Porsche 987 Boxster Buying Guide: What to Look For

Porsche 987 Boxster Buying Guide: What to Look For

May 25, 2020

The Porsche Boxster is one of the most sought-after Porsche models on the market, and collectors everywhere salivate over the prospect of owning one. In particular, the Porsche 987 Boxster represents the height of luxury craftsmanship. If you’re considering getting one, there are several things that you should know about this piece of precision technology.

porsche 987 boxster parked in parking lot

The Car’s History

The introduction of the original Porsche Boxster to the market made converts of many gearheads who were on the fence about the luxury brand. The second-generation came out in 2004, and it found the same receptive drivers. The 987 Boxster retained perhaps 20% of the DNA of its predecessor. The real difference between the first generation and the second was that the interior of the new car more closely resembled that of the Carrera GT.

Features of the Entry-Level 987

The 987 Boxster has a 2.7 L flat-six, the same engine as the 986 version. The real difference between the two is in the area of power output. With the 987, you get 237 BHP and 199 LB per FT of torque. It can go from 0-62 mph in 6.2 seconds, which is .2 seconds faster than the 986.

Then, there is the 987 Boxster S version, a more tricked-out option that also gives you the 3179cc flat-six. However, with the S class, you get 276 BHP and 236 LB per FT of torque. That version will take you from 0-62 in just 5.5 seconds. Clearly, the S class is what you want if your priority is burning up the road.

Those figures are what you’ll get with the standard manual gearbox. That’s a five-speed for the non-S version. With the S class, it’s a six-speed. Keep in mind, though, that the five-speed Tiptronic is available with both models if you’d care to go that route.

Wheels for the 987 Boxster

If you get the non-S version of the 987, expect it to come with 17-inch wheels. The S comes with 18s, though 19s are also an option if you don’t mind paying a little more. Both cars also come with PSM, which stands for Porsche Stability Management. This is the revolutionary technology that keeps the car grounded firmly during those aggressive turns on a racetrack.

With the 987 Boxster, you can also expect a Sport Chrono Package that gives you fast engine response. You get Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes, sometimes written as PCCB, and Porsche Active Suspension Management, or PASM. All of these are Porsche exclusives, and when you drive the vehicle, you’ll get to experience the difference they make over virtually any other make or model of car.

Trim Packages

In March of 2006, the company came out with a Sport Design Package. With this exclusive customization, you got a rear diffuser, a modified rear wing, and front spoiler lips. In August of that same year, both the regular and S versions also got an upgrade in some other areas.

The basic version got what is called VarioCam Plus valve control. This endowed the car with 242 BHP, which was almost unheard of at the time. The 0-62 MPH got 0.1 seconds shaved off.

The difference with the S model was more pronounced. An added 15 BHP brought the total to 291. This was because of the addition of a 3.4 L engine that originally came with the Cayman S.

Adding that engine also increased the S-class’s torque. It got boosted up to 251 LB per FT. Its speed for 0-62 was cut down to 5.4 seconds. The coolant and oil filters were made more accessible with this version, and there was also an optional revised Tiptronic S transmission.

The RS-60 Spyder

The RS-60 Spyder hit the market in March of 2008. It was the first “987 generation special,” and it received rave reviews from the Porsche faithful. It was an homage to the classic 1960 718 RS 60 Spyder.

The new RS-60 Spyder had quite a lot to recommend it. With it came a unique front spoiler that gave it a streamlined look. GT metallic silver was the color, and it also came with 19-inch Porsche Sports Design alloys. The output was officially listed at 299 BHP, and it also had a modified sports-style exhaust system.

PASM came standard, as did a red hood and red leather interior. There was also an option of dark grey leather with a black hood. Only 1960 were made, and as you might expect, these vehicles are extremely difficult to track down today. If you find one for sale, expect to pay top-dollar for it, especially if it has been well-maintained.

Boxster Porsche Design Edition 2 

In September of 2008, another special edition came out, the Boxster S Porsche Design Edition 2. Only 500 of these were released. You got 299 BHP with that version and the same RS 60-style engine. Carrera white paint was the color of choice for that one. With only 500 of these machines ever released, they are even more challenging to locate than the Spyder.

The Gen 2 987    

In late 2008, another special edition, the Gen 2 987, was released. The engine was the most significant change for this version of the Boxster. The non-S variety now came with a 2.9 L unit and 251 BHP standard. That’s good for 214 LH FT of torque. The S came with a 3.4 with direct injection. 306 BHP was what you could expect with that one, and torque of 266 LB per FT. 0-62 MPH with these two models was 5.9 and 5.3 seconds, respectively.

The engines did away with the intermediate shaft of previous versions that had been seen as problematic by some past 987 owners. The six-speed manual came standard with both cars. A seven-speed PDK was another difference, as these versions retired the Tiptronic.

Both suspension and steering were upgraded with these two editions. The wheel width was wider, and a limited-slip differential was added. The style was somewhat updated, but nothing too dramatic from previous versions. LED rear units were added, and there was a new headlight design, featuring bi-xenon lights.

The Boxster Spyder

The Boxster Spyder came out in 2010. It was a lighter vehicle, designed to sit above the S-class. It came with a 3.4 flat-six and 316 BHP. The styling has a few tweaks, with an elongated rear panel. There were also some weight-saving measures, such as carbon bucket seats, a primitive manual roof, and an aluminum engine cover and doors.

The Boxster S Black Edition

This was the final 987 model that was released during this stretch of innovation by the company. It came with the same 316 BHP engine as the Spyder. You also got 19-inch alloys and midnight-black paint, as the name indicated.

It hit the market in 2011, and with only 987 of them out there, this is another rare gem from the Porsche line. The following year, the 987 was officially replaced in production by the 981, ushering in a new generation of Porsche sports cars.

The Cost of Various 987 Boxster Models

 What it’s going to cost you to purchase one of these machines is likely to vary dramatically. There are certain parts of the country, and indeed, the world, where they are more prevalent. You can expect to find something like the standard 987 Boxster without too much difficulty. You might be able to find one for as low as $60k or so.

That price would indicate a model in pretty good condition, where the owner has been careful about the upkeep. The mileage on it will also impact the sale price.

If you’re on the hunt for something like the 2010 version of the Spyder or the much sought-after Black Edition, then you’ll almost certainly be paying in the six-figure range. $150,000 might not be too much to pay for one of the rare collector’s editions.


A lot of owners choose to upgrade their porsche exhaust with a high performance aftermarket alternative exhaust system. Cutting edge aftermarket exhausts are designed to flow better than stock exhaust systems, an upgrade will make air flow faster, allow it top breathe easier and will ultimately increase it’s horsepower and torque.

Aside from an increase in power, opting in to upgrade your 987 boxster exhaust will provide better fuel economy and put out a more satisfying and deeper grow. 


If you own a Boxster, then there are certain periodic issues that they can encounter as they age. Oil leaking around the bell housing can indicate that the crankshaft oil seal is failing.

What you also want to watch out for is bearing-type noises coming from the rear of the engine. That indicates an issue with the intermediate shaft, where drive is transferred from the crankshaft to the camshafts.

If the bearing fails, then you will probably have to rebuild the engine. In fact, if you can find a 987 generation Boxster at a lower price, it might be because the owner doesn’t want to bother with an engine rebuild. You will have to ask yourself whether you’d be willing to pay for that costly rebuild yourself to get the vehicle street-ready again.

Overall, it’s hard to imagine a better find than a vintage 987 in excellent condition. If you’re hunting for one, and you’re not an expert, be sure to bring along a knowledgeable friend or relative who can look over the vehicle and tell you whether you’re getting a good deal.