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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Boxster at 25: Driving the car that saved Porsche

In 1992, Porsche suffered its worst year ever, with sales of just 15,000 cars globally. The 928 and 968 were not selling in the numbers expected, and the evergreen 911 was never a big-numbers car due to its relatively high price. In short, Stuttgart was on its knees.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/car-profiles/boxster-at-25-driving-the-car-that-saved-porsche/
22 REPLIES 22
JackVan
Detailer

Geared for way too much top end speed. Where are you going to hit 182 mph? 1st to 5th in traffic is no fun.
Scirocco
Pit Crew

I Germany, where it was designed.
MATTMERICA
Technician

You would be lucky to hit 160 on the AB, it almost as bad the roads around the US with traffic now, it's awful
Scirocco
Pit Crew

There are plenty of roads in Germany where it is easy to get up to speed.  Just don't plan on doing it near urban areas.....

 

Air_and_Water
Instructor

It isn't geared as much for top speed as it is mileage. A tall third gear does nothing for top speed, but the tests they're built to pass have strict guidelines about what gear, throttle positions, etc. and the numbers come out the other side. At least that's how it is here in the U.S. and I'd imagine Euro specs are dictated as tightly, as there's really no other way to get repeatable data. It has done a similar number on the VW GTI with tall gears in the middle, 4th gear at a 1:1 ratio with both 5th and 6th as overdrive gears. It couples well to more modern torquey engines, but doesn't suit a sports car like the Boxster (or even that GTI) well at all, and that's a shame.
MajorTomB
Intermediate Driver

I wonder if the comparison should be redone with the lesser new Boxster motor? I know the 4 has been much maligned, but it might still be the more apt comparison.

Also, I've been debating moving from my 1987 944S to a first gen Cayman. I'd love to see that comparison (hint, hint).
Wickersnitch
New Driver

Why don't you keep the 944 for the days you want a roof over your head and buy a used Boxster for the days you want the top to go down....?
JBaguley
Intermediate Driver

The second paragraph included the word "affordable" as part of the original equation for success. Alas, that has clearly faded as a priority in the current model, with the opportunity to drive one out of the showroom for under $100,000, or even near that amount, long past. Once upon a time I longed for a Boxster, but no more. I purchased a bullet proof MX-5 instead, held onto the additional $70k plus immeasurable maintenance and insurance savings, and used a bit of that to dabble in vintage Triumph sports cars. Perhaps the neighbors would have been more impressed with the Porsche nameplate in the driveway? I, for one, care not.
joet
Pit Crew

The 1st gen Boxster is still quite the unspoken bargain, presuming you get a good one. Never buy a 1st gen without a thorough PPI, including sawing the oil filter in half to check for signs of IMS bearing failure. If you lose a 1st generation engine, that car is going to the scrap yard. ($20++ rebuild cost). Downsides of the 1st gen? Tight fit for tall people, rather bland interior, no inside storage space. Overall, a good and reliable car if you choose wisely.
Wickersnitch
New Driver

I've owned a 911 and a 944 before and have recently bought a used 2001 Boxster S - which is, hands down, my favorite of the three as a car to drive and enjoy. I like that the top goes down on sunny days, and I like the simplicity of not having cupholders or a glove compartment. It's all about the driving, there is always more than enough usable power, and the handling is superb here on the backroads of North Carolina. For the price of "the new one", you can have six or seven of "the old ones", so, yes, it is "...a veritable used performance car bargain."
Iso_Grifo
Instructor

I think the Boxster in the form tested is the Porsche to get of all Porsches. It's nicely sized, has a great normally aspirated engine, the best manual gearbox, it looks great. As a sports car, it just does everything right.
pianoporsche
Pit Crew

Go out now and buy a first gen 986 Boxster before it's too late. The prices are going up and soon they will be unaffordable.

They are plentiful, many with low miles ( well under 100k) and still in very good shape and do not have the rust issues of early Porsches (356, 911, 914, etc.).

Don't be spooked by the IMS nonsense. Buy an early '97 or '98 with the dual row IMS bearings and you won't have to fret over it.

Get a copy of Wayne Dempsey's 101 Projects for your Porsche Boxster and do all the service yourself. Your wife will think you are a rock star mechanic.
Gary
Detailer

Also, Maybe you should price some of the parts for it first.
Scirocco
Pit Crew

If you have to do that, don't be looking at Porsche.

OnTheGroundFun
New Driver

My 2000, first year S is still a blast! Yeah, I've fixed everything once over, including putting in the IMS "Solution" (TM I think) and a few upgrades. But after 19 years of ownership, I thoroughly enjoy my Boxster every time I drive it.
Valvefloat
Intermediate Driver

I don't know where Hucknall gets the idea that the new Boxster is 213mm (8.4 inches) wider than the original. A first-gen Boxster was 68.5 in wide and the current GTS is 70.9 inches. Not quite 2.5 inches.

The early car also weighed more like 2900 lbs. compared to 3125 for the latest GTS--very similar to the 25. That's a difference of 225 lbs. not 342.

A bit more careful editing would be nice.
Scirocco
Pit Crew

As nice as the Boxster is/was, I'll take my Cayman over it any day. More (a tiny bit more) space and not all of the grief that goes with a soft top during times when it has to be up....which is most of the time around here.
Macpor750
Pit Crew

I drove the GT4 3-pedal at Barber Motor Speedway and the gearing was not for that track either. I'd think it would be similar to the Boxster? You'd hit the rev limiter in the 2 straightaways and that was quicker than another up/down shift. Existing turn 15 also required an additional down/up shift that wouldn't have been necessary with different gearing. It would also feel light in turn 11 at times. Still a great car. I had the 986 S model and loved the car. The new Boxster is a nice car but I prefer the less angular 986 lines.
Gary
Detailer

How come even after I sign in I can't always post comments? Maybe it is because they don't like what I have to say! Like how come no mention of problems that owners were stuck with: IMS bearings, transmission failures, how many times the car went back for repairs or waited weeks for parts, and very expensive ones at that.. You pay the price Porsche is asking you should get quality. Ten years ago I looked into a Boxster and TT and I read about of a lot of unhappy owners so I passed. I picked up 2000 Miata for $2700, put new top on for $300 and a set of tires and been driving it ever since. I only smile and wonder what it must be like to throw your money away when I see someone driving those German things.
Alfanorth
Intermediate Driver

Once again, proof positive that it's more fun to drive a slow car fast, than a fast car slow.
CHUCKVAN
Pit Crew

I seriously considered purchasing a ‘97 in 2001 but never felt any more pleasure than what my 89 MR2 gave me , which I still own today…
hiltoncharly
New Driver

I owned a base Miata for 6 years and 132,000 miles of pure enjoyment but was introduced to the Boxster in 2003 and couldn't help myself from beginning my Porsche journey.
I have owned a 2001 S which I drove for 4 years and loved. Then I purchased a 2007 S which was a vast improvement over the '01 and I drove it for 5 years until I purchased my current 2014 S which is no longer an analog vehicle in my mind but a true digital vehicle with all the bells and whistles I wanted. I'm currently on do have the desire and in search mode for a GTS with the 4.0