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End of production for ICE-powered Porsche Boxster and Cayman in mid-2025

10.07.2024 By Richard Lindhorst
End of production for ICE-powered Porsche Boxster and Cayman in mid-2025

It is now official: production of the Porsche Boxster and Cayman with internal combustion engines will come to an end – after a total of almost three decades – in the middle of next year. Production Director Albrecht Reimold explained in an interview with Automobilwoche that the popular mid-engined sports cars will only continue to roll off the production line until summer 2025. Reason enough to take another look at the various generations of Porsche’s entry-level sports cars.

It all started with the Boxster Concept at the 1993 Detroit Motor Show

Porsche presented the study of a two-seater roadster in Motor City in 1993. It was to be the first new model with a water-cooled six-cylinder boxer engine. Its name was a combination of these two words. The roadster with a boxer engine became the Boxster. Its concept hit like the proverbial bomb.

Porsche Boxster design study © Porsche

Shortly after the start of production in the summer of 1996, it became clear that the Boxster had what it took to lead Porsche into an economically healthier future. It was designed to share its front end with the later Porsche 996. This equal parts strategy was the key to making Porsche profitable again.

The Porsche Boxster 986 became an absolute blockbuster

The success of the mid-engined sports car, known internally as the 986, proved it right. Even its entry-level model with a 2.5 liter engine and 204 hp sold like hot cakes. In the first three model years alone, 55,705 units were produced. The first update followed for the 2000 model year with the 2.7 liter Boxster, producing 220 hp and the Boxster S with a 3.2 liter engine and 252 hp. With 40,937 and 35,575 models sold respectively, the pleasing sales figures continued.

In the last two model years, 2003 and 2004, Porsche again offered revised models with 228 and 260 hp. The crowning glory was the Boxster S 550 Spyder with 266 hp. It was officially limited to 1,953 units. 1,964 were built, including prototypes. The design by Harm Lagaay turned Porsche around financially. Its six different models named Boxster, Boxster S and Boxster S 550 Spyder sold a total of 164,874 units. The Boxster established itself right away in Porsche’s model range and has been an integral part of it ever since.

The second generation Boxster, the Porsche 987, was launched in 2004

After the ground-breaking success of the first Porsche Boxster, it was clear that a successor would follow. With the 987, Porsche brought the second generation of the mid-engined roadster to Porsche Centers on November 27, 2004. For the first time, Porsche’s entry-level model was given an independent front end and presented a clearly modernized appearance. Similarities to the second water-cooled 911, the Porsche 997, were particularly evident in the interior. Initially, the drivetrain was still based on that of its predecessor. Detailed revisions raised the output of the 2.7 and 3.2 liter engines to 240 hp in the Boxster and 280 hp in the Boxster S.

The first Porsche Cayman followed in September 2005

In order to offer customers an entry-level coupé below the 911 as well, Porsche created the closed version of the Boxster for the 2006 model year. The coupé was given the name Cayman. The chassis and handling of the closed two-seater with 245 or 295 hp enchanted the press and customers right from the start. There were even more and more voices attesting that the mid-engine platform had more sporting potential than the 911.

By the end of production in 2011, the 987 platform had undergone two revisions. In 2007, the Boxster received the same engines as the Cayman with 245 and 295 hp respectively. The major facelift followed in 2009, when the so-called DFI engines with direct fuel injection were introduced. Output increased to 255 and 310 hp in the Boxster and 265 and 320 hp in the Cayman. In addition, the outdated Tiptronic S was replaced by the new 7-speed Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK).

A total of 79,093 units of the second generation Porsche Boxster were produced. The pre-facelift model accounted for 63,313 units, while 15,780 were built in the model years 2009 to 2011. The special models Boxster RS 60 Spyder and Boxster Spyder are already among the sought-after classics with 1,964 and 1,944 vehicles built respectively. This compares with 15,350 Cayman and 27,040 Cayman S of the first generation. Production numbers for the facelift Caymans cannot be determined with certainty. A total of 8,215 examples of the 987.2 Cayman S are said to have been built between 2009 and 2012. In addition, there were 1,621 Porsche 987 Cayman R as the crowning glory of the series.

The Porsche 981 Boxster and Cayman finally emancipated the mid-engined sports cars

Porsche launched the third generation Boxster for the 2012 model year. The roadster, which was produced unchanged until 2016, received 265 or 315 hp Direct-Fuel-Injection (DFI) engines and an extensive styling update. The interior was very close to the Porsche 991 in terms of both quality and appearance. Its the three-dimensional rear lights with continuous tear-off edge mark the stylistic highlight in the history of the Boxster for many. The GTS model with 330 hp was added in 2014 and the Boxster Spyder with the 991’s 3.8-liter six-cylinder engine in 2015.

A year later, the 981 Cayman followed. The 1.3 tonne coupé enchanted with its great sound, outstanding performance and came dangerously close to the Porsche 911 at the time. With 275 to 340 hp engines, it had arrived in the league of the best sports cars in the world. With the introduction of the Cayman GT4 in 2015, Porsche finally paved the Cayman’s way to the sports car Olympus. The 385 hp GT4 is still one of the most sought-after models in the entire history of the Cayman. Porsche built a total of 54,374 Boxsters of the 981 generation and around 40,000 Caymans.

Porsche’s 718 Boxster and Cayman initially only came with turbocharged four-cylinder engines

For the introduction of the fourth generation of Porsche’s mid-engine platform in 2016, the Stuttgart-based company took the downsizing trend of the 2010s into account. Initially, the internally named 982 series was only available with turbocharged four-cylinder boxer engines. Although the 2 and 2.5 liter engines significantly improved the driving performance, they did not match the emotional appeal of their predecessors. Even though the base model could already accelerate to 100 km/h in under 5 seconds and reached a top speed of 275 kph, the 982 did not win the hearts of Porsche fans to the same extent as its predecessors.

Porsche corrected this in 2019 with the introduction of the Cayman GT4 and the Boxster Spyder as well as the GTS 4.0 variants. Porsche also answered the calls of many fans for an RS model with a mid-engine for the 2022 model year. The 718 Cayman GT4 RS received the 911 GT3’s 500 hp engine, much to the likes of petrolheads all around the globe, offering a unique aural experience. This was followed in 2023 by the 718 Boxster Spyder RS, an open-top model with the GT3 engine. Even then, however, it was clear that no further mid-engined sports cars with combustion engines would follow after the 982’s end of production.

After almost three decades, the era of the mid-engined sports car as Porsche’s entry-level model is coming to an end

As Porsche’s 718 Boxster and Cayman – with the exception of the GT4 RS and Spyder RS – are no longer eligible for new registrations in Europe already, production of the Porsche Boxster and Cayman with combustion engines will finally end in 2025. Since 1996, Porsche has probably produced over 400,000 Boxsters and more than 150,000 Caymans.

Its successor is already in the starting blocks and will definitely be delivered with electric drive only. Nothing has yet been leaked about the final styling, performance figures or even prices. But one thing is certain: Porsche left a big mark in the small two-seater sports car world with their mid-engined Boxster and Cayman. And it will surely be missed!

Mach’s gut, Verbrenner-Cayman! © David Fierlinger, Elferspot

We will certainly miss the ICE Boxster and Cayman. For decades, they were an affordable entry into the Porsche world and, most recently, even very close to the performance of the top-of-the-range 911 models.

© Titelbild: Porsche

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