Despite its age, the Porsche Boxster still carries enough driving enjoyment.
If you have driven a car topless you will totally agree with me that there is just nothing better than driving a convertible top. We are talking about a roof down driving experience.
Of course in our humidity and heat it might seem pretty silly to have your roof down while the rest of the commuter traffic is increasing their car air-conditioning fan speed and lowering their temperature. But when the sun is about to go down and the traffic is moving at a quick pace, top down driving is one of the many pleasures of motoring.
That is why we are looking at used convertible sports car that now sells in a price range reachable by many middle class drivers. Arriving some 25 years ago in 1997 here in Malaysia this is the Porsche Boxster.
The Porsche Boxster is a mid-engine roadster that carries on into its 4th product lifecycle today and after some 25 years it still looks great. When the Boxster arrived as a production model, it joined BMW’s Z3 and Mercedes-Benz’ SLK but offered more driver enjoyment and lower ownership costs when compared to its German cousins.
It is a lightweight, agile, responsive and balanced roadster that still looks as good as the day it was launched. This two-seater mid-engined roadster continues to be a fun and exciting car to drive.
The very rare and well built first generation version came with a 2.5L engine that produced 204bhp and later the power was uprated to 225bhp with the introduction of a better and much smoother 2.7L engine.
Then when die-hard Porsche fans complained of its lack in enthusiasm against the SLK AMG and the Z3 ‘M’, a more powerful Boxster S was launched delivering 258 horsepower.
For a convertible, the first Porsche Boxster came with a decent sized boot so a weekend away with the wife or other half will not be a problem but do not expect your golf clubs to fit.
When on the test drive you should find a car that is smooth in its power delivery while returning a seductive engine note. Maintenance costs are lower than a Porsche 911 and spare parts are still easy to source locally and online.
A noisy radiator fan is common. Check the reservoir for water with no rust or muck as this could mean a radiator that needs servicing or ready for a change. You must check the folding roof to see if it works without jerks or too much hesitation.
If the hood mechanism makes too much noise or jerks during opening and closing then this could be costly. Yes, the top is expensive to maintain especially when the motors give up. Replacement cost is high however it is still lower than a Z3 or SLK.
Check to make sure the rear ‘plastic’ window (only in the early 2.5L version) is not scratched or faded which is common and that is why later models came with a glass version.
Buying used is great as most first owners look after their Boxster and keep their bills. Most new Boxster owners would have treasured their cars and low mileage would have been recorded. Finding a decent unit is not a problem. Prices range from RM65,000 for an early 1997 model to only as much as RM75,000 for a late 1999 version. Problem is finding a unit for sale.
Most owners trade this early Porsche drop-top amongst friends or keep it for their next generation. So, you might have to increase your budget to RM95k or so and look at a year 2000 next generation Boxster 3.2L which sells from RM90k to RM135k.
Check for hood assembly mechanism, general electronics and accident damage. These are the only areas of concern when selecting a used Boxster. If the car gets full marks here then your used ownership will be relatively painless and you get a solidly built and sexy sporty convertible which will also turn the corner as quickly as it will turn heads.