Buyers Guide to:
Porsche Boxster S (986)
1999 to 2004
Porsche Club Great Britain
The Porsche Boxster went on sale in October 1996 and is widely credited with being the model that saved the company. With finances in a bad way, a smaller and cheaper sports car was needed that would slot below the legendary 911 and attract a larger number of buyers to the brand. Early models were fitted with a 204bhp, 2.5-litre flat six but in August 1999 this was replaced by a more powerful 2.7-litre engine, and the ‘S’ was introduced with a 3.2-litre motor boasting a useful 252bhp. Capable of 0-60mph in 5.7 seconds the S blended strong performance with superbly agile handling. Despite this, some questioned whether the Boxster was a ‘proper’ Porsche, but they were soon proved wrong and the model would remain on sale until 2004 when it was replaced by the second generation car.
- When we worked on our Porsche Boxster S, we didn't find any particularly worrying corrosion hotspots, but we still recommend you give the car a thorough looking over in all the usual spots.
- Every inch of the bodywork for damage. Corrosion shouldn’t be an issue – although it’s worth checking for any minor rust bubbles on very early models - and would likely be the result of poorly repaired accident damage
- The bumpers for scuff and scrapes as replacements are hugely expensive
- The history very carefully; you need to be certain that the car you’re looking at hasn’t been involved in an accident in the past
- For any hint of problems with the flat-six engine, looking for evidence of oil leaks or overheating. Early models could suffer from
- a number of serious issues, including failure
- of the Intermediate Main Shaft (IMS) bearing which could destroy the engine - upgrades are available and cost around £700 at a specialist, so check whether this has been done
- For signs of oil leaking between the engine and transmission. It means the Rear Main Seal (RMS) has failed and replacing it requires gearbox removal; if it’s minor it can usually be left until the clutch is changed. Overall, an inspection by a Porsche specialist is strongly recommended
- That regular servicing hasn’t been neglected. Buying a car without a full service history from a Porsche dealer or respected specialist would be very risky, so avoid examples that have been run on a shoestring
- Manual transmissions for signs of bearing noise or worn synchromesh. They are generally robust but abuse will take its toll, and gearbox replacement is extremely expensive. A clutch pedal that feels excessively heavy almost certainly means a new clutch is needed, and you can expect to pay around £1000 at a Porsche specialist
- The operation of the Tiptronic automatic gearbox. Be extremely wary of a car exhibiting problems as the cost of replacement runs into thousands, and won’t be economically viable on a cheap example
- For signs of worn suspension bushes, concentrating on the front lower arms and the anti-roll bars; a complete overhaul is costly. Upgrades are popular so make sure you’re happy with any work that’s been done. And check for kerbed alloy wheels which could have led to suspension alignment issues
- The brakes for wear, ensuring that the discs aren’t showing signs of corrosion or cracking. A Porsche specialist will charge around £1200 for new pads and discs all round
- The cabin for signs of scruffy or damaged trim. Quality materials were used which means refurbishment won’t be cheap
- That all the equipment works, especially items such as electric windows and multi-media systems. Repairing failed items is costly, and they may have been ignored by a previous owner. Plenty of options were available when new, so it’s important to establish the exact speci cation of the car you’re looking at
- For any problems with the air-conditioning. The nose-mounted condensers are susceptible to damage and corrosion, so if it’s not blowing cold don’t just assume that a re-gas is needed
- The condition of the hood, and that it operates correctly. Cars built before 2002 had a plastic rear screen which can crack and turn opaque, and it isn’t cheap to replace
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