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

    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

Explore the Porsche range

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    21 May 2015
    The DS 5 is hard to pigeonhole but it works as a package. Impressive French-style long-range cruiser, albeit at strong money for an unproven brand
  • Car review
    21 May 2015
    The industry's biggest power makes a plug-in hybrid for the masses
  • First Drive
    21 May 2015
    The 4C improves, and the Spider is a good conversion, but it remains dynamically troubled and absurdly expensive
  • First Drive
    21 May 2015
    More traction and nothing separating Jag's monstrous V8 mouthpiece from your ears. It's the shoutiest, priciest F-Type on sale, but is it the best?
  • First Drive
    20 May 2015
    The C63 may have lost its big V8, but its replacement makes it difficult to mourn