loading Loading please wait....

Porsche Boxster (986): Buying guide and review (1996-2004)

Porsche Boxster (986): Buying guide and review (1996-2004) Classic and Performance Car
Porsche Boxster Porsche Boxster Porsche Boxster Porsche Boxster
In the early ‘90s, Porsche was in a very difficult position. Profits were falling, and its best-selling car, the 911, could trace its roots back to a 1960s. It needed to act fast, and introduce a new range of products to revitalise the brand and bring it back to profitability.
 
Enter the Porsche Boxster, a mid-engined two seater sports car based in part on the upcoming water cooled 996 platform. Initial reception was lukewarm, with critics bemoaning the ‘fried egg’ headlight treatment and relative lack of power from its 2.5-litre engine. As with any major shift, it also took a while for the public to warm to the Boxster. A number of running changes and more powerful engines helped to turn the 986 model a huge seller, which along with the water-cooled 996 helped to secure Porsche’s future.
 
Today the Boxster is an integral part of Porsches range and the original version is still a cracking drive and exceptional bargain.
 

Which Boxster to buy?

 
Porsche has always had a policy of incrementally improving its cars throughout the production lifecycle. In the case of the first Boxster, some changes were made to address mechanical issues while others were improvements to keep the cars current with rivals’ offerings. 
 
The original 986 Boxster was launched in 1996, sharing architecture with the first water-cooled 911 and helping save Porsche in the process. Some felt it lacked the visual punch of the concept version that wowed crowds at Detroit in 1992. When it finally went into production, it lacked dynamic punch too, although that original 201bhp 2.5-litre engine was supplanted by a 217bhp 2.7 in 2000, and joined by a 250bhp 3.2-litre Boxster S. The enthusiast’s model had arrived. 
 
In 2003, outputs went up to 225 and 258bhp, and a facelift saw some minor changes to the styling – the most notable of which was the addition of clear front light units and glass rear screens. 
 
The first generation water cooled boxer engines in the Boxster and 911 have developed a reputation for leaking Rear Main Seals and IMS bearing failures. While the issue is not uncommon, it’s nowhere near as prevalent as you might think. Many specialists offer strengthened replacement parts, and generally a thorough check of the car in these vulnerable areas should be carried out for peace of mind. 
 
Earliest 2.5-litre cars can be temptingly cheap, but unless they are in perfect condition there are far more desirable models to be had. The 2.7-litre cars have enough power to put a smile on your face, but the 3.2-litre is the real performance choice. 
 
Tiptronic automatic gearboxes were offered on all models, and while they are generally less desirable, shouldn’t be dismissed if you plan on using the car regularly around town. A 50th Anniversary 550 Spyder was released in 2004 and with only 1953 produced is the rarest (and now-sought-after) of the Boxster models.
 
If you are prepared to pay good money, it’s worth searching for well looked after car from the last few years of production, preferably owned by an enthusiast. Thanks to the numerous running changes and updated exterior looks, these are by far the best cars to live with. Standard specifications were generally very basic while optional extras were not cheap, so finding a well-specced car is not always easy.
 

Performance and specs

 
2004 Porsche Boxster S
Engine 3179cc 24valve DOHC H6 
Power 256bhp @ 6200 rpm 
Torque 229lb ft @ 4600rpm
Top speed 164mph 
0-60mph 5.7 seconds 
Fuel consumption 26.9 mpg 
Insurance group 46
Gearbox six-speed manual
 

Dimensions and weight

 
Wheelbase 2415mm
Length 4320mm
Width 1780mm
Height 1780mm
Weight 1320kg
 

Common problems

 
• Parts are available from Porsche as well as numerous specialists who stock a whole host of replacement items for the entire range of Boxsters.
 
• RMS rear seal leaks and IMS bearing failures are very well documented, and any Porsche specialist should be able to diagnose these issues for you. While early cars have a higher rate of failure than face-lifted models, by now most have had upgraded replacement parts fitted, and if not there are a number of specialists who will carry out this work. The final price can be negotiated down on whether this work has been done or not.
 
• A leaking RMS seal can be replaced when the clutch needs doing next, as the gearbox has to be removed to get to the seal. 
 
• The IMS Bearing was upgraded a number of times during production however they are a weak point in the design and some specialists have developed replacements that last a lot longer than the original items.
 
• Cracked cylinder liners affected some of the earlier cars but a running modification in 2000 resolved this issue. 
 
• Coolant expansion tanks can crack leaking water into the boot. Coolant radiators and the air-con condenser are situated in the front of the car and can get blocked by leaves and road debris.
 
• Gearboxes are robust and should change gears smoothly; six-speed ‘boxes can jump out of second gear, which points to it needing an expensive rebuild.
 
• The suspension does not have any major issues, other than lower arm bushes and rose joints on the trailing arms wearing out. Check that the car tracks straight and no creaking noises emanate when turning.
 
• Rust is not a common issue however blocked drainage channels may allow water to pool behind the seats and some cars can develop rust bubbles around the arches over time. The nose and flanks are prone to road rash, so poor paintwork can be a good bargaining point.
 
• Interior trim got stronger with successive facelifts. Of early cars, only the best-kept avoid scruffiness inside. Make sure the roof mechanism and electrical fixtures work.
 

Model history

 
1996: Porsche Boxster launched with 201bhp 2.5-litre six-cylinder engine
2000: Base engine size increased to 2.7-litres, with power up to 217bhp. Boxster S introduced with 3.2-litre 250bhp engine and standard six-speed gearbox
2001: Optional PSM anti-skid system introduced
2003: Facelift carried out including glass window replacing rear plastic item, front indicator units were made translucent and new wheel and colour options were introduced. Vario-Ram intake system increases engine outputs incrementally with 2.7-litre up 11bhp and 3.2-litre up by 8bhp
2004: Special edition 550 Spyder released with 1953 cars built. Last Boxster rolls off the production line with over 160,000 cars built 
 

Owners clubs, forums and websites

 
• www.porscheclubgb.com
• 986forum.com/forums
• www.boxsterregister.org
 

Summary and prices


For a while it’s been possible to get into a Boxster for £6000 and even less. The money will buy you an enjoyable drive, but you’ll be talking a ratty high-miles 986. Autos are less desirable than manuals. Better to weigh in around £9000 for a smart, serviced, low-mileage late-model manual 3.2S. And we can’t imagine those getting much cheaper.
At the top end are the £15k minters, but at this money it’s really worth considering a later 987 Boxster, especially with the option of PDK for those seeking two pedal models. For a really special Boxster, the 550 Spyder special edition is difficult to beat, but with low mileage cars commanding upwards of £30k, you really have to want one to justify paying the premium. 
 
The first generation Boxster is a great sports car that can double as a weekend toy and daily transport if required. With prices not likely to get much lower, now might just be the time to invest in one of these great sports cars.
Porsche Boxster Porsche Boxster Porsche Boxster Porsche Boxster
Last updated: 28th Feb 2017
collapse this

search results

249 Results

search results

Porsche Boxster
4750 78000 GBP
  • Porsche Boxster

    POA POA

    Used condition, Franchise approved,

    • Mileage: 9260 mi
    • Engine size: 2497
    For sale
    POA POA
    Porsche Leeds
  • Porsche Boxster

    £36,990 £36,990

    Variant name:24V S PDK ,Derivative:981 ,Variant: 2014 14 Porsche Boxster S 3.4 24V PDK New to our stunning range of prestige sports and performance vehicles in Basalt Black Metallic the 2014 14 Porsche Boxster S 3.4 24V PDK completed 38,023 miles. You can rest assured the Boxster S has been meticulously maintained and cared for by the original loving owners featuring full Porsche service history. When ordered brand new from the supplying Porsche dealership the original owners opted to include a selection of the most highly desirable extras to the cost of £13,093. This plethora of optional upgrades includes; Sport Chrono Package (in comb. with PCM), Porsche Communication Management (PCM) including Navigation, Porsche Doppelkupplung (dual clutch transmission PDK) incl. auto Start/Stop function, Sports exhaust system, 20'' Carrera S wheels, BOSE Surround Sound-System, Park Assist Front and Rear, Metallic Paint, Wheels painted in Platinum, Mobile phone preparation with Bluetooth interface, Sport Design Steering Wheel, Heated Front Seats, Electrically folding exterior mirrors, Wind Deflector, Top Tint Windscreen, Floor mats in colour matching interior trim and Basalt Black metallic. All of our cars are subject to meticulous care and preparation by our skilled technicians and bodywork experts to guarantee peace of mind. To request a personalised presentation, arrange a test drive or to simply ask for additional info, then call 01642 813 376 or speak to us on Live Chat today.

    • Year: 2014
    • Mileage: 38023 mi
    • Engine size: 3.4
    For sale
    £36,990 £36,990
  • Porsche Boxster

    £32,000 £32,000

    Variant name:24V PDK ,Derivative:981 ,Variant: (981) 2.7 PDK Sat-Nav And Bluetooth Phone Modules This Porsche Boxster 2.7 (981) PDK Is Finished In Agate Grey Metallic With Full Black Leather Interior, First Registered 17/07/2014, 47000 Miles With Full Porsche Main Dealer Service History, 20-inch Carrera Classic Wheels, PCM With Extended Satellite Navigation And Bluetooth Telephone Modules, Sports Chrono Package Plus, Auto Start/Stop Function, Bi-Xenon Headlights With Porsche Dynamic Light System (PDLS), Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), Dual Zone Automatic Climate Control, Sound Package Plus, Multi-Function Steering Wheel, Heated Hardback Sports Seats, Rear Park Assist, Cruise Control, Wind Deflector, Auto Dimming Rear View Mirror, Power Hood, PSM (Traction Control), DAB Radio With CD Player, Aux And USB Facility, Power Assisted Steering, ABS, Electric Windows, Electric Door Mirrors, Remote Central Locking, Factory Alarm/Immobiliser, Hpi Checked, 12 Months Warranty

    • Year: 2014
    • Mileage: 47000 mi
    • Engine size: 2.7
    For sale
    £32,000 £32,000
  • Porsche Boxster

    £18,990 £18,990

    Variant name:Roadster ,Variant: 2.7 [245] 2dr Porsche Centre Cardiff are proud to present this Porsche Boxster 987 finished in Basalt Black metallic with Black Leather Interior. The 987 is the second generation model in the Boxster range and is a great improvement on the previous 986. This model has the 2700cc Flat 6 engine producing 245Hp and is an absolute delight to drive. The overall balance and practicality of the Boxster model really come to the fore with this model, which is the perfect way to enter the Porsche world and experience what the legend is about. This car is equipped with a lovely specification including the Bose Surround Sound System, Heated Seats, 2 Zone Air Conditioning, Bi Xenon Headlights, Rear Park Assist, 18” Cayman S Alloys, Sport Shifter and Wind Deflector. This Boxster has undergone its full Porsche Approved Used preparation including a 111 point check and 4 wheel laser alignment. It is supplied with 2 keys and its original owners handbook and manual. Here at Porsche Centre Cardiff we pride ourselves on our commitment to our customers ensuring that needs and requirements are fulfilled to the highest standard and this is reflected in our glowing customer feedback. We have a dedicated used car buyer at Porsche Cardiff who actively sources the best examples of used Porsche in the UK. All of our vehicles are HPI Clear and are prepared to the highest standards by our fully Porsche trained technicians. As with all of our Porsche Approved vehicles this Boxster will be supplied with a 24 month Porsche warranty including 24 month Porsche European Breakdown Assistance. To arrange a viewing, test drive or if you would like more information about this superb Porsche Boxster please call us today on 02920 350 911. We are able to organise nationwide delivery and can provide you with a personalised video presentation so that you can see the excellent condition that this Boxster is presented in. We also offer tailored finance packages and our experienced sales team are on hand to offer the best price for your part exchange.

    • Year: 2007
    • Mileage: 43392 mi
    • Engine size: 2.7
    For sale
    £18,990 £18,990
  • Porsche Boxster S 2003

    £6,900 £6,900

    Porsche Boxster S 986 86000 miles Full service history MOT till February 2019 Recent new exhaust Suspension bushes New brakes 2 remote keys In great condition Drives like a new car Call Adam on 07739 801104

    • Mileage: 86000 mi
    • Engine size: 3200
    For sale
    £6,900 £6,900
  • Porsche Boxster

    £30,990 £30,990

    Variant name:Roadster S ,Derivative:S ,Variant: 3.4 S 2dr PDK Porsche Centre Cardiff are proud to present this fantastic Porsche Boxster S. It is a 987 generation Boxster S finished in Arctic Silver with Ocean Blue Leather Seats and a PDK gearbox. It was supplied new by ourselves to it’s one and only owner and boasts a fantastic specification including the PCM/Sat Nav, 19 inch Carrera S Wheels, Bose Surround Sound System, Park Assist, Heated Seats and Heated Steering Wheel, Bi Xenon Lights, Cruise Control and Climate Control. This car also comes with the benefit of a Telephone Module, Wind Deflector, CD Changer, Porsche Embossed Headrests, Sports Tailpipes and some lovely Carbon Fibre features in the car that really do add a touch a sporty quality. It benefits from a Carbon Package and an Extended Interior Carbon Package, as well as Carbon Door Entry Guards and a stunning Carbon 3 Spoke Multi-Function Steering Wheel. This Boxster S has had just 1 previous owner and has only covered just over 22600 miles from new. It has Full Porsche Service history with ourselves and has undergone its full Porsche Approved Used preparation including a 111 point check and 4 wheel laser alignment. It is supplied with 2 keys and its original owner’s handbook and manual. Here at Porsche Centre Cardiff we pride ourselves on our commitment to our customers ensuring that needs and requirements are fulfilled to the highest standard and this is reflected in our glowing customer feedback. We have a dedicated used car buyer at Porsche Cardiff who actively sources the best examples of used Porsche in the UK. All of our vehicles are HPI Clear and are prepared to the highest standards by our fully Porsche trained technicians. As with all of our Porsche Approved vehicles this Boxster S will be supplied with a 24 month Porsche warranty including 24 month Porsche European Breakdown Assistance. To arrange a viewing, test drive or if you would like more information about this Porsche Boxster S please call us today on 02920 350 911. We are able to organise nationwide delivery and can provide you with a personalised video presentation so that you can see the excellent condition that this Boxster S is presented in. We also offer tailored finance packages and our experienced sales team are on hand to offer the best price for your part exchange.

    • Year: 2010
    • Mileage: 22750 mi
    • Engine size: 3.4
    For sale
    £30,990 £30,990
  • Porsche Boxster 987

    £16,950 £16,950

    Black Leather, Power Hood, Black Hood, Multiple Airbags, Climate Control, Sat Navigation, PCM ) Porsche Communication Management), Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, Electric Seats, Front Centre Armrest, Parking Sensors, PSM (Porsche Stability Management), Crested Centre Caps, Red Calipers, 19'' Carrera S Alloys, Rear Spoiler, Wind Deflector, Bose Sound System, Factory Audio, Factory Alarm, Full service history Excellent Example. High Specification Includes PCM Sat Navigation, Bose Sound. 12 Months Premium Warranty Included.

    • Mileage: 46000 mi
    • Engine size: 3387
    For sale
    £16,950 £16,950
  • Porsche Boxster

    £25,975 £25,975

    Variant name:Convertible ,Variant: 2.9 Manual 19" Turbo II Forged Aluminium Alloys, Preparation for Mobile Phone Bluetooth, Fully Automatic Climate Control, Sports Tail Pipes, Rear Park assist, Heated Seats, Wind Deflector, Seat Belts in Silver Grey, Universal Audio Interface, Floor Mats, Sports Seats in Leather, Storage Box, UK Supplied, As New, Immaculate Condition Throughout

    • Year: 2011
    • Mileage: 7500 mi
    • Engine size: 2.9
    For sale
    £25,975 £25,975
  • Porsche Boxster

    £49,994 £49,994

    Variant name:718 Roadster S ,Derivative:S ,Variant: 2.5 S 2dr PDK £10,000 WORTH OF ADDITIONAL EXTRAS, 1 PRIVATE OWNER FROM NEW, 20"CARRERA S ALLOYS IN SATIN PLATINUM, BLACK LEATHER SPORTS SEATS, PORSCHE ACTIVE SUSPENSION MANAGEMENT (PASM), NAVIGATION FOR PORSCHE COMMUNICATION (PCM), PORSCHE DOPPELKUPPLUNG (PDK), BI XENON HEADLIGFHTS INCLUDING PORSCHE DYNAMIC LIGHT SYSTEM (PDLS), RED BRAKE CALLIPERS, FRONT AND REAR PARK ASSIST, HEATED AND ELECTRIC SEATS, CRUISE CONTROL, DUAL ZONE CLIMATE CONTROL, AUTOMATICALLY DIMMING MIRRORS WITH INTERGRATED RAIN SENSOR, LIGHT DESIGN PACKAGE, HEATED MULTIFUNCTION STEERING WHEEL WITH PADDLE SHIFT GEARS, POWER STEERING PLUS, ROLL OVER BARS PAINTED IN WHITE, BLACK ROOF, DAB DIGITAL RADIO, BLUETOOTH,

    • Year: 2016
    • Mileage: 12000 mi
    • Engine size: 2.5
    For sale
    £49,994 £49,994
  • Porsche Boxster

    £25,000 £25,000

    Variant name:RS60 SPYDER ,Derivative:987 ,Variant: (987) RS60 Spyder Limited Edition No 764 of 1960 Manual 6 Speed We Have A Very Collectable Porsche Boxster RS60 Spyder Number 764 Of 1960 Produced, Finished In GT Silver Metallic With Full Black Leather Interior And Black Hood, First Registered 26/04/2008 And Only Two Owners From New With 36800 Miles And Full Service History, Just Serviced At Porsche Main Dealer 17/05/2018 At 36431 Miles, 6 Speed Manual Gearbox, PSE (Porsce Switchable Exhaust System), PASM (Porsche Active Suspension), 19" Sport Design Alloy Wheels, Hardback Sports Seats, Body Coloured Centre Console, Bose Sound System With Radio/CD And Aux/iPod Connections, Cruise Control, Litronic Headlamps, Auto Dim Rear View Mirror, PSM (Porsche Stability Management), Rear Park Assist, Power Assisted Steering, ABS, Electric Windows, Power Hood, Electric Door Mirrors, Remote Central Locking, Factory Alarm/Immobiliser, Hpi Checked, 12 Months Warranty

    • Year: 2008
    • Mileage: 36800 mi
    • Engine size: 3.4
    For sale
    £25,000 £25,000
  • Porsche Boxster

    £27,990 £27,990

    Full Screen Sat Nav, Sport Chrono Package Plus, 19'' Alloy Wheels, Full Black Leather Interior, Heated Seats, Radio, CD Player, Bluetooth, Air Conditioning, Climate Control, Trip Computer, 6 Speed Very Low Mileage With A Full Porsche Service History. Over £7000 Of Optional Extras. Incredibly High Specification Which Includes, Full Screen Sat Nav, Sports Chrono Package Plus, 19'' Sport Design Alloy Wheels, Sports Exhaust System, Full Black Leather Interior, Heated Seats, Radio CD, Media Input, Bluetooth, 6 Speed, Air Conditioning, Climate Control, Arm Rest, Trip Computer, Park Distance Control, Electric Windows, Electric Mirrors, Remote Central Locking, Power Steering, Alarm, Immobiliser. 2 seats, Platinum Silver Metallic, We Are A Family Run Business Specialising In Sports, Prestige And Performance Cars. Ideally Located On The Border Of Hampshire, Surrey And West Sussex. Our Showroom Is Situated A Stones Throw From The A3 And The London Waterloo To Portsmouth Train Line. All Vehicles Are HPI Checked And Come With A Comprehensive 6 Month Warranty Which Can Be Extended. We Offer Hire Purchase And PCP Finance Packages At Very Competitive Rates. Pleased To Be Approved Under The Hampshire Trading Standards 'Buy With Confidence' Scheme, Open Monday 09.00-19.00, Tuesday To Saturday 09.00-17.30 & Sundays 10.00-16.00.

    • Mileage: 24500 mi
    • Engine size: 3436
    For sale
    £27,990 £27,990
  • Porsche Boxster

    £36,990 £36,990

    Variant name:Roadster S ,Derivative:S ,Variant: 3.4 S 2dr PDK Porsche Centre Cardiff are proud to present this Porsche Boxster S PDK finished in the classic Guards Red with Black Leather Sports seats interior. This car comes with a lovely specification including the 20 Inch Sport Techno Alloys, Park Assist Front and Rear, PCM – Sat Nav + Telephone Module with universal audio interface, Heated Seats and Sports Design Steering Wheel. This striking car also comes with the Sound Package Plus, 2 Zone Auto A/C, Voice Control for PCM, Power Steering Plus, Folding Mirrors, Mesh Wind Deflector, Auto Dimming Mirrors and Integrated Rainsensor, Cruise Control. It also comes with Homelink garage door opener and some lovely finishing touches such as the Roll Over Bar Painted in Exterior Colour and the matching Guards Red Seat Belts. A truly great specification in this fantastic model 981 Boxster S coupled to the awesome PDK gearbox. If you are looking for a sports car to really excite all your senses and be totally rewarding on all levels this is it. This Box S has undergone its full Porsche Approved Used preparation including a 111 point check and 4 wheel laser alignment. It is supplied with 2 keys and its original owners handbook and manual. Here at Porsche Centre Cardiff we pride ourselves on our commitment to our customers ensuring that needs and requirements are fulfilled to the highest standard and this is reflected in our glowing customer feedback. We have a dedicated used car buyer at Porsche Cardiff who actively sources the best examples of used Porsche in the UK. All of our vehicles are HPI Clear and are prepared to the highest standards by our fully Porsche trained technicians. As with all of our Porsche Approved vehicles this Box S will be supplied with a minimum 24 month Porsche warranty including 24 month Porsche European Breakdown Assistance. To arrange a viewing, test drive or if you would like more information about this Porsche Boxster S please call us today on 02920 350 911. We are able to organise nationwide delivery and can provide you with a personalised video presentation so that you can see the excellent condition that this Boxster S is presented in. We also offer tailored finance packages and our experienced sales team are on hand to offer the best price for your part exchange.

    • Year: 2012
    • Mileage: 33500 mi
    • Engine size: 3.4
    For sale
    £36,990 £36,990
  • Porsche Boxster

    £9,995 £9,995

    17'' Alloys , Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, CD Player, Sports Seats, Wind Deflector, Premium Cloth soft top, Power Hood, ABS, Multiple Airbags, Anti-Theft System, Remote Central Locking, Full service history Finished in Guards Red with Black Leather, Sports Seats, CD Player Wind Deflector, Electric Windows and Mirrors, Power Hood, Remote Locking, In beautiful condition with very low mileage, 6 Month warranty included

    • Mileage: 33000 mi
    • Engine size: 2500
    For sale
    £9,995 £9,995