The 981 Boxster was a bigger car than the 987 it replaced, but it was also lighter and more powerful. While it is undoubtedly true that the earlier cars with their hydraulically assisted steering were more tactile, this newer model has a far more modern cabin, much more muscular styling and, in the way its suspension combines body control with ride comfort and bump absorption, one of the best real-world sports car chassis of recent memory.
Apart from being such a joy to drive, the Boxster has resolutely held its value, it seems, because the model that replaced it in 2016 just hasn’t been met with the same level of demand. Its turbocharged four cylinder is nothing like as sonorous as the 981’s tuneful normally aspirated flat six, and many buyers have elected not to upgrade.
For the full interactive sports car experience you’ll probably want the manual transmission, in which case your options will be somewhat limited. So many new buyers ticked the PDK box on the options list that finding a manual car today is anything but straightforward. Porsche’s approved used stock showed only four such examples offered for sale for less than £35,000 at the time of writing, although it should be said the PDK dual-clutch automatic ’box is actually very good in its own way. And if the basic 981 Boxster with 261bhp is simply far too underpowered? You’ll want to spend upwards of £34,000 on the 311bhp Boxster S.
Need to know
The 981 Boxster should be serviced every 20,000 miles or two years, whichever comes first. A minor service is around £500 at a main dealer; the major service is only a little more expensive.
In 2015 Porsche introduced the Boxster Black Edition. Aside from black paintwork and 20in wheels, these models also got an uprated infotainment system, parking sensors at both ends, cruise control, two-zone climate control and a better stereo.
Along with Porsche Torque Vectoring, other options to look for are Porsche Active Suspension Management and the Sport Chrono Package, which includes adaptive transmission mounts. Uptake was modest, though, so you might have to wait patiently.
Porsche Boxster (981): The faster Boxster S is more desirable in absolute terms, but it costs quite a bit more. The basic Boxster is fast enough and best enjoyed with the superb six-speed manual transmission.
Porsche Boxster GTS: Cherry-picking all the best performance bits from the options list, such as Sport Chrono, the 2014 GTS was the most involving Boxster of the lot (save for the super-rare Spyder). You’ll pay for it, though: the earliest cars still command £50k.