BaT Bargain of the Week: 2001 Porsche Boxster S

2001 Porsche Boxster S on Bring a Trailer article highlights:

  • The 2000-2004 986 Boxster S is a sportier, faster, more powerful version of the mid-engine roadster that helped save Porsche
  • There’s a well-maintained 61,200-mile manual 2001 Porsche Boxster S with an IMS replacement currently listed on Bring a Trailer
  • At its current $4123 price, it’s a substantial bargain, even for a first-gen Boxster

The 911 might be Porsche’s image maker, but it’s not the brand’s only thrilling sports car. With its mid-engine layout, the Boxster can match the 911’s athleticism at a more affordable price. But you don’t have to shell out for a brand-new one to experience its thrills. Instead, you can save some cash for gas and get a used one like the 2001 Porsche Boxster S listed this week on Bring a Trailer.

‘S’ for ‘sportier’: The 986 Porsche Boxster S adds more spice to the mid-engine modern classic roadster

A yellow 2001 Porsche Boxster S
2001 Porsche Boxster S | Porsche
2000-2004 ‘986’ Porsche Boxster S
Engine3.2-liter ‘M96’ flat-six
Horsepower250 hp (2000-2002)
258 hp (2003-2004)
Torque225 lb-ft (2002-2002)
229 lb-ft (2003-2004)
TransmissionsSix-speed manual
Five-speed automatic
Curb weight2855 lbs (2001 manual)
0-60 mph time5.2 seconds

Popular culture claims that the Cayenne SUV saved Porsche in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, but that’s only partially true. Before the Cayenne ever moved a wheel, another car kept the company’s lights on. Inspired by the Miata’s success and the iconic 550 Spyder race car, Porsche created its own affordable roadster, the mid-engine 986 Boxster. And for the first six years of its production, 1997-2003, it was the best-selling Porsche ever.

But while the earliest 986s were a ton of fun—almost literally, given their curb weights—in a bit of foreshadowing, some customers wanted more power. So, in addition to enlarging the base Boxster’s engine in 2000, Porsche also introduced the even larger-capacity Boxster S.

Thanks to a bigger engine and extra gear in manual form, the 986 Porsche Boxster S hits 60 mph over a second sooner than the base model. It also stops better thanks to larger four-wheel disc brakes from the contemporary 996 911. And with wider wheels, stiffer springs and shocks, and revised suspension geometry, the 986 Boxster S handles even better, too. Plus, its engine isn’t just bigger: it also has a higher redline and an extra radiator.

Admittedly, the 986 Porsche Boxster S isn’t the most luxurious convertible sports car. It didn’t have a glove box or a glass rear window until 2003, for example. But this relatively basic nature is also part of its appeal. And even 25 years later, as it’s become a near-classic Porsche, the first-gen Boxster S still serves up smiles.

You can try winning this manual 2001 S right now on Bring a Trailer

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Although it’s an entry-level model, the 986 Boxster S is still a Porsche. So, for its day, it offered some premium features. And this 2001 Porsche Boxster S currently listed on Bring a Trailer has several of them.

Since it’s a pre-2003 model, this Boxster S’ soft top has a plastic rear window. But this car also has an electronically-deploying rear spoiler, xenon headlights with washers, automatic climate control, and a wind deflector. Furthermore, the interior features partial leather upholstery and a six-speaker Becker audio system. Plus, the seats are power-operated.

As it’s a 986, this 2001 Porsche Boxster S did have the infamous IMS bearing. However, the seller replaced it last year along with the clutch and rear main seal. They also performed the 60,000-mile service, flushed the coolant, and replaced the spark plugs and coil packs at the same time. Also, they recently flushed the brake fluid, swapped out the outer sway bar links, and replaced the front fender liners.

In addition to this service history, this 2001 Porsche Boxster S has a clean, accident-free history, too. It’s also in great shape apart from some seat wear and some carpet stains. And it has just over 61,200 miles on the clock.

This 2001 Porsche Boxster S is a sports car bargain, but will it be reliable?

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As of this writing, this 2001 Porsche Boxster S is listed at $4123 with three days left in the auction. That’s roughly one-third of what a fair-condition 986 Boxster S usually sells for, Hagerty says. And for comparison, a brand-new 718 Boxster S starts at $77,500. In short, this 986 is a certified bargain Porsche.

Since it is a 20-plus-year-old sports car, potential bidders should get a pre-purchase inspection. And though this car has a new IMS bearing, that’s not the only problem that can plague 986 Boxsters. However, as a 2001 model, this Boxster S likely won’t have any engine block or cylinder sleeve issues. Also, it doesn’t appear to have any symptoms of cylinder scoring or cooling-system failure. And its soft top and rear window are solid, especially for their ages.

So, if you’re looking to slide into an affordable Porsche sports car, this 2001 Boxster S might be your mid-engine ticket.

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