1996. John Major was in Downing Street, Hong Kong was in British hands and Justin Bieber was in nappies. And a mid-engined two seat convertible, called the Porsche Boxster, rode to the rescue of an embattled German sports car manufacturer.

The Porsche Boxster saved the company and all these years and three distinct generations later, it’s lost none of it appetite for wearing its undies outside its tights. A supercar it may not be, but a superstar among sports cars it most undoubtedly is.

Like its predecessors, the latest 981-series Boxster has more than a little in common with those other Porsches – the Cayman and 911 – that chose to place their engines behind their drivers.

This pragmatic sharing of technology and componentry is the very philosophy that dragged Porsche out of the pit of despondency last century and it’s still working well today.

But the Boxster has another job to do, one trusted to no other model in Porsche’s ranges. It is the cheapest Porsche you can buy, so stands at the gateway of marque ownership. 

On top of all its other duties, it’s tasked also with welcoming new people to the brand and making a statement: we are Porsche, and this is what we do. 

On the strength of that argument relationships will be forged that could result in a lifetime of Porsche ownership. The Porsche Boxster is as important as that. 

Top 5 Sports roadsters

  • The Boxster is the cheapest Porsche you can buy

    Porsche Boxster

    1
  • The BMW Z4 has more comfort and added practicality, but has it gone soft?

    BMW Z4

    2
  • Evolutionary looks shroud new underpinnings. Is it a good mix?

    Mercedes-Benz SLK

    3
  • Mazda MX-5
    Mazda's MX-5 has been established for decades as an affordable and enjoyable rear-drive convertible

    Mazda MX-5 (2005-2015)

    4
  • The 370Z has the pace, looks, kit, value and charm, so what’s the catch?

    Nissan 370Z

    5

First drives

Videos

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    4 September 2015
    New entry-level 3 Series uses the three-pot turbo motor from the Mini Cooper. We find out if it's up to the job.
  • First Drive
    4 September 2015
    This special-edition Skoda Octavia vRS 230 is the fastest Octavia ever made and the most powerful vRS version. We drive it at the Slovakia Ring
  • First Drive
    3 September 2015
    First UK test of Fiat's best-selling city car, which has been overhauled for 2015
  • First Drive
    3 September 2015
    Volkswagen reveals the second generation of its high-riding Passat Alltrack estate. We drive it for the first time on German roads.
  • First Drive
    2 September 2015
    Kia facelifts its Cee'd and drops its six-speed torque converter in favour of a new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox in the process. We drive it for the first time