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Porsche Boxster (981) - The Story

The third-generation Boxster (internally known as the 981) was announced on 13 March 2012 at the Geneva Motor Show with sales starting in early summer 2012. The 981 Boxster reflects the new design language from the 911 (991) and 918, and features new and revised engine and transmission specifications.

Boxster 981 Model Timeline

3rd Gen Porsche Boxster Model Guides (2013 - 2016)

The standard Boxster was fitted with a new 2.7-litre flat-6 engine, and the Boxster S was fitted with the existing 3.4-litre engine but with revised performance. Both engines are equipped with a 6-speed manual gearbox and an optional 7-speed reworked PDK. Both manual and automatic models were available with several technical options including Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) and a Sport Chrono Package. The range was expanded in March 2014 with the addition of the 2015 model year GTS. It got slightly altered front and rear bumpers, the GTS black treatment and 15 hp more power from the 3.4-litre engine. Add some tasty hardware as standard and this is our pick of the 981 Boxster variants.

The third generation Boxster was a bigger car than the 987 it replaced, but it was also lighter and more powerful. The 2013 model year Boxster went through a downsize program and received a 2.7-liter boxer engine, which was 0.2-liter smaller than its predecessor. With 261 bhp @ 6700 rpm and 206 ft lbs @ 4500 rpm the base Boxster still felt underpowered to many. The base 981 Boxster got a 6-speed manual gearbox or you could opt for an optional 7-speed reworked PDK. The base car is plenty fast but if it were our money, we would opt for the more powerful Boxster S.
Unlike its Boxster brother, the S version of the mid-engined Porsche roadster offered a 3.4-liter unit from its predecessor, but with some improvements and a lower vehicle mass. It offered 311 hp and enough torque to push the car to 100 kph (62 mph) in 4.8 seconds if the car was fitted with PDK (automatic dual-clutch). The two-seat roadster featured a clean design interior, with influences from the Carrera GT super sports-car. The Boxster S was the sweeter of the two models.
The two most powerful and fastest mid-engine sports models from Porsche are ready and raring to go: with uprated engines and excellent PASM chassis the Boxster GTS and Cayman GTS set new benchmarks for sportiness in their segment. 3.4 L naturally aspirated flat 6 is good for 330 hp. Sport Chrono package is standard. This means that in conjunction with the optional Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) and the active Sport Plus button, the Boxster GTS sprints from 0-100 km/h in 4.7 seconds.

3rd Gen Porsche Boxster Special Models

Porsche unveiled the Boxster Spyder special edition in April 2015 at the New York Auto Show. The styling of the car was similar to the previous generation Spyder, continuing the twin hump rear deck and manually operated canvas top. It also shared some styling with the Cayman GT4, using the same front and rear fascia. The engine is also shared with the Cayman GT4, but mildly detuned. It is a 3.8 litre flat-6, making this the largest and most powerful engine used in a Boxster at the time, rated at 287 kW (385 hp). This allowed the car to attain a top speed of 290 km/h (180 mph). It was also the lightest Porsche in the model lineup at the time, weighing 1,315 kg (2,899 lb) and it was an absolutely cracking car to drive. A future classic for sure. The other special edition Boxster 981 was the Black Edition, which was basically a base 981 Boxster with black color treatments and some options thrown in as standard.

Following in the footsteps of the nineteen fifties and sixties 356 Speedsters, 550 Spyders, different 718 Spyders and the two thousand ten Boxster 987 Spyder, the Boxster 981 Spyder is by far the most powerful of them. The power-to-weight ratio of the original 718 Spyder 1.7- and 2.0-litre 4-cylinder models was better though already 55 years earlier. Visually the Porsche Speedsters and Spyders are characterized by their unique side view silhouette - the result of the low windscreen and low roofline when the temporary canvas top is fitted.
The mid-engine roadster is powered by the 2.7 liter flat-six engine with 265 hp. Its color concept remains consistent with the soft top and supplemental safety bar which are both finished in black. The wind deflector reduces undesirable turbulence when the soft top is down. 20-inch Carrera Classic wheels and the Bi-Xenon™ headlights with Porsche Dynamic Light System (PDLS) set distinctive highlights, while standard two-zone air conditioning and heated seats provide a higher level of comfort for both driver and passenger. The Porsche Communication Management system is included as standard.

3rd Gen Porsche Boxster Specs Summary

These cars were slightly faster and more performance focused than the first and second generation Boxster, but saw improvements made over the years which you can see below. The engine upgrades and tweaks to hardware over the years meant the 981 Boxsters were strong performers in most areas.

3rd Gen Boxster Pictures, Galleries & Videos

The Porsche Boxster was a revelation when it was first released, but the updates in the second generation made it a more complete package as a sports car. By the time the third generation Boxster 981 rolled around the journalists and reviewers who covered the launch were smitten by just how good the Boxsters were. By this time, most people were arguing whether you ever needed to choose a 911 over a Boxster anymore. The video reviews below show you how strongly people felt about the cars. Enjoy our interactive galleries and awesome videos of the third generation 981 Porsche Boxster.

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