Bargain Bin Porsches: Boxster or 924?

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If you are on a tight budget but still want to drive a Porsche, which of these market bargains do you pick?

Okay, the Number27 YouTube channel is based in the UK, so don’t pay too close attention to the prices as their market is quite a bit more expensive than we’d expect to pay here in the US. It’s fair to say that 924s, especially the S models, are on an upward curve of appreciation at the moment, but can still be had for between 6 and 10 thousand dollars if you search a bit. Early 2.5-liter Boxsters have sort of reached the bottom of their depreciation curve, and a good driver can be found for similar money. In point of fact, we purchased a quite nice 1997 model a couple years ago for $7500.

Now that we’ve got pricing out of the way, which of these cars is actually a better driving experience? The best way to describe the difference in feel is to say that you sit in a 924 or 944 while you sit on a Boxster. In the video, they note that the 924’s engine — in this case, the later 924S cribbed an engine from its 944 sibling — feels more characterful (we had to chuckle at the thought of anyone thinking that engine had carburetors, though). We might disagree with that assessment, as the 2.5 Boxster engine is perhaps the greatest Porsche engine in terms of auditory gratification, at least in the modern era. Rev it above 4,000 RPM and you’ll hear a snappy high-pitched wail more common in racing applications, and the induction noise is intoxicating. By comparison, the 2.5 in a 924S is more industrial sounding, but provides a sensation of greater torque.

Porsche

As the chassis are concerned, they’re both brilliant. The 924S is essentially a narrow body 944, but doesn’t lose much in the cornering department without wider fender flares. It’s got stellar steering and a fantastically balanced chassis. Anyone who describes it as less than a Porsche has never driven one, regardless of the source of its Volkswagen-bin suspension parts. 986 Boxsters are also stellar handling cars with the serious road-holding ability you’d expect from a mid-engine Porsche.

Given the choice between the two, we might be inclined to choose the Boxster as it’s a more well-rounded car. It’s a tough choice, though.

Bradley Brownell is a regular contributor to Corvette Forum and 6SpeedOnline, among other auto sites.

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