Porsche Boxster is a good reliable car. Porsche as a brand has always been highly appreciated due to its better than average reliability results compared to every other German premium manufacturer. And the Boxster is very much the same story.
Before Porsche introduced the Cayenne and Macan SUVs, the Boxster model range was the one that led the sales numbers. The early-gen 986 and 987 models can now be bought for cheap, and are still fairly reliable if they were maintained properly.
Even though Porsches are generally fairly dependable, they always require you to spend more on maintenance to keep up those reliability credentials. However, a Boxster will never leave you stranded, which is not the case with a lot of other super and sports cars.
Porsche 986 reliability
The very first pioneering Boxster model was the 1996 986 Boxster which stayed in production until 2004. The 986 is at least 25 years old, so you should not expect problem-free ownership experience. But, according to British MOT results, a 986 has a 78% pass rate, which is a lot higher compared to most cars from that era.
986s are known for a few potential mechanical issues which can, if not kept in check, lead to expensive bills and even full engine rebuilds. Considering the prices of 986s, an engine rebuild might cost you more than the car itself.
Issues like cracked bore liners or worn timing chain tensioners have been extensively documented online, and you have to keep these in check if you want a trouble-free 986 ownership. Further potential defects are associated with the infamous IMS (intermediate shaft) bearing failure. RMS (rear main oil seals) failures are also fairly consistent in a number of 986 models.
However, all these issues are not all that common and can be seen from a mile away. If you keep these in check through a Pre-purchase inspection, a 986 can certainly be a reliable option.
Porsche 987/981 reliability
The 987 generation Boxster models offer a significant increase in quality and performance compared to the 986 generation. It’s also worth mentioning that the 987 generation has an 82-91% MOT pass rate, which means that the 987 is a truly reliable Boxster generation.
IMS and RMS failures are also sometimes a problem with the 987 generation. Some problems like coil spring issues are one of the most common issues for the 987 generation, but this issue can also be easily identifiable if the car is tilting from one side to the other.
The 981 generation is arguably one of the, if not the, best Boxster generations of all time. Reliability-wise, the 981 is as reliable as Porsches get. However, some occasional underbody corrosion issues have been reported. Fortunately, they are fairly rare, and mostly due to poor maintenance.
The most important thing is the fact that all the issues reported are rather minor, and easy to fix. Boxsters are generally really reliable, but they are not bulletproof. Proper maintenance is a must for all cars, and especially for feature-packed sports cars.
Porsche 718 reliability
The 718 Boxster/Cayman generation was fairly controversial because of the introduction of a regular 4-cylinder turbo, and many Porsche enthusiasts were not happy. A flat-six naturally aspirated engine was reserved only for the very top-end models.
The 718 is a generally reliable car, but some minor engine overheating issues have been reported in slow city traffic. Furthermore, some coolant issues occasionally occur, but nothing that would cause some serious issues.
Water pump issues and colder day cracking are also an occasional hassle, but nothing a few bucks can fix. It’s safe to say that the 718 generation is also an incredibly dependable platform, just like all the other Boxster generations.
Why should I buy a Porsche Boxster?
If you are in the market for a compact two-seater sports car that does not require you to sell both of your kidneys, a Porsche Boxster is likely to be one of the, if not the, best options of the entire segment.
Hardly any other option in this segment has such performance credentials as the Boxster. Furthermore, a Porsche badge certainly does ask for more attention compared to many other German premium car manufacturers.
If you opt for a naturally aspirated GTS/Boxster Spyder variant, you are likely to have a time of your life. Many 911 owners actually prefer a Boxster Spyder to a more expensive 911 GT variant. But nowadays a Boxster Spyder is just as expensive as many 911 models.
Is the 911 a better car than the Boxster?
The Porsche 911 is larger, more powerful, more luxurious, and more expensive than the Boxster. The main difference is the fact that a 911 offers a rear-engine mounted configuration, and the Boxster is a mid-engined car. These two vehicles offer a completely different driving experience, and comparing them is like comparing apples and oranges.
A 911 is definitely more popular, and many people also believe that it’s a natural upgrade from the Boxster/Cayman platform is the 911. However, both of these vehicles are amazing, and choosing one over the other is mostly dependent on what you want from a sports car.
How much does it cost to maintain a Porsche Boxster?
Some reports suggest an average $400-500 yearly maintenance bill for a Boxster. Others estimate somewhere closer to $1000. Early 986 and 987 Boxster models are a lot cheaper and simpler in construction.
They are less expensive to maintain as well. However, the later 981 and 718 Boxster generations are closer to the $1000 mark. This is to be expected for most Porsche models. Any potential repairs can increase the yearly expenses upwards of $2000 in worst-case scenarios.
These maintenance expenses are fairly reasonable for a 2-seater sports car with a Porsche badge, especially if you consider the above-average reliability results. Early 986 and 987 generations can be bought for cheap and with such prices, it’s hard to argue that a Boxster is anything other than a sports car bargain.