Sunday 5K German Toss Up: 1998 Porsche Boxster or 2004 Audi S4

Late model German performance cars have a well earned reputation for lightening owner’s bank accounts in order to keep them in top shape.  We have two cars for sale today with similar amount of miles, similar price tag, and similar known engine issues.  First generation water cooled Porche Boxster and 911 engines are prone to IMS bearing issues.  Audi B6 and B7 V8 engines were similarly blessed with timing chain issues.  With these potential issues in mind would you be willing to take a five grand flyer on either of these autobahn burners?  Today’s craigslist choices are this 1998 Porche Boxster in Ridgefield, CT for $5,000 firm or this 2004 Audi S4 in New Canaan, CT for $4,900. 


The 2004 Audi S4 has 190,000 miles on it and has had an eye watering amount of maintenance done in the last two years.  The $12,883 in repairs was done on:

1. 2-15 Timing chain, upgraded cam adjusters

@ 151K $ 2330

2. 7-15 New AC Compressor, ABS Module, New Radiator and secondary Radiator

@ 154K. $ 4466

3. 3-17 Replace cooling gasket, Bypass hoses, Heater hose and Rear coolant pipe

@ 187K $1951

4. 7-17 Replace Rear Struts

@186K $1518

5. 9-17 Replace steering rack bolts, Front Struts, Front tires $2618

The 1998 Porsche Boxster has 168,000 miles and is being sold by a Porsche PCA member.  The car was bought in April of this year and a relocation to NYC forces sale.  Here is the information provided by the seller:

PCA Member selling 1998 Porsche Boxster Base – 5 Speed Manual 168k
miles. Purchased in April ’17 with 163k miles. Move to NYC and causing
sale. No maintenance records prior to purchase, but happy to share mine
and clean CARFAX. Replaced front/rear sway bars, front end alignment,
completed “snorkel mod” +5hp and guttural sound, 2 keys and MVA
emissions approved through Oct. 2019. Clutch recently replaced – shifts
tight and smooth. Everything works – top, windows, HVAC, after market
Pioneer Bluetooth stereo with remote, etc. Goodyear Eagle Sport
All-seasons with plenty of tread left. No info on IMS, but with new
clutch and this many miles I was never concerned. Headlights – 986/996
issues, front bumper – rock chips, and driver seat – cracked are well
worn (see photos). Great car, fun to drive! Best $5k you’ll ever spend!
Autocross, Track Days, cruises through the hills and twisties. Full
transparency. Firm on price. New top, headlights, seat, wear and tear
all factored in.

It is not unreasonable to think you could spend a couple grand a year keeping either of these machines in top shape.  A IMS or timing chain failure could essentially wipe out nearly all resale value of either car.  Feeling lucky?  Which one would you choose or neither??

See a German car that makes you want to hide your ATM card? email

Cory finally got nearly all the interior reinstalled on his 1995 Mercedes C36 AMG.  DT project car write up coming soon on the car.