Difference Between a 987.1 and 987.2 – Porsche Boxster

Both the 987.1 and 987.2 versions of the Boxsters are excellent cars. There are many differences between the 987.1 and 987.2 Boxster models that are important for potential Boxster purchasers.

Difference Between a 987.1 and 987.2 – Primary Differences

The base 987.2 new features are new lights, engine, bumpers, instrument cluster, paint, headlights, and taillights over the 987.1 Boxster model.


All Boxsters that are 2005-2008 are 987.1. 987.2 are 2009-2012 cars. Smaller engines are also a giveaway. 2.5 or 2.7 equals 987.1, while 2.9 is 987.2. The 3.4 capacity remained the same throughout, but the 2009 3.4 engine was a completely new design. There are subtle exterior changes, mainly rear lights. But the interiors didn’t change at all.

The biggest 987.2 Boxster difference is the engine (there is no IMS bearing on the 987.2).

Difference Between a 987.1 and 987.2 – Clear Differences


Fog Lights

There are a number of subtle differences upfront. The fog lights have been moved outwards and their colored lens has been replaced with matte black plastic panels that now house LED daytime running lamps. 


The curves of the headlights are less round and the inside of the headlamps are no longer chrome but matte black. This makes the two individual lights under the headlight lens look more independent like the headlamps on the Carrera GT.

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Boxstertips – What Tools Do You Need for a Porsche Boxster

Rear Taillights

The rear taillights are shaped differently.  The 987.2 now uses modern LEDs for faster illumination and better longevity.  The reverse lamps are smaller and lower. The lower edge of the lamps is no longer horizontal but dips down into the bumper cover.

License Plate Housing

The license plate opening is shaped differently. There is now a standard dual outlet tailpipe and they have added a vertical brace to each of the horizontal openings.

Interior Changes

Inside the 987.2, the changes were pretty minor. The interior remained the same except for a few changes to the color of some of the instrument dials and dashboard components.  In the first generation 987.1, the dashboard components including the stereo, climate control, switch cluster, storage pocket, and horizontal dash trim were painted “Volcano Grey.”  In the 2009 cars, it finished those components in simple matte black. 

The new PDK transmission offered minor changes to the shifter and a new steering wheel. The 987.2 introduced the PDK twin-clutch gearbox instead of the previous Tiptronic transmission box.

In the 987.2 ventilated seats are available as an option and this was not an option in the 987.1.

One of the best upgrades to the interior (987.1 and 987.2) is upgrading all lights to use LED bulbs.

Difference Between a 987.1 and 987.2 – New Exterior Paint Colors

In 2009, Porsche Racing Green Metallic (my favorite) became available for $710 USD and Nordic Gold Metallic became available for $3,140 USD

Difference Between a 987.1 and 987.2 – Engine

The engines in the 987.2 are all new.  These new engines are still horizontally opposed flat 6 ‘boxer’ motors. But in these new engines, the prior four-piece crankcase with a separate crankshaft carrier has been replaced with a stronger lighter two-piece crankcase. 

The intermediate shaft used to drive the camshafts, which had proven to be a real Achilles Heel to many early M96 engines, has been replaced with a simpler chain drive system that runs off of each end of the crankshaft.  The IMS failures in the M96 engine also resulted in a major class-action lawsuit.

Porsche IMS Bearing Failure: Settlement Reached

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Difference Between a 987.1 and 987.2- The 987.2 MA1 Engine

The new engine represents the primary reason to opt for a 987.2 over the 987.1 versions of the Boxster.

Buying the 987.2 instead of a 987.1 will save you countless hours about ims/rms research in the many Porsche forums…

The 9A1 (MA1) receives a very sophisticated single oil pump that is electrically controlled to change oil pressure based on engine need, and it contains four scavenge pumps, two connected to each valve cover, improving a weakness in the M97 that could allow the oil to pool in the valve covers under very specific G-force conditions.  These engines are lighter, have fewer moving parts, make more power, and less pollution, and because they have fewer parts and improved lubrication, they are likely to be more reliable.

The new engine gets a 200 cm³ boost in displacement bringing total displacement to 2.9 liters producing 265 BHP, a gain of 20 horsepower over the outgoing 2.7 liters.  The new S engine doesn’t gain any displacement, but thanks to the fewer moving parts and the introduction of Direct Fuel Injection (DFI), this engine produces a hefty 25 more brake horsepower than the M97.1. 

DFI injects high-pressure fuel directly into the combustion chamber, instead of injecting it into the intake tract.  The DFI provides several advantages including more precise fuel delivery and the ability to make use of higher compression without pre-ignition.  More compression means more efficiency and more horsepower.  Make sure you are using the correct high-octane (with no detergents added) fuel.

987.1 and 987.2 Engine Differences

YearEngine ModelSizeHPEngine TypeCar Model
2004–2006M96.252.7 L (2,687 cc)237 bhpwater-cooled DOHC 24-valve Boxer flat-six (VarioCam)Boxster
2006–2008M97.202.7 L (2,687 cc)242 bhpwater-cooled DOHC 24-valve Boxer flat-six (VarioCam Plus)Boxster
2004–2006M96.263.2 L (3,179 cc)276 bhpwater-cooled DOHC 24-valve Boxer flat-six (VarioCam Plus)Boxster S
2006–2009M97.213.4 L (3,387 cc)291 bhpwater-cooled DOHC 24-valve Boxer flat-six (VarioCam Plus)Boxster S
2007–2008M97.223.4 L (3,387 cc)299 bhpwater-cooled DOHC 24-valve Boxer flat-six (VarioCam Plus)Boxster “RS 60 Spyder Edition”, Boxster S “Porsche Design Edition 2”
987.1 Boxster Engines
YearEngine ModelEngine SizeHPEngine TypeCar Model
2009–2012MA1.202.9 L (2,893 cc)252 bphwater-cooled DOHC 24-valve Boxer flat-six (VarioCam Plus)Boxster
2009–2012MA1.213.4 L (3,436 cc)306 bphwater-cooled DOHC 24-valve Boxer flat-six (VarioCam Plus)Boxster S
2010–2011MA1.223.4 L (3,436 cc)316 bphwater-cooled DOHC 24-valve Boxer flat-six (VarioCam Plus)Boxster S
987.2 Boxster Engines


The 987.2 vs the 987.1 represents a complete redesign of the engine for 2009 and eliminating the IMS concerns. 987.2 has superior oiling, better cooling, 4 scavenge pumps (vs 2 in the 987.1), better transmission, better fuel gauge, and so on. The 987.2 uses Alusil alloy used for the crankcase (987.1 used the Lokasil method.) 987.1 is a good car and the 987.2 is a great car in terms of reliability.Notes:

987.2 Benefits:

  1. DFI – Direct Fuel Injection
  2. Removal of the IMS in the engine design
  3. 4x oil pickups vs 2x on the 987.1
  4. On-Demand oil pump
  5. Alusil alloy used for the crankcase vs Lokasil in the 987.1

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