As long as there have been used cars, there has been this question: are you better off buying a new vehicle, or picking up a used offering and making a few aftermarket modifications? While the answer is far from clear, Auto Express has put together a video that will attempt to well and truly put the argument to bed... or at least add fuel to the fire.

Using a 16-year-old, second-generation Mazda MX-5, the AE team has set itself a modification and improvement budget of 5,000 pounds (about $8,200 at today's rates). Without crossing that threshold, the MX-5 will need to be upgraded to the point that it will be able to turn a quicker lap time than a brand-new Porsche Boxster (which is not a Boxster S).

Now, this is only the first part of a series, and covers the upgrades to the old NB. AE will be delivering a dedicated track battle video between the MX-5 and the Porsche soon. You can bet we're eagerly awaiting the arrival of that one.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 23 Comments
      domingorobusto
      • 3 Months Ago
      Of course the older car will mop up on the road course. To make an even more valid comparison, you could buy an old S2000 for $15,000, sink $10,000 in mods into it, and it would absolutely DESTROY the Boxster around a road course for half the price. But the S2000 will be much more highly strung, less comfortable, and not have the Porsche's warranty. But does the warranty matter when you still have $25k left over? You could just build another S2000 with that money. Or 5 more Miatas. If you want a track toy, you buy used, obviously. Even if you want a fast daily driver, you buy lightly used and avoid that nasty first two years depreciation cliff. This is news to no one.  
      ScottT
      • 3 Months Ago

      I'm more than a little skeptical of their prices.   After looking on Ebay, an NB in good shape with less than 100K miles are selling for at least 3 times their £1000 estimate.   


      And even if you're getting it used, I kind of doubt you are going to find a racing supercharger with an inter-cooler, injectors, new manifold, ECU and the rest of the "bits" for just £1K.  Unless of course it's your brother that is selling it to you.


        Steve Sweetz
        • 3 Months Ago
        @ScottT

        More than their arbitrary £5000 target, sure, but still a lot less than a new Boxster, no?

        Though it's all pretty moot because realistically speaking, track performance is probably quite low on the list of the average Boxster purchaser's actual motives for buying the car.

      Steve M
      • 3 Months Ago

      Why not do a more meaningful test against the Porsche Boxster - like going up against an Audi TTS or TT RS?  Now that would be a family feud!

      me
      • 3 Months Ago

      The reason these comparisons are pointless is because no one would likely drop 8k in mods into a $2000 car.  You won't get any of that money back and it's not like you get that great of a vehicle out of it.

      Ppl complain that the Boxster costs too much, but they will throw 8 grand away?  Misses the whole point.

        Nick Ricci
        • 3 Months Ago
        @me

        Talk about not getting your money back try buying a new boxster and selling it in 4 years. 

        Daniel Bissell
        • 3 Months Ago
        @me

        You have never been to a race track have you? There are $100K cars with their too much money to know better owners and there are the $8K cars running around at the same time. The ability to drive a nice road coarse in a car you built or bought off the shelf is so easy these days and exciting to participate or just watch. I am much happier spending 1000 a year for up keeping a racer and competing on the same level as the guys bringing much more to the track.

      TooManyCars
      • 3 Months Ago

      Screw this . Where are the details for the ND Miata???

        Jaybird248
        • 3 Months Ago
        @TooManyCars

        Just over 7 hours to wait.  Reveal is at 9 PM EDT tonight.

      nocommie22
      • 3 Months Ago
      This is like comparing a Burger King dollar menu beef patty to a filet mignon. No matter how much BBQ sauce you put on it, it ain't the same.
        graphikzking
        • 3 Months Ago
        @nocommie22

        Are you serious? 

        It depends on the customer. You take a poor, homeless person from a 3rd world country and they will probably think the burger is better! They have "fresh bread" which they probably have never had + vegetables + meat + condiments. 

        Or they will just have a steak? I know me, I'd choose the filet every time but it depends. 


        Tracking a Miata is much more engaging and fun (I track a 2001 MR2 spyder). Knowing it only costs me $10,000 with 30,000 miles on the clock I drive it harder in the corners and not nearly as afraid of wrecking as I would a $65,000 car! (Or even $30,000 used).  I've passed many fancied up Porsches, BMW's, Mustangs etc going into the turns because they were so afraid to lose their expensive rides. 

        davebo357
        • 3 Months Ago
        @nocommie22

        It's more like taking a Whopper and a $15 restaurant burger, giving them to identical athletes then seeing who can run the 100m race faster.  They're both going to run about the same but the Burger King was a lot cheaper if all you care about was the track time, and if you want to pay a lot more for a better meal you're welcome to do so.

        Nine Elements
        • 3 Months Ago
        @nocommie22

        I think likening the Miata to Japanese fried chicken karage, and the Boxster to a European herb roasted chicken in white wine sauce is more accurate.  Both are delicious, for different flavor profiles and contexts.

        Miata, like chicken karage, is casual.  Available for mass daily consumption, in a comfy ramen shop.  Can be customized to taste, using an assortment of sauces.  And satiating appetite with the right amount of calories is merely a matter of eating enough.

        The Boxster, like hours- roasted chicken is more refined, more pricy, more luxurious.  More likely to be enjoyed by the average buyer in refined gentleman setting than a very raw setting.  Sometimes an adult palate would prefer a more mature experience.  Something to pair with wine, rather than with beer. 

        One is satisfying in a very Japanese flavor and sense of efficiency. The other is European flavored, with a sense of indulgence.  But both can make a person happy, depending on one's needs and craving for a certain flavor profile.

        Chris O.
        • 3 Months Ago
        @nocommie22

        The cars may not be the same, but you're talking about a Miata and a base Boxster... neither is filet mignon.  It's a Burger King combo compared to a Kobe burger. 

      carboy55
      • 3 Months Ago

      This just in: A "hopped up" Honda Accord can keep up with a stock Nissan GT-R if you give it to a race shop with a blank check. That us all.

      Georg
      • 3 Months Ago

      let me see how many customers are there world wide shopping for a brand new Boxster or a used old clunker 1000pound Miata and sink 4000bucks in it...  none...


      they come up with an answer to a question no one is asking


      No one buys a Boxster as a track toy... it is just a extremly well balanced fun to drive and rather quick car.

      If someone has Boxster money and wants a track toy he gets a Radical SR3 SL in the UK. There are next to no road leagal (in Europe) cars that can take on a SR3 SL on the track. U could spend 100.000bucks in ur used Miata and would not be able to beat a SR3 SL around a track...

      autophiliac
      • 3 Months Ago

      The Spec Miata I drove around Watkins Glen was about 7-8 seconds per lap faster than my Boxster S.

      Hell, most Chump Cars will run a faster lap than a stock Boxster.

      You can't compare modified cars to stock cars.

      Justin
      • 3 Months Ago

      After the Miata beats the boxster race it against a Mustang GT500 with 662HP because it has the same MSRP as boxster.  The boxster is overpriced and underpowered sportscar everyone knows that. Its the Apple of the car world.  

      jcar302
      • 3 Months Ago

      So is part 2 of the video done yet?  

      While the miata isn't for me, it looks like a ton of fun to work on.   Wish my wife would agree to letting me build her on with a 5 liter in it.

      pavsterrocks
      • 3 Months Ago

      Why the artificial 5,000 budget?  The miata needs a limited slip, a well sorted turbo kit, radiator, and some suspension mods.  Probably closer to 10000 (though I am thinking $$, not euro) to make it one of the fastest cars on the track.

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