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Old 03-31-2007, 08:15 PM   #1
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2003 Boxster S or 2005 Boxster?

I am in the market for a used Boxster and I am facing some decisions that I need some opinions on.

I am looking to spend somewhere in the $35k range and have come to realize that a 2005 base Boxster (987) would probably cost close to the same price as a 2003/2004 Boxster S (986). Which car would you choose and why?

I am leaning towards the 2003 Boxster for a few reasons. First is that I think I would like the extra power the S has to offer even though the 987 base Boxster had a bump in power. Second, the 2005 may be prone to a few more issues as it is a first year model.

Now the 987 Base Boxster would certainly have advantages like a much improved interior and probably more tuning in handling and chassis and overall refinement. I also like that PSM is standard.

What else can you tell about the differences between the two and which one you would pick?

Kan-O-Z
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Old 04-01-2007, 04:30 AM   #2
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I was faced with the same choice when I bought my 2001 S. I liked some things about the 2005 of course. The interior hands down. In the end, I couldnt get away from the S due to the motor and the over all feel. If you havent driven both, do so, and then make your decision. You will know pretty quickly which one you prefer!

Best of luck!
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Old 04-01-2007, 05:13 AM   #3
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I'm in the very same decision-making process right now. I've driven a 986 base and "S" but have not tested a 987. I definitely prefer the quickness that the "S" has over the base model. The 987's handling is going to have to be a very noticeable improvement to convince me to give up the HP. The 986 handling, to me, is already very good so I'm looking forward to trying the 987. I like the 987's interior and exterior but that's secondary consideration to performance. Would love to get some impressions from others who have driven both.
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Old 04-01-2007, 05:24 AM   #4
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The base 987 has 240 HP...so aren't they about the same...within 5 HP? And what about warranty? The 987 would still have warranty remaining.
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Old 04-01-2007, 06:48 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmussatti
The base 987 has 240 HP...so aren't they about the same...within 5 HP? And what about warranty? The 987 would still have warranty remaining.
The 986 S is actually 258hp v. 987 base is 240. So that's about 18 hp which isn't a huge difference or anything. The bigger thing to consider is the torque from the larger engine on the S. The 986 S is 229 ft-lbs v. the 987 base is 199 ft-lbs. Here the difference is 30 ft-lbs which is definitely noticeable.

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Old 04-01-2007, 07:13 AM   #6
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I compared an 03 or 04 986S to an 05 987 (which I eventually purchased). I have to admit, the 987 seemed superior in almost all ways. It seemed to have more Umph!, more torque pull, nice interior/exterior, smoother shifting (and even way better after the addition of the Schnell Short Shift Kit) and better cockpit feel and of course the warranty. I'm not really sure you'd feel the HP/Torque difference in the 986S that you're expecting. I think it's psychological - sort of like the 'assumed' boost one feels after adding an aftermarked cold air intake.

You do make a valid point that 05 being the first yr of new model - glitches etc...
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Old 04-01-2007, 09:27 AM   #7
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well from a resale point of view you will do be better with the 03-04 since it will be depreciating at a slower rate and the lower price point will attract more buyers.

and there's also aesthetics. I personally think a 986 with nice upgrades(interior especially) is closer to the original concept car, which has to be on the top 10 list of most beautiful roadster concepts.
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Old 04-01-2007, 10:19 AM   #8
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If you follow this link everyone who has a 986 recommends going with the 'S' ande everyone who has a 987 recommends the base 987. Hmm, a bit of bias.

So going along with that theme here is why the 987 is better

- Way better interior
- Better looking exterior (IMO)
- Warranty - this is huge
- Resale value - u might get initial depreciation but long term the 987 will have better resale.
- Read some reviews of the 987 in car mags, almost every one of them say how much better it is than the 986.
- Because I have one

Good Luck
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Old 04-01-2007, 10:26 AM   #9
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I would think when buying used you would want the newest lowest mileage (watch out for garage queen though) car you can find....

18 horses and 30 lbs of torque? there are chips that make that up for 600 bucks...not tested but they say it will happen personally I love the 987 and remember thinking wow, this interior doesn't look as bad as I remember it....I didn't know there was a redesign...

so as most have commented

-newer
-close in power
-warranty
-and because I have one
- better interior/exterior

imo just better
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Old 04-01-2007, 11:08 AM   #10
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The interior of the 987 is beautiful compared to a 986. The exterior though...I dont know. The 987 has been "pancaked" a bit. Its lost some of the beautiful curves the 986 has.

Try not to compare the performance numbers of these cars. Instead compare how they feel to you. Many say the base 987 has a pretty sweet feel to it.

The 986 has already depreciated and has flattened out. Once the cars are in the very low $20,000 range they stay there. The 987 will come down $15,000 in a few years...lost money.

If only they built the 987 interior into the 986 body...OMG! HEAVEN!
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Old 04-01-2007, 02:16 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by super66
18 horses and 30 lbs of torque? there are chips that make that up for 600 bucks...not tested but they say it will happen
LOL, wouldn't hold your breath on that one.
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Old 04-01-2007, 04:59 PM   #12
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well i actually prefer the 986 interior over the 987. i like the basic look to it. i'm not interested in the over done look. i want it to look as close to a race car as possible. not looking for a mercedes interior. all the technology i'm not interested in. just need a radio, cup holders and, a/c.
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Old 04-01-2007, 05:18 PM   #13
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My little story.

1. Started my Boxster acquisition mission looking for an 03 S.
2. Drove some but none of them had the right options so I kept looking.
3. On advice of a BMW mechanic, I drove a used 05 Base, decided to find a used 05 with the right options - I prefered the new interior and liked the idea of a longer warrantee.
4. Dealer called they had an 06 S with all the right options - drove it
5. Found myself inexplicably writting a large check.

Drove home in the 06 S permagin all the way.

Frankly they are all nice cars. Look for either a Base 05 or an 03 S with the options and color you want, buy it and drive it!
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Old 04-02-2007, 07:43 AM   #14
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base 987, hands down.
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Old 04-02-2007, 07:49 AM   #15
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Well, since I have a base 987 I would say that but there are things to consider. Some people like the exterior of the 986 and some the 987. Find out which one you like better. Keep in mind that you will probably spend some money on the 986 to clear the headlights and this and that. You know, the normal stuff people do to their 986 when they get them. The 987 seems to have the better interior. Find out if this is important to you.

The most important thing is to drive them both. You can quote figures all you want but numbers on a piece of paper dont mean anything to you when you are out enjoying the car. I was very surprised that the base 987 has some go to it.

Also take into account mileage and the dreaded RMS failure issues that these cars have.

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Old 04-02-2007, 08:44 AM   #16
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Kan-O-Z,

It is definitely funny reading these posts - everyone is right. We're going to recommend the generation that we purchased. LOL! So, my suggestion is the '03 S.

No one can really question that the 987 is superior aesthetically and dynamically, but I guess it just depends on why you're buying the car. 986's are by no means HOMELY, and the S versions deliver A LOT. If you can swing a 2005 987 S, then please do so, but if your price range puts you closer to the base model, then I don't think I would do it. Here are the 986 advantages that I see:

* Slightly more HP
* 30 lb/ft more torque
* Six gears instead of 5 (although you can get a 6 speed base 987 but they're rare.) Those first 2 gears are super short on the 986 S
* Carrera's brakes
* 3.2 liters vs. 2.7

I back2backed a 2002 S & a 2006 base in the same day. I test drove a 2002 S for 30 minutes & took it over to a Porsche dealership for a PPI. While I was waiting, they tried to put me into one of their cars instead, a 2006 base. Sorry, but aside from looks & better balance (once again, 986's aren't exactly Buick's in the handling arena) it was definitely lack luster. Those bullet points make for a better day to day driver, a more fun driver, and I would assume a better track car. I haven't tracked it yet - first event for me will be in May 07.

You should be able to grab a very good warranty on a 2003, especially if you get it from a Porsche dealership. If it's not CPO, then they'll probably try to offer you a warranty by a company called Easy Care (very good warranty & very familiar with RMS). IMHO I could not buy a Porsche that didn't feel quick & ballsy. The marque is special & their heritage is impressive but I need the whole package. I went with "seat-o-the-pants" feel over looks, build quality, and newness. But please, test drive them back 2 back if you can. It's your money! You may find that you don't really care about the performance difference, and the improved looks, balance & piece of mind (fewer RMS issues) of the 987 may win you over. Definitely nothing wrong with buying a car for these reasons. Either way... you will be getting a great car!
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Old 04-02-2007, 10:51 AM   #17
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Thumbs up Either way

As 986S driver I would say that the S is the better choice but it really depends on your needs. If you rather have a nicer interior hands down the 987 is the choice. Should you desire perfomance then the 986S is the choice. Let's not forget the super brakes that you get with the S package. Both models are meant to be pushed the top speeds are about three times the speed limit in NY therefore top speed and performance plays a lesser role in the selection. The two cars are about driving and handling and there is no questions that Boxsters shine in that arena. The 986S styling is not dated and looks great with the Carrera 18" alloys. Radios probably suck on both cars but who listens to the radio anyway, it's all about the engine noise. Either way you have a nice quandary there but it is after all a win win situation. Best of luck in your decision!
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Old 04-02-2007, 10:55 AM   #18
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Kan-O-Z how tall are you? You will have more leg room in the 987.
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Old 04-02-2007, 11:19 AM   #19
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Good point Bmuss. If you plan to do any events and you are tall the broomstick test will be much easier to pass on the 987.
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Old 04-02-2007, 11:29 AM   #20
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Good point Bmuss. If you plan to do any events and you are tall the broomstick test will be much easier to pass on the 987.
From what I have observed, all 986 DE participants had to have the roll-bar extension. No 987's (including the 6ft tall self) need it. I think both the 987 bars are higher (and stronger) and the 987 seats can be adjusted lower than 986. If you observe the 986 and 987 side by side, you'll notice the 987 top has one extra "rib" and the cabin space is noticeably larger.

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