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Budget Based Porsche Buyer’s Guide: $100k

In this buyer’s guide, we look at what $100,000 can offer in the way of the Porsche sports cars.

For prospective shoppers, six figures represent new cars, the Boxster Cayman 718 range, five-year-old 911s, and some very desirable, and above all, usable air-cooled cars.

On a different budget? Check out these other Buyer’s Guides

Porsche Boxster / Cayman Under $100k

With a six-figure budget, the buyer can contemplate a new 350 bhp Cayman S or the Boxster S, but Porsche’s notoriously expensive extras could easily add $20,000 to the new price. Depreciation, as my dad was fond of pointing out, is steepest in the first year of almost any mass-production car’s life and means there are some tempting specifications just below the magic 100K with little used examples.

A relatively new Porsche 718 Boxter can be had for $98,000, with only a handful of delivery miles.

Porsche 718 Cayman T

With the flat four 718, it is really a case of buy now while stocks last: gasoline 718s (and Macans) will be withdrawn from sale in Europe in June: EU cyber security regulations from July would apparently require expensive retooling of the electronics on this essentially eight year-old model. With the electric 718 barely a year away (and as discussed previously, poor sales in high tax markets such as France) Porsche has deemed the flat four not worth updating for the old continent.

The naturally aspirated flat six 718s escapes this edict which does not in any case affect North America. Now a wonderful anachronism in a turbo-charged automotive landscape, the 4.0 litre is effectively last vestige of the original unblown Porsche engine and lives on tuned the over 500 horsepower for the 911 GT3, the Cayman GT4 and Boxster Spyder, or at around 400 horsepower for the Cayman and Boxster GTS.

The GT3 and GT4, unashamed track cars, though still street-able, are well beyond the $150,000 mark and these will be covered in a later report. More accessible are the easier going (this is a relative term) GTS models which are beautifully finished, use Porsche’s famed six-speed manual gearbox rather than the PDK derived seven manual of the 911 and still rev to 8,000rpm.

Admittedly they aren’t out of the blocks quite as fast as the frenetic 2.5 S, but while the turbo four is running out of breath over 5500rpm, the four-litre is just getting into its stride with that howling flat-six accompaniment. The pleasures of delayed gratification provided the road ahead is clear.

US pricing which has historically always been more favourable than European levels has base pricing for the 4.0 mid-engine pair not much over $100K though once the buyer stars adding some of Porsche’s more desirable options, this can go up 15% or 20%.

One way to stick within our admittedly arbitrary limit is to look at the used market. As we are again talking about almost new cars, the Porsche Centers invariably have the best selection. A Porsche dealer in Barrington, IL offers a blue 2022 Boxster GTS 4.0 with 17,831 miles. At $101,000, it has been on the market for some time which may mean some price flexibility.

2022 Porsche 718 Boxster

For $1000 more, you may be able to find a PDK Cayman GTS 4.0 instead. Edmunds has over a dozen GTS Cayman listings around $100k or less, such as this 2019 GTS with 56,264 miles and well below the $100k budget.

2019 Porsche 718 Cayman

Porsche 911s Under $100k

A hundred thousand dollars buys a lot of pre-owned 911. New pricing for the 2024 992 Carrera 2 begins at around $115,000 rising to $131,000 for the S.

Fully specified and 4×4 as well would add at least $10,000 more. Unlike the Porsche SUVs and electrics, the 911 depreciates quite slowly: four years into the 992’s model life, it is necessary to hunt extensively to find even the base Carrera 2 at the magical $99,999 and that is likely to be a high-mileage car sold by a non- specialist dealer or private owner.

The previous model, the 991.2 had essentially the same engine series in a slightly narrower body. Because all 992s use the wider 4×4 body, it is visually bigger than its predecessor, but it can take a second glance to appreciate this.

Price often depends on where the car is purchased. Advertised at $103,857 by a Fort Wayne Chrysler dealer, a 2017 Carrera S Coupe with apparently only 22,425 miles looks interesting, presumably a trade-in that this non-specialist would be happy to part with quickly, with a likelihood in flexible pricing bringing it below $100k.

Porsche 911 Carrera S Coupe

For $10,000 more, Mercedes Benz in Richmond VA will sell you a late 991.2T, a 39,000mile example with the manual seven-speed gearbox. The T was around for fewer than two model years and with its sportier pretensions, keeps its value well.

2019 Porsche 911 Carrera T

A 997, this time the 408 horsepower GTS is offered at a rather lower $79,900 by Paradise Motorsports in Lexington, PA. With 27,000 miles on the clock this is more the sort of price you might expect to pay for a low mileage 997 with a correct history file.

2012 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS

High mileage cars should not be dismissed out of hand: consumables wear obviously and cabin and body are exposed to use, but engines, provided the oil is changed, wear far less than cars which are only ever driven over short distances. Vehicle City Motors of Flint MI has a white 115,000 mile Carrera S at $82,920 which can barely have cooled down in its less than six years. An astute buyer might want to investigate.

2018 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S

Porsche dealers tend to be more expensive than the generalists and a 2015 991.1 S is the last of the naturally aspirated 911s (except of course for the GT3s).

2015 Porsche 911 Targa
This 2015 991.1 Targa was listed for $104,000.

At $104,000, it does not at first sight look like a bargain, but it is the more softly suspended Targa, quite a special 911 which owners tend to look after. Always impressive with its trick folding roof, this one has covered only 15,000 miles.

Porsche 911 Targa for sale
Various Porsche 911 Targa sales in the USA.

Until 2016, 911s were either naturally aspirated or turbocharged; with the 991.2 generation, Porsche retained the ‘Turbo’ as the flagship model, differentiated from ‘lesser’ 911s by its larger engine (the Carreras now used a new twin-turbo 3 litre unit) and higher specification and price.

With a limit of $100,000 to spend, 991 Turbos (2013-2019) are not thick on the ground in North America. Indeed even though the earliest cars are a decade old the paucity below $100,000 is striking and clearly the model does not depreciate at the same rate that it does in the UK. The local website for example lists 22 Turbo 991s of which 15 are below the equivalent of $100k.

By contrast, in the US, such vertiginous (by 911 standards) depreciation is not apparent. The 991Turbo does hang on to its value: none of the usual internet markets offered a 991 Turbo below $100k and the lowest price uncovered in the official Porsche network was $105,000.

This perhaps explains why the previous 997 generation Turbo has, like its successor, retained much of its original value. These are clearly sought-after cars. The going rate for a late 997 Turbo is $95,000 and up and again these are hard to find.

Speed Gallery Miami has a black 2011 PDK example with 49,000miles previously offered at $109,000, now $99,990. Likewise, a private sale in San Bruno CA of a 2007 44,000mile Turbo, unattractively described as having “loads of upgrades” was on offer at $89,900. Approach with caution.

2011 Porsche 997 Turbo

The earlier 997.1 Turbo (2006-2008) was the last blown 911 to use the ‘Mezger’ 3.6, a less refined but famously robust powerplant and despite their age, these models are still sought after. Potential buyers will want to see complete service histories because with cars of this

vintage, age-related matters – replacement of suspension arms, coolant and brake ducting and mechanical components like oil/water separators are the main concern.

A car where refurbishment has already been carried out should cost far less in the long run. There is a vast difference in price for these cars depending on condition, the best examples advertised at well over $130,000 or ‘modified’ cars sometimes available for half that. 997 Turbos of both generations have become a distinctly specialized purchase.

Air-Cooled Porsches Under $100k

For a few months during 1998, Porsche was building two types of 911. The 993 S was being phased out and manufacture continued, not just to use up parts and tooling, but because demand remained strong. Production of the new 996 began in early spring using the chassis which was already in production for the 986 Boxster.

Yet in 2024, you can find a serviceable 996 coupé for $24,000, but a 993 only a couple of years older will cost at least double. At $50,000 the offer very likely would be the less attractive cabriolet version with automatic transmission and in need of expenditure. The 996 was faster, more economical, more refined, easier to drive yet today the 993 is the 911 people want.

Appreciation of air-cooled Porsches is not a new phenomenon – the legendary Carrera 2.7 RS, to the chagrin of Americans never sold in the US, was already worth $60,000 in 1995 and by 2005 they could change hands for half-a-million. It was only a matter of time before other air-cooled 911s too saw their value rising.

While $100,000 is not enough to enter the realm of the fabled RS models, rare versions or restored pre-1974 cars, it does offer many highly acceptable ‘regular’ Porsches which all exhibit those unmistakable air cooled 911 characteristics. Previous reports have looked at

what the market offers at $50,000 and at $75,000 and if the former category was very limited, the latter was more promising. Adding a further twenty-five grand opens a wider selection of what essentially were ‘common’ Porsches in their day.

Returning the 993, often regarded as the most handsome pre-98 911if not the best looking 911 of all, good examples are to be found in our budget.

Appointment-only dealer Euro Prestige Imports of Indian Trail NC has a 1996 manual gearbox AWD cabriolet priced at $87,220.

1996 Porsche 911 Carrera

The manual gearbox C2 is harder to find. Advertising through, Beverly Hills Car Club offers a metallic green C2 at $96,500, but with the four-speed Tiptronic gearbox. Beverly Hill also has a manual shift C2, but evidently an imported car, it also has a non standard front bumper (modified Porsches are almost always worth less). Priced at $84,500, the more expensive 993 may be thought better value for money.

The 964 (1988-92) was perhaps the least successful 911 during its brief existence and immediately outshone by the 993 when it appeared. Somewhat neglected by the early 2000s, its more modern underpinnings – its strut suspension did away with the 911’s archaic torsion bars, made many 964s the basis for the resto-mod and reimagined crowd which has depleted its ranks to the point where a good original C2 is hard to find below $100K.

For buyers prepared to compromise with a cabriolet and the 4×4 transmission versions the choice is slightly wider, but an unmolested C2 which ten years ago might have been $50,000 is now comfortably into six figures.

A Hollywood dealer, Specialty Car Collection, sold a 964 cabriolet at $81,990 in early 2024. Striking in white, with its lowered suspension and non standard wheels, this might be something of an acquired taste. The significant price cut suggests the dealer hadhad it in stock for some time.

The G series 911- the so-called impact bumper cars came to the US in 1974. In terms of development and sophistication, the best of these is the 3.2 introduced in 1984. The 3.2 also marked the first convertible 911, a model which Peter Schutz, Porsche’s American CEO lobbied hard for when he was appointed in 1981.

The 3.2 is a particularly robust, reliable 911 where the main weakness is corrosion of the underbody. Today, many examples have had some sort of restoration., but the dark green C2 advertised by Beverly Hills again via Hemmings looks original. To judge from photographs, see one below, wheels and ride height are all correct and the interior looks cared for. The 136,000 mileage is easily absorbed by the 3.2 provided it has been properly maintained (your correspondent’s 3.2 shows 190,000miles) but the $89,950 asking price is a measure of how sought after these 3.2s are.

1989 Porsche Carrera with Sunroof

As is usually the case, cabrios and Targas are normally worth less than the coupé. At $79,920, this yellow 1977 Targa is one of the better examples on offer.

1977 Porsche 911

Pre-1986 911s all had the 915 five-speed with Porsche synchromesh. A lighter and faster shift derived from racing and indispensable for diehards and Porsche purists, the 915 has none of the tolerance of classic cone synchromesh and when it is worn the shift is balky and unpleasant.

Rebuilding a 915 is expensive, the gearbox casings are now scarce and the slightly specialist reputation of the 915 means most buyers looking for the Carrera 3.2 tend to prefer the later G50 gearbox models and pricing reflects this.