Porsche Boxster Gen I
In October 1996, Porsche introduced the Boxster as its entry-level model. Unusually, the car was released just as a cabriolet, and it wasn't until 2005 that the coupe Cayman was released alongside the second generation Boxster.
With a mid-mounted M96 water-cooled 2,480cc flat 6-cylinder DOHC engine, the Boxster produced 204bhp, driving the back wheels. The gearbox was either a 5-speed manual or the 5-speed Tiptronic (in the Boxster Tiptronic S). There was an automatically-operated rear aerodynamic spoiler, and both PAS and ABS were standard.
The first generation (Gen I) Porsche Boxster is now often known by its Porsche designation of 986 to differentiate it from later models. A break with tradition for Porsche, the Boxster shared a number of major components with its 911 (996) stablemate that was introduced the following year. This reduced costs for Porsche and provided them with financial stability through a time of falling sales.
In 2009, two additional engine options were added, a 2.7 and 3.2-Litre versions of the M96. The Boxster received a minor facelift in 2002, with more purposeful bumpers and changes to light clusters, plus some interior improvements. At the same time, the rear window was changed from plastic to glass. In 2004, a limited edition Anniversary model was released to commemorate 50 years since the release of the Porsche 550 Spyder.
The engines tend to be good, but some earlier (pre-'99) cars did suffer from cracked/ slipped cylinder bores. Most of these were fixed at the time, so this issue is rare to find these days, and the issue was fixed with the engine upgrades in 1999. Some cars also suffered from IMS bearing issues but these were also rare. Rear main oil seal leaks are much more common but are more of an annoyance than anything else and it's probably not worth getting it done unless you're getting a new clutch fitted.
In value terms, early base 2.5-Litre Boxsters are the cheapest, with post-1999 2.7s and 3.2s being the more desirable options, especially post-2002 facelifted cars which tend to achieve 20-50% more. The 550 Anniversary Edition, being a late 3.2 and with fewer available, tend to achieve 10-15% more than a standard 3.2 of the same year. As with all Porsche models, low-mileage, matching number cars with the right spec are the cars to find.
The Boxster has great road handling, good build quality and a prestigious badge on the front; it's a great was into modern classic ownership. Alternative coupes from the era could include the Lotus Elise for handling or the Mazda MX5 for practicality.