We’ve done many comparison posts, such as the Boxster 981 vs 718, but haven’t done a Cayman vs Boxster, until now. In this article, we will be comparing the popular Porsche Cayman and the Porsche Boxster based on many different topics. These topics include size, performance, common problems, reliability, and more. These two vehicles have a lot in common and what many don’t understand is the true difference between the two models, until after reading this article.
Porsche Cayman vs Boxster – The Basics
The first Porsche Cayman, or the 987 Cayman, was introduced in 2005 and two generations later, the 718 Cayman is still in production today. Since its inception, there have been many different trims: base, T, S, GTS 4.0, GT4, and many more. The Cayman became very popular in motorsports shortly after it was brought to the market and is still used by many on the track today.
The first Porsche Boxster, sometimes referred to as the 986 Boxster, was first introduced in 1996, almost a decade before the Cayman. It is still being produced today and is in its fourth generation, the 718 Boxster. When it was first released, it quickly became Porsche’s biggest volume seller until 2003 when the Cayenne was introduced. There have also been many trims for the Boxster: base, T, S, GTS 4.0, GT4, and many more.
- 987 Cayman (2005-2012)
- 981 Cayman (2012-2016)
- 718 Cayman (2016-Present)
- 986 Boxster (1996-2004)
- 987 Boxster (2005-2012)
- 981 Boxster (2012-2016)
- 718 Boxster (2016-Present)
Porsche Cayman vs Boxster Price
In this portion, we will be going over the brand new 2022 718 Cayman prices, 2022 718 Boxster prices, and used prices for both models.
New Porsche Cayman & Boxster Prices
There are 3 different engine options depending on the trim a buyer goes for. The trims are the same for both models. So, a base 718 Cayman starts at $63,400, a Cayman T starts at $72,500, a Cayman S starts at $75,400, and lastly a Cayman GTS 4.0 starts at $90,300. The 718 Boxster prices are slightly higher: a base 718 Boxster starts at $65,500, a Boxster T starts at $74,600, a Boxster S starts at $77,500, and lastly, a Boxster GTS 4.0 starts at $92,400. Now, the Cayman actually has two sportier trims: the Cayman GT4 (starts at $106,500) and the Cayman GT4 RS (starts at $149,100).
So what is the $2,100 difference for these new models? Short answer, a convertible. The Boxster only comes as a convertible and it is slightly more expensive to add it.
Used Porsche Cayman & Boxster Prices
In this section, we will be covering used Cayman’s and Boxster’s. Since the Boxster has been around a decade longer than the Cayman, we will use similar model years (2005-2021) for consistencies sake. A used Cayman’s (excluding the GT4 and GT4 RS) price ranges from $13,500 – $112,890* with an average price overall of $63,195, depending on model year and mileage. A used Boxster’s price ranges from $12,500 – $129,900* with an average price overall of $71,200, depending on model year and mileage. Now the sport Cayman’s GT4 and GT4 RS’ are much higher at an average price range of $89,900 – $168,444.
Therefore, excluding the GT4 and GT4 RS, the Boxster is more expensive on the new side and used side.
General Porsche Cayman & Boxster Topics
Porsche Cayman vs Boxster Performance
For consistencies sake, we will be using the 2022 718 Cayman and 2022 718 Boxster factory performance specs. The fun part, performance. There may be more similarities here than many would think.
Engines & Drivetrain
Porsche Cayman and Boxster Performance
The reason we have grouped the Cayman and Boxster performance together is that the engines used in all trims are the same for both. The base model and T trim feature a 2.0L turbocharged boxer engine that puts out 300hp (223 kW) and 280 lb-ft (380 Nm) of torque. It comes standard with a 6-speed manual transmission with the option of upgrading to a 7-speed PDK automatic transmission for an extra $3,700. The S trim features a 2.5L turbocharged boxer engine that puts down 350hp (261 kW) and 309 lb-ft (418 Nm) of torque. It also comes standard with a 6-speed manual transmission with the option of upgrading to a 7-speed PDK automatic transmission for an extra $3,210.
The GTS 4.0 models come with a 4.0L NA boxer engine that puts out 394hp (294 kW) and 309 lb-ft (418 Nm). To no surprise, it also comes standard with a 6-speed manual transmission with the option of upgrading to a 7-speed PDK automatic transmission for an extra $3,700.
Porsche Cayman GT4 and GT4 RS Performance
Now the fun part. If you are an adrenaline junkie and want some real speed, the 718 Cayman GT4 and GT4 RS are gonna be where it’s at. The 718 Cayman GT4 features the same 4.0L NA boxer engine as the GTS 4.0’s, but is tuned for more power. It puts out 414hp (309 kW) and 309 lb-ft of torque (418 Nm). And last, but certainly not least, the 718 Cayman GT4 RS. Surprisingly, it has the same 4.0L NA engine. BUT, it actually puts out a whopping 493hp (367 kW) and 331 lb-ft (448 Nm). The GT4 RS not only puts out more power, but it also comes with bigger brakes, weighs less, has wider tracks, and has more rear camber than the GT4.
The GT4 comes standard with a 6-speed manual transmission with the option of upgrading to a 7-speed PDK automatic transmission for an extra $3,700. While the GT4 RS comes standard with the 7-speed PDK automatic transmission.
Cayman vs Boxster Reliability and Common Problems
When it comes to which model has the best reliability, there isn’t much of a difference between the two internally. So, we have combined the two and will provide the overall reliability.
Porsche Cayman and Boxster
According to RepairPal, the overall reliability of the Porsche Cayman/Boxster is 2 out of 5. This is below the average 3.5 out 5 rating for other luxury compact cars, which ranks this vehicle 16 out of 17 in luxury compact rankings. If you are in the market for a luxury compact car, you should know it comes with high annual maintenance costs. So, to no surprise, the average annual maintenance cost of a Porsche Cayman/Boxster is $1,135.
Common problems seen in Cayman/Boxsters are transmission issues, faulty fuel level indicator, common oil leaks, premature ignition component failure (spark plugs, ignition coils, injectors), timing chain issues, electrical issues, and premature water pump failure. The only model years that stick out to us as the least reliable are the 2002-2003 model year 986 Boxster. Other than that, each generation has its own issues, but not too problematic.
Porsche Cayman vs Boxster – Which is Better?
Typically we feel that the “which is better” question is rather subjective because many consumers have different needs and wants. However, this comparison is pretty straightforward. Are you someone that wants a convertible? Then the Boxster is the one for you. However, a caveat with the Boxster is that convertibles do tend to have less structural integrity. So, if you are planning on taking your new Porsche to the track every weekend, the Cayman may be the way to go. If you are wanting more speed and power, the Cayman GT4 or GT4 RS are great performance options, although they can get pretty pricey.
Porsche Cayman vs Boxster Conclusion
To wrap up this article, we know making a vehicle purchase can be a daunting task, especially for a luxury compact vehicle. So, we hope the information provided above assists in the purchasing decision. A quick summary that distinguishes the difference between the Cayman and Boxster, the Boxster is a convertible. That’s it. Unless you are looking at the Cayman GT4 or GT4 RS, there isn’t a Boxster, or convertible, version of these. If you happen to be someone that has had first-hand experience with any models listed above, please let us know your experience in the comments below. This will help us with our research and future readers.