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Porsche Boxster

Published: 3rd Jul 2012 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Porsche Boxster
Porsche Boxster
Porsche Boxster
Porsche Boxster
Porsche Boxster
Porsche Boxster
Porsche Boxster
Porsche Boxster

Buyer Beware

  • Have a test drive in a few cars to gauge a feel of the car, as it may be so far ahead of what you are used to . even a dud one. And watch out for a fair number of abused and crash repaired track-day cars.
  • Boxsters were one of the most popular personal imports over the past decade. Is the car youfre considering a proper UK car though? Look at the service history book where a VIL (Vehicle Identification Label) sticker resides on page four. A C16 code signifies that it is a genuine UK. Missing VILs can be checked via Porsche.
  • Having said that, therefs nothing wrong in a non UK car at this age so long as itfs in good condition. Left-hand drive models may be worth a look at, too.
  • Boxsters shouldnft rust (unless some poor body repair work has been carried out) except you can find corrosion around the door catches on early cars. Later cars had a plastic gasket between the alloy catch and the body.
  • Front end accidents usually damage the radiators (one in each wheel arch). Badly fitted replacements can leak. Have any private car HPI checked to see that it hasnft been involved in a heavy shunt or is a repaired write-off.
  • Check underside for damage to floor (off road excursion?), plastic undertray and jacking points. Look also for new suspension and steering parts, overspray and so on.
  • Check wheels and tyres for signs of kerbing. Many early cars were fitted with factory option 17in diameter alloys, instead of 16in. Latest cars have standard 17in with 18in option.
  • Interior trim is not quite as hard wearing as earlier (money no object in manufacturing) Porsches. Check for scuffed door panels and deterioration caused by water leaks from the hood. Look under carpets for dampness, panel creasing (accident?), and so on
  • Most M96 (Boxster and 996 Carrera) engines leak a little oil, but too much seepage usually means a failure of either the rear main bearing seal or (more likely) the seal on the shaft below; all costly to rectify.
  • Transmissions are hardy and the Tiptronic auto unit gives little trouble. Having said that, weak synchromesh isnft unknown and early manual boxes canft be repaired. Clutches have a hard life and a replacement can cost between ’800-1000.
  • Boxsters do not seem to have suffered the cracked cylinder bores thatfs prevalent on the 3.4-litre 996 engines. But, if the oil is at all milky, walk away, or negotiate a hefty ’4000 discount! Some early 2.5-litre cars suffered from porous blocks and slipped sleeves but all defective engines should have been replaced by now.
  • Hydraulic tappets usually rattle on start up from cold, but should smooth out within a few seconds. Naturally a solid service history is expected on all but the cheapies, with the early life of the car being cared for by a main agent.

Fast Facts

  • Driving: 4/5

    Feels a bit like an 80s 911 which is the appeal. For many the 2.5 is more than ample but 2.7 is significantly better.

  • Usability: 4/5

    Like the 911, there can’t be a more sensible sports car for daily driving with containable costs at specialists.

  • Maintaining: 3/5

    The Boxster isn’t designed for DIY work and the engine in particular is a swine to get to…

  • Owning: 3/5

    Economy is respectable and hunt around for a classic policy as they are around. Large repairs will never be cheap mind.

  • Value: 4/5

    For what a good Boxster offers they are cracking value for money but are unlikely to become much cheaper.

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Who says you can’t afford a classic Porsche? Boxsters are now as cheap as chips and easy to own. It’s a real Porker too; Scott Bradley

If the weeklies are correct, there’s a baby Boxster on the horizon, aiming to fill the void which this infant Porsche has now largely grown out of. There again, the Boxster was first seen as a prototype almost 20 years ago and, if it hadn’t been for this cheaper sportster, the chances are that Porsche would never have survived as an independent car maker at all. The company’s 928 and 968 were ageing, and its 911 was too costly to sell in big numbers; what it needed was an affordable entry-level car that could be produced in quantity. The result was the Boxster – and what a car it was! The press raved about it and buyers lapped it up. Porsche couldn’t make them fast enough.

Today, with prices starting from around £5000, the Boxster is old enough to be called a classic and modern enough to be a viable daily driver you can depend upon. Best of all, it feels like a classic 911.

Which model to buy?

Essentially, the later the car the better. Initially exhibited as a concept in 1993, but by the time the Boxster became a production reality in 1996, the brief had changed somewhat. The finished product was a little slab-sided, the overhangs were a little larger, and some critical journalists claimed to have difficulty in exactly ascertaining which way it was facing! The interior, too, was more sombre and conventional – 911-like, in fact.

The standard 2.5 model was initially satisfying enough, although a sport package was soon offered, upping wheel size to 17in and with stiffer suspension. A hard top became an early option and a popular one, in the UK at least, which added to the car’s practicality and made the looks a little more like a 911 at the same time.

Some always criticised the 2.5 engine for not being meaty enough and in 1999 it was ditched in favour of a 220bhp, 2.7-litre version, which also yielded an extra 12lbft of torque. A 0-60mph time just four tenths of a second quicker than its predecessor doesn’t convey the added all-round improvement in real world use.

The other newcomer that year was the Boxster S, complete with 17in wheels and racy red brake calipers, a twin-exit tail pipe, the odd subtle graphic and some titanium-effect trim. The real benefit is a 3.2-litre engine and 246bhp to make it not only the finest Boxster in the range, it was also one of the most accomplished sports cars on the planet – irrespective of badge or price.

For the 2002 model year, the Boxster gained another 6bhp, taking the 0-60mph time below six seconds and increasing the top speed to over 160mph. The 17-inch alloys allowed the 318mm discs from the 996 Carrera to fit, cross-drilled for greater stopping power. The rear brakes went up to 299mm across, with four-piston calipers all round. Porsche added a full-spec safety kit to the ‘S’, which included the Porsche Side Impact Protection system (POSIP), although the Porsche Stability Management system (PSM) remained an option – an alarm with interior surveillance was standard.

Behind the Wheel?

Putting it simply, the Boxster is one of the best drives you can buy – at virtually any price. There was criticism that the 2.5 model was underpowered – but what the hell, ‘only’ 204bhp is not to be sneezed at! The later 2.7-litre and S versions put paid to any complaints in this direction.

Truth is that, even the smallest engined Boxster is not underpowered; it’s simply that the near-perfect balance of the mid-engine layout means that the competence of the chassis far outweighs the power output. In short, the Boxster is one of few cars that any sensible driver will be hard pushed to find its limit – except, perhaps, on a fullon track day.

There’s no doubt, however, that the very best drive is the Boxster S. The larger capacity means more low speed torque as well as horsepower, and the six-speed box (986 or newer 987 version) is a joy to use, the top gear being a great cruiser.

On the subject of transmissions, don’t reject a Tiptronic car because it’s an auto: the steering wheel buttons allow quick shifts and the lack of clutch means that (with practice) you can indulge in left foot braking. Yes, it’s a sports car through and through. Great handling, good brakes, very precise steering, 150mphplus top speed, with sub-seven seconds acceleration to sixty, even with the 2.5 engine. But, the Boxster is also a very civilised, comfortable and quiet car (some say a little more exhaust noise might be nice so try for a freer-flowing stainless exhaust system that’s claimed to add 20-30bhp as well for £1610). The Boxster is also fairly roomy and practical for such a supercar and, unlike early Porkers, well equipped and civilised. Sitting behind the wheel you could be forgiven that you’re sitting in a 996.

The daily option?

Like all Porsches, Boxster build integrity means that they aren’t just for high days and holidays and can be used like a Ford Focus if need be. Economy is good, and around 30mpg is possible in normal driving, although obtaining a classic insurance may be difficult, due to the relative newness of the car – shop around and speak to a Porsche club for advice here.

Strictly a two-seater, Boxsters are fairly roomy and practical for such a supercar and, unlike early Porkers, well equipped and perhaps too civilised for folks more used to MGBs. The fabric roof is snug but you can easily add a hard top for winter months. Hoods need TLC if they are to stay in good condition. Plastic rear windows on the pre-face lift cars easily crack and discolour and may leak at the stitching. Look to pay £500 to rectify the faults. Hood electrics could prove costly if they play up but this is rare.

Owning and running

For the price of a decent MGB you could own and run a Boxster. Early models are now changing hands from just £5000, and for that money you don’t have to settle for one that’s left-hand drive or has done an inter-galactic mileage, either. You’ll have to settle for the 2.5-litre, granted, but for just an extra £1000 or so you can pick up a 2.7-litre car if you shop around. And ten grand is ample for a good model up to 2002. Given the cost of some major repairs (like the Tiptronic or latter PDK semi auto) it makes sense to buy the best you can, rather than a cheap one case.

Porsche really tucked the engine away in the Boxster, and just gaining access is a nightmare – it’s not really a DIY car, but the good news is that there’s a spread of specialists around to contain costs. Cars built up until the end of 2003 need attention every 12,000 miles or each year. The last cars built, which came out of the factory from the start of 2004, need attention every 12,000 miles or every two years.

On top of this, new spark plugs are needed every 48,000 miles or four years. Of course, a solid service history will pay dividends for you.


1996 First Series

Launched after concept car of 1993 received favourable feedback. Mid-engined 2.5-litre, sharing numerous components and design features from 996 911. Identified by 16-inch road wheels, ‘black’ brake callipers, plastic rear hood window, manual levers for front and rear ‘boot’ compartments.


Second Series range announced featuring a revised nose featuring two horizontal bars in air intake, cut out for oval exhaust, clear/grey lenses, larger rear spoiler, glass rear window, glovebox, electrically operated boot lids, 2.7-litre engine now fitted.

First Series S launched with 3.2-litre engine. Other appointments include coloured brake callipers with 17inch wheels, twin exhausts, unique Boxster S badging to rear – alloy and white coloured instrument dials, manually operated boot lid levers.


Second Series S introduced. Identified by a revised nose, larger rear spoiler, electrically operated boot lids, glovebox, clear/grey lenses, glass rear window. Engine power increased by six bhp and 911 Carrera brakes installed. Porsche’s innovative side impact protection system standard.

We Reckon...

The Boxster is not only a real Porsche, but it’s also one that has you seriously questioning whether you need a 911! If it’s not a classic already, it will be soon… so why wait and deprive yourself of all that Porsche filled fun?

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