The Porsche 911 is an automotive icon. The car has successfully set a world-class standard for sports cars and has been part of the automotive landscape for much of the past 50 years.
Modern versions of the Porsche 911 offer the latest in engine technology and more performance than all but a few exotic cars.
Most of us grew up wanting one, but our childhood dreams have been squashed by the ever-increasing prices of new and used 911s.
There are two distinct kinds of Porsche 911: air-cooled and water-cooled. The pre-1999 cars were of the air-cooled variety, while everything after is water-cooled. If you think you can save money by opting for something like a 1996 911, think again. Those old air-cooled cars have become valuable classics and can command between $40,000 and $100,000, or even more.
A new 911 will easily set you back $90,000, while late-model used ones aren’t too far behind.
The only affordable options left are the 1999-2004 models, of which the 2002-2004 models are the most desirable. If you want an affordable 911, look there before prices go through the roof.
If, however, you can settle for a car that isn’t a 911 but offers great driving dynamics and a much smaller price tag, keep reading…
That’s not a Porsche, it’s a Boxster!
The enthusiasts love to pan the Boxster, which, in its early days, may have been deserved. Since about 2013, though, the Boxster has grown up and offers nearly as much fun (some might even say more fun) than the 911. And used prices are much more affordable!
This is essentially a Boxster with a hardtop; many people find it hard to differentiate the Cayman from a 911 Carrera coupe. If you want performance and those unmistakable Porsche looks without the 911 price tag, this could be your car.
The big selling point of the classic 911 was its power-to-weight ratio. It was a light machine that was easily thrown around a track. Today’s modern MX-5 Miatas hearken back to those days, but are easier to maintain and easier to buy.
This is a car that looks far more expensive, and exotic, than it really is. Used prices are somewhat reasonable, especially when compared with most 911s. The performance value here is solid, and you can be sure to turn heads wherever you go. Finding your Elise can be a little more difficult, but a persistent search will pay dividends.
You won’t find a coupe version, but the S2000 offers spirited performance and a sleek look while going easy on the wallet.
What would be your alternative to the Porsche 911?
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Used Porsche 911
Used Porsche Boxster
Used Porsche Cayman
Used Mazda Miata
Used Lotus Elise
Used Honda S2000