Porsche Boxster 2005-2019

In the decade and a half since the original WU above, there have been some very substantial changes to the Porsche Boxster including the introduction in 2006 of a hardtop variant called the Cayman. In the world of car enthusiasts, models are further refined by internal manufacturer's designations that allow you to pinpoint the exact variant with further precision. For example, BMW has a long running set of midsize sporty luxury sedans collectively called the five series. In order to pinpoint which five series you are talking about, you need to use the internal model/platform designation, like E39 for example, which narrows it to the model produced from 1995 to 2004. Porsche is no different so I will use the internal designations here as well.

987 - 2005-2012

The 987 was the first major refresh of the Boxster line and also saw the introduction of a hardtop version called the Cayman which is outside of the scope of this wu. Some of the changes were cosmetic, larger wheel arches to accommodate wheels up to 19", larger side engine intake vents to provide better airflow to larger engines, and most importantly, the redesign of the universally despised fried egg headlights. The interiors were also refreshed from the 986 with a more attractive race inspired instrument cluster, round air vents and generally higher quality materials in a more modern cockpit design. Some important mechanical updates also made this a much more refined including larger engine displacement to 2.9 liters for the base model and 3.2 liters for the S variant. The manual gearbox was changed to a six speed.

There were actually two distinct versions of the 987, designated 987.1 and 987.2. The 987.2 was introduced in 2009 and added direct fuel injection and more importantly dropped the lazy Tiptronic automanual transmission in favor of the excellent Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) dual clutch gearbox, a technology Porsche developed for it's racecars in the early 80's that saw testing in the 956 and extensive race use in the following 962. The PDK as all other automated dual clutch transmissions pre-select the next gear making gear changes instantaneous without the need to match revs, hence cars with the PDK are actually faster than the equivalent manuals. The PDK is also shifted via flappy paddles or the gear stick itself while the Tiptronic used thumb buttons on the steering wheel which were extremely unsatisfying.

For many, this generation is the sweet spot between a very mechanical direct car and a more tractable car that can easily be daily driven.

981 - 2012–2016

The third generation Boxster changed several basic dimensions including a wider track and a longer wheelbase while shedding a little bit of weight (77 lbs)and a more modern design language derived from the 918 supercar. Some controversial features were also introduced like electric steering. This was ultimately though an evolutionary change from the 987 including interior refreshing to match the contemporary 911 and some changes to the displacement of the flat six boxer engines and better gas mileage (@ 15% more efficient)

982 - 2016-present

Officially the 718 Boxster, borrowing the designation of the racecar that followed the 550 Spyder of James Dean death fame. This car is a bit polarizing. See, all Boxsters to date had used a six cylinder boxer engine - hence the Boxster portmanteau - the 718 switched to a four cylinder boxer and turbos giving a large portion of the Porsche purists the vapors. Yes, the engine does not sound the same but the car is by all reports an astonishing piece of kit. Exterior and interior changes are evolutionary but I think clean up a few of the minor design peccadilloes of the 981.

One thing that has not changed is that a Boxster base is still the sweet spot of the price/performance/fun equation when considering a pure sports car. The romantic notion of a car that you can comfortably drive long distances to the track, race, and then drive home is completely fulfilled by this little, beautiful car.


Since E2 is not Wikipedia, the reason for this wu is that I have recently, being at the portal of six decades on this good earth, and having completely gone over the edge of the What the fuck cliff, have added a 2011 Boxter Base in a very elegant and discrete Meteor Gray over Sand Beige interior to our motley car "collection". Because my wife has foot issues that hurt her when driving a stick in heavy traffic, the car has the PDK transmission. In use the PDK does not feel like an automatic at all, instead it feels like a ghostly, precise hand is doing the shifting of a manual. The previous owner took very good care of the car and added some very tasteful stealth upgrades including lowering the car a few millimeters, an aftermarket sports exhaust that is very quiet when driving the car sensibly but screams when you put your foot down, etc.

Having added close to 1,500 miles to the original 50,000 I am close to getting used to the car. It is a stiff and bumpy ride in town, especially in the winter ravaged New England streets, but it is a dream on twisty smooth roads as you would expect. This is the first true sports car that I have owned, my 1989 RX7 convertible being really a Grand Tourer and I look forward to many years of top down motoring in the spring sunshine and cool summer evenings