The car that saved the company? How many times have we heard that said about a new Porsche model? In the case of the Boxster (factory code 986), introduced in 1996, it was true enough. Inspired by the legendary 550 Spyder, the Boxster introduced water-cooling and new production techniques, that allowed Porsche to compete competitively in the modern world. The Boxster was also the first taste of the brave new world of the 911, sharing as it did, much of the 911’s front end and a downsized 2.5-litre, 204bhp version the 911’s new water-cooled, flat-six engine.
And if the Boxster did save Porsche, then it’s because it was a work of some genius. A bold claim? Not really. The Boxster was a huge success. No other manufacturer had a sportscar that could compete dynamically, not then and not even now. It really was the junior mid-engined supercar, with its flat-six exactly in the chassis sweet spot and making a noise that is as unmistakeable as it is addictive.
As surely as night follows day, then a new Boxster – the 987 – arrived in 2004 at the Paris Motor Show. As with the 986 Boxster, it was developed alongside the forthcoming ‘new’ 997 model 911. Like the new 911, it was ‘beefed up’ in the body dept. The base Boxster came with a 2.7-litre engine, producing 236bhp, while the 3.2-litre Boxster S weighed in with 276bhp.
Which is exactly what we have here: An early 987 Boxster S. Plenty of those around, but not many with under 20,000-miles on the clock and condition to match.
Delivered to Porsche Centre Edinburgh in March 2005, this particular Boxster is finished in Midnight Blue, with a black leather interior. Typically, it is lightly optioned, but then there’s only so much trinketry that you can squeeze into a two-seater, before it starts to look ‘blinged’ up. Indeed it appeals to our purist sensibilities.
Crucially it’s a six-speed manual too, and with standard 18in wheels, it’s suitably light on its Michelin shod feet.
Servicing has been a mix of Porsche Centre and specialist, as evidenced in the stamped service book. Predictably, with minimal mileage, this has been largely routine, with no major issues. In recent years, this Boxster has had something of a sabbatical. Recent servicing has concentrated on recommissioning and as such it is ready to go, with fresh fluids/filters, brake pads, battery and paintwork, where required.
So, this is not your average 17-year old Boxster. Indeed it is hard to correlate age with as new condition. But unlike so many low-mileage cars – Porsche or otherwise – it’s value is not conditional on its mileage. This is a Boxster that deserves to be used.
First get the roof down! Second, fire up that charismatic flat-six! Excited? You should be. The clutch is light, the gearshift/box is one of Porsche’s best and the steering is hydraulically sublime. On the road the 18in wheels and passive dampers offer a near perfect blend of grip and ride and the handling is pure, mid-engined perfection, further aided by flat-six, low centre of gravity.
Performance – 166mph/0-60mph in 6.2 secs – and size are perfectly matched, for UK roads and if that’s not enough, there is the Boxster’s often unsung practicality, combining both front and rear luggage space for extended touring.