By   April 12, 2016

Porsche Boxster or 944 S2

Porsche Boxster (986) or 944 S2

Both the Porsche Boxster and 944 are two of the best handling cars that the German performance car maker has ever produced. Both have very neutral handling and performance figures of the early 986 Boxster and 944 S2 are very close. They are now both very affordable Porsches but what should you purchase on the used market?

Porsche 944 S2 Performance Specs

Powering the 944 S2 is a naturally aspirated 3.0-liter front mounted inline four-cylinder engine. Power output is 208 horsepower which was quite a bit for its time. To help keep the handling neutral a transaxle was placed in the rear which helped keep the front to rear weight distribution near 50/50.

The S2 has an official 0-60 mph time of 6.5 seconds, but many magazines of the time were able to manage a time of 6.0-seconds flat. On the track a top speed of 150 mph is possible.

It is capable of 0.90g of lateral acceleration. That is about as good as you can find in a car from the late 80’s and early 90’s. The handling is so good that it can only be described as feeling like the car is on rails.

Porsche 986 Boxster Performance Specs

The early 986 Porsche Boxster offers 201 horsepower from a mid-rear mounted naturally aspirated 2.5-liter flat-six power plant. This and it’s relatively low curb weight of 2,822 lbs help it launch from 0-60 mph in the officially quoted time of 6.7 seconds, but magazines of the time managed times of 6 seconds flat. All out on the track a top speed of 149 mph is possible. The lateral acceleration of the roadster is a very impressive 0.95g, so it is no wonder they do so well in autocross.

Thanks to the engine being placed in the middle handling is excellent. Plus the placement of the engine give you that great flat-six sound right behind your ears.

Porsche 944 S2 Values

For a Porsche 944 S2 values are on an upswing. Finding a good S2 is no easy task as they were only a little over 20,000 made world wide (about 5,000 of which were convertibles). At the lower end a car in fair condition expect to pay about $7,000. For an example in good condition expect to pay about $13,000 with prices raising as high as about $28,000 for an example in excellent condition.

Porsche Boxster (986) Values

Right now the early 1997-1999 Porsche Boxster 986s are incredible values. At the lower end an example in fair condition can easily be found for about $5,000. For a car in good condition prices raise to about $10,000 with that price going up to about $15,000 for cars in excellent condition.

Our Take

Both cars are great vehicles and looking at current values the 944 S2 is the better investment. It appears like its value will continue to appreciate although it will likely never be a blue-chip investment. Plus the pop-up headlights give it a vintage 80’s look and those who don’t like traditional Porsche styling will probably like the styling much more.

The early 986 Porsche Boxster is a true Porsche in every sense of the word. Unlike the 944 which can trace its roots to the 924 with its VW / Audi ties, the Boxster was always designed to be a Porsche. The Boxster has traditional Porsche styling and it is still in production. Values have likely fallen about as much as they will, but they may stay flat for a while.

If you are looking for an investment finding a well maintained 944 S2 is the better bet. However, if you want a car that is unmistakably a Porsche and gives you the feel of a flat-six engine, the Boxster is the better choice. Having driven both it just offers a slightly better driving experience. It probably isn’t a shock that many Porsche enthusiasts have gotten into the marquee with the 944 and then moved on to the Boxster (and often from the there the Cayman and 911).

The sound alone makes the Boxster the better sports car, but don’t expect to make any money on it for some time. Having said that, the fact that the new 718 Boxster will use a turbocharged flat-four could see the values of flat-six powered Boxsters on the rise in the next few years.

Our thought is, if you have the cash, buy both. The Boxster for daily enjoyment and the 944 S2 for the weekends to help keep the miles lower. However, if you only afford one we would buy the Boxster. You won’t make any money on it, but it sure is a fun way to spend some cash.

What would you buy and why? Let us know in the comments.

Picture Source: Randy43