either of these two, you are not compromising much on performance nor luxury.
What is the worse Porsche Boxster to buy?
Porsche has made many amazing cars throughout the brand’s history, but even Porsche has managed to mess things up with a few questionable models. The most questionable Porsche Boxster model of all time is the first-gen 986 Boxster.
Despite this, the 986 Boxster was a smash hit because it sold like crazy. It actually helped Porsche to go through a fairly intense financial crisis. The issues were mostly associated with the powertrain as the Tiptronic models were not able to reach 60mph in less than 7 seconds, which is way too slow for a sports car.
These models also had issues with cracked or slipped cylinder heads that would sometimes mess up the engine to point of no return. Other than that, the first-gen Boxster offered an almost 50:50 weight distribution, and the handling abilities were also impressive.
Do new Porsche 718 Boxsters hold their value?
The newest Boxster, the 718, now cost a lot of money, and they don’t hold their value all that well either, with a 52% value depreciation in the first 5 years of ownership. Things are a little bit different with the limited-edition GTS model, which is a lot better when it comes to depreciation. However, it costs almost $90k.
This is also one more reason to consider a used, older Porsche Boxster model because they offer naturally aspired engines, arguably better driving characteristics, and a better long-term financial investment in general.