Introduced in late 1996, the Porsche Boxster is Porsche’s first road vehicle designed as a roadster for quite a while, being a two-seater mid-engine roadster.
With its design heavily inspired and based on the 1993 Boxster concept, the lineup has been successful, featuring many models spread across four generations. It would inspire the creation of Porsche Cayman in 2005.
The community very well respects the lineup itself due to its lack of problems; however, there are still various models that have a few issues that make you think of the best and worst years for Porsche Boxster.
Luckily, I will be talking about all of these models and ranking them based on my research and the community’s consensus.
Best Years for Porsche Boxster:
Worst Years for Porsche Boxster:
I will also talk about the issues faced by these models and common concerns regarding them, so make sure you read the whole article.
List Of The Best Years For The Porsche Boxster: What Years To Buy
These years are well regarded by owners and critics as the most dependable lineup, featuring high performance and power, with little to no problems.
#1 Best Year: 2012 Porsche Boxster
The reason why I am placing the 2012 Porsche Boxster in first place on this list is that not only does this model have virtually no problems.
But it features amazing performance and power with its various trims, is moderate and fair in its price, and was released in the most admired generation of the lineup, in between various great models which are also mentioned in this list, which says a lot about this particular model.
This year brought four different trims to the market, all of these coming with great acceleration, handling, braking, and dual-clutch transmission, leading to a great driving experience.
It is equipped with many standard safety features and the elusive Spyder trim, which has a distinct look and high emphasis on performance, making it a borderline racing car.
#2 Best Year: 2015 Porsche Boxster
The 2015 Porsche Boxster takes the next spot in the list and is a step behind the 2012 model because of a lack of the Sypder trims, which was a highlight of that year. Nothing replaces this model as the 2015 Porsche Boxster is available in 3 different trims.
This, however, does not bring down the model much as many long-time Porsche owners, people who have owned various cars of the brand, prefer this to the other cars they have driven, praising its excellent daily driving capabilities and performance.
#3 Best Year: 2014 Porsche Boxster
The 2015 Porsche Boxster still made improvements in variety, considering that the 2014 model was only available in 2 different trims. This lack of choice is enough to impact its position and give it 3rd place.
It could have been a top contender because of its precise handling, high-quality interior materials, quiet and comfortable cabin, and a standard 265 hp 2.7 L flat-six engine which has a 315 hp 3.4 L counterpart, both of which offer great mobility.
#4 Best Year: 2013 Porsche Boxster
The 2014 model only had two different trims because it mimicked its predecessor, the 2013 Porsche Boxster, which also had two different trims and the same performance specifications as the 2014 model since it featured no significant changes.
The 2013 model ranks lower because it received more complaints against it from the NHTSA. While none of these problems were anything too serious, they still forced me to place this model at this spot on the list.
#5 Best Year: 2011 Porsche Boxster
A year before, the lineup would get its best model yet. The 2011 Porsche Boxster would also try to take the mantle by including the Spyder edition of the model among its three different trims.
Boasting high acceleration, excellent handling, and responsive braking, the model had a great drive quality and once again, has the Spyder trim as the crown piece of the year; being a really fun and enjoyable car that looks and feels so much better than the other models in the lineup.
If it had received the slight updates as the 2012 model, it could have easily been higher up on the list.
#6 Best Year: 2004 Porsche Boxster
The 2004 Porsche Boxster gets the 6th spot in this list because of the vast reliability of the product paired with its amazing performance. The 2004 model has great handling and braking, which alleviate its performance and potential.
Available in 2 different trims, the 2004 Porsche Boxster is not only fun to drive. Owners have reported using it for more than 14 years which is a lot when considering it is a sports car.
#7 Best Year: 2006 Porsche Boxster
Moving on to the last model on this list, you have the 2006 Porsche Boxster. I am placing this model here because despite having incredible handling and control, the car would drive extremely rough on harsh pavements and had issues with top-up visibility.
The driving pleasure and joy were mostly there, as it should have been with the high performance and responsive brakes. All of this was packaged in the still-new design introduced in 2005.
List Of The Worst Years For The Porsche Boxster: What Years To Avoid
While these models may be the worst, they are still pretty good compared to the worst years for other brands.
These just have a few issues which place them here below:
#1 Worst Year: 2003 Porsche Boxster
I am placing the 2003 Porsche Boxster in the first place because this model suffered from the most complaints in the entire lineup and three different recalls.
This model was released near the end of the first generation also left a bad stain on the lineup’s reputation. Suffering from decreased lighting visibility, drivers of the 2003 Porsche Boxster found themselves always at an increased risk of a car crash.
This issue led to a recall of more than 58,000 cars. The model was affected by various electrical problems, such as the ignition key not turning and the stereo tune knob randomly working and skipping stations.
The engine also had a couple of problems, with rattling and annoying noise and shaft bearing failure, a difficult issue to tackle and fix.
#2 Worst Year: 2000 Porsche Boxster
Also facing three different recalls, the 2000 Porsche Boxster had many issues related to the engine, fuel system, electrical system, and cooling system. The recalls were similar to the 2003 model; decreased lighting visibility.
Oil would leak into the cooling system, which would lead to water pump failure and the water drainage system would fail as the alarm control unit would get wet. Engine failure and loss of power were also common and reported by the NHTSA.
#3 Worst Year: 2002 Porsche Boxster
The 2002 Porsche Boxster had fewer problems compared to the models mentioned above; however, most, if not all, of these problems were found in the engine and transmission, which is enough for me to place this model in 3rd place.
The lighting issues spanned from 1999 to 2003, which means that the 2002 Porsche Boxster was also affected. The engine had a bad case of IMS failure and had a habit of oil starvation.
The NHTSA also criticized the engine on its cooling. The transmission cables were weak or low quality as they didn’t last long and would break.
#4 Worst Year: 2001 Porsche Boxster
Like the 2002 model, its predecessor, the 2001 Porsche Boxster, also suffered from fewer issues and complaints, but those that did affect the model were isolated in the engine, which is why I am placing this model at the 4th spot on this list.
Leaking oil and intermediate shaft failure was common, and the engine just would not shut off sometimes. The lighting recall affected the models, which is sad that this issue spanned for five years.
#5 Worst Year: 1999 Porsche Boxster
Only the 3rd model of the lineup, the 1999 Porsche Boxster, gets the 5th spot on this list due to the various complaints from the NHTSA regarding the engine clutch issues, and since it is the earliest model on this list to exhibit the decreased lighting issue.
The clutch had a habit of wearing out at lower mileages, and the model had a lot of various complaints from the NHTSA. Engine failure was common in this model, and the NHTSA had a lot to say regarding the engine’s cooling.
#6 Worst Year: 2016 Porsche Boxster
The 2016 Porsche Boxster gets 6th place because most of the models listed here are older generations. Still, the 2016 Porsche Boxster has earned a bad reputation due to its engine issues and brake problems and being a more recent model.
This is cause for concern. The model only suffered from one recall related to airbag ECU malfunction. Luckily it only affected 7,517 cars. The engine, however, was not so fortunate as it would emanate a burning smell and give out a loud ticking noise.
#7 Worst Year: 2005 Porsche Boxster
Taking its spot in last place is the 2005 Porsche Boxster which did not get affected by any recalls but did get a lot of complaints regarding its engine from the NHTSA and a couple of complaints here and there.
The engine is the biggest offender, having various cooling problems and a bad case of its intermediate shaft bearing failing. Aside from this and a few complaints, the model is fairly good.
All of these models are decent. It’s just that they have a few issues which knock them down a peg.
What Are The Most Common Problems With The Porsche Boxster?
Most models of the Porsche Boxster are great and solid vehicles, even the bad ones which are only affected by a few problems here and there.
However, some of these problems are very common between models and years, and I will go over them here.
1. Oil Leaks
Various models of the Porsche Boxster had a bad case of oil leaking. This would lead to misfires as the plug and coil would get destroyed.
What is worse is that this issue would have multiple causes, and sometimes there would be multiple sources of leaks, making it difficult to pinpoint the leak’s location and allowing the oil to wreak havoc on important components such as the spark plugs.
2. Decreased Lighting
This issue was very common in earlier models from 1999 to at least 2003, where the headlights of the models mentioned above would not contain the amber side reflective.
This resulted in them not being able to output enough brightness to be up to the requirements of the FMVS and hence would increase the risk of crashes at night. This issue led to a recall of all affected models.
3. CEL And Misfire At Higher RPM
Many owners of the Porsche Boxster have reported having experiences in the engine misfiring at 4,000 rpm or above. The engine would run perfectly fine below 3,000 rpm but would exhibit misfires above this and more commonly at 4,000 rpm.
The misfire would happen to one cylinder repeatedly and would usually be caused by a failing spark plug, injector, or coil and could easily be solved by replacing them.
While not exactly the fault of the engine itself as it is the engine’s job to work and heating up is natural, overheating is not supposed to happen as it can lead to engine damage.
Many models of the Porsche Boxster had received complaints from the NHTSA regarding the cooling systems of the engine, which resulted in the engine overheating and getting damaged.
5. Engine Issues
The engine is the most integral part of any car, so it is sad to see it being the cause of an issue.
Unfortunately, various models of the Porsche Boxster suffered from various engine issues such as Intermediate shaft bearing failure and sometimes straight-up engine failure.
These issues would be costly, but if the engine failed, it would have to be replaced entirely, which is even more expensive.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Is The Boxster A Poor Man’s Porsche?
The Porsche Boxster has been dubbed the poor man’s Porsche, which when you think about it is very true since the lineup is just a more toned down and less expensive alternative to other Porsche cars and lineups.
Many people consider the Porsche Boxster to be a gateway car where people can dip their toes in before experiencing the true speeds of the company’s much more powerful and high-performance sports cars.
Q2. Is A Porsche Boxster Expensive To Maintain?
No one said that a German sports car would be easy to maintain. Such is the case with the Porsche Boxster, which will cost you more than $15,600 in the first ten years alone, which beats the industry average by more than $3,600.
The car also has a near 50% chance to require a huge repair which can easily bump this offer up even more.
Q3. How Many Miles Can A Porsche Boxster Last?
Sports cars generally offer more speed than durability. Still, the Porsche Boxster seems to be an exception as many model owners have reported having been driving models older than 15 years and still going strong.
The average Porsche Boxster should last you more than 150,000 miles easily. This can be further increased to more than 200,000 miles if you keep the model maintained and drive well within its limits.
Q4. Is A Porsche Boxster A Good Daily Driver?
Most owners of the Porsche Boxster have claimed that the car is great for daily driving. The car is fun to drive, moderate in fuel consumption, and you will get many people staring at your car.
Some lineup models have a shortcoming of having lower mileages and high fuel consumption. Still, some models do not suffer from this dilemma and offer great and enjoyable rides.
Q5. Which Is Better Boxster Or Cayman?
The Porsche Boxster and Porsche Cayman are two sides of the same coin. The Porsche Boxster excels in speed and performance and offers more agile handling.
The Porsche Cayman offers slightly less agile handling but is available in a more comfortable package. Some sources say that Porsche Cayman can outperform the Porsche Boxster.
Assuming this to be true, Porsche Cayman should beat the Boxster by being just as fast and more comfortable.
The Porsche Boxster is an amazing lineup of 2-seater roadsters which offer great mobility, speed, and agility at a fair price point. While being considered the poor man’s Porsche, the Porsche Boxster is much better than most other cars.
When thinking about the best and worst years for Porsche Boxster, you realize that all the models, whether the widely regarded 2012 model or the slightly problematic 2003 model, are great in their own right.
It is just that some models have a few issues that other models do not. While some of these issues can be hard to deal with, they shouldn’t be any deal breakers.
Hi there! I am Tahir Azam, and this is my blog. WVDOT Automotive is a website dedicated to creating high-quality content for car enthusiasts. I am also an avid car driver. I own and drive a Porsche for my daily tasks. It is the perfect vehicle for my family. I am a proud father of two boys. I spend my mornings and evenings catering to clients at my very own software hub. After getting home, I dedicate a few hours of my time to create an article every day. Well, this is a short introduction about me and I am also a publisher on Amazon. I hope you enjoy reading through my articles, and I also hope that I may have helped you choose an upgrade for your vehicle.