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Old 05-30-2007, 03:20 PM   #1
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2001 boxster s v. '05 s2000?

ok, so i don't expect unbiased opinions here, but here goes...
i'll be getting a new car next month, and am having a tough (but fun) time deciding. looking for something in the $20-25k range, and have narrowed down my choices to 01-02 boxster s or 04-05 honda s2000. i haven't driven either of the model years that i'm looking at, but within the last 2 weeks have driven an '07 s2000 and '06 boxster s. my thoughts (long--skip to the end for my questions):
both put huge, uh, crap-eating grins on my face.
1. handling/ride: both were amazing, great steering weight, fantastic reflexes. the porsche had a bit better ride--you can feel everything in the honda, although it isn't harsh. the boxster was also quite a bit quieter on the highway (top up). for a daily driver, edge boxster.
2. gearbox: the honda is amazing. just fantastic. the porsche is very good, but a notch below the s2000. also drove an rx-8 immediately after the porsche--out of the 3, the boxster comes in 3rd.
3. engine: ok, not really fair because the '06 has 50 hp on the '01, but man, i was loving it. nice low end, incredible engine sound, very refined if you weren't at WOT. the honda is quick, and when the cams switch over at 6k rpm the car rockets with a surprisingly good engine growl for a 4 cyl. at low rpms it isn't anemic, but it doesn't scream either. clearly, if you're in "go fast" mode, you need to keep the revs up. advantage '06 porsche--unclear winner v. '01.
4. interior: tough call. the honda is minimalist, but i really like it. no clutter, no stupid electronics to break. oh, except for the speedo/tach. i much prefer the analog of the porsche. both cars have great seats, and fit me well (surprising given i'm 6'2", 190#). both had decent storage space, though the honda has a bit more. honda also has cupholders. i know this shouldn't be a huge deal, but i've never had a car with cupholders, and i'm tired of playing russian roulette with coffee between my legs. i've read that the '01 interior is cheaper feeling than the new models, and has poor ergonomics. i haven't seen one though. overall, the '06 was certainly fancier, but i'd say this is a draw. really all i want is a good driving position, comfy supportive seats, and easy access to the radio and hvac. both fit the bill here.
5. exterior: also tough. i really like the s2000, but the porsche is so damn sexy. i can't stand the plastic rear window, and the honda has hid headlights. still, slight edge porsche.

now, the s2000 is pretty much unchanged from '04. aside from the hp increase in the boxster (and glass rear window, and cupholders), i'm not sure of the differences between the '01 and '06. here are my concerns with the porsche:

radio: i like my tunes and my mp3. the honda has a simple din radio that i can easily swap out, while the boxster has one of these fancy all in one units--anyone know of an easy way to get an mp3 input?
cupholders: yeah, i know it's stupid.
reliability: this terrifies me. i've read about the rms issue, and it scares me, as does the thought of a 6-7 year old porsche. as do $2000 tires. the nice thing about the honda is it's a honda. they don't break, and parts are cheap. i've always worked on my own cars--does anybody work on their own car here? it seems like it would be a major PITA to repair anything in this car.
mileage: i like the thought of a sports car that gets 34mpg on the hwy (per consumer reports). what do you get in your s?

lastly, i think i'll have a hard time finding what i want in the boxster. they're scarce in my neck of the woods (new orleans, soon to be birmingham, al) for what i'm looking for (silver/black interior) in this price range. truly, if i'm rational about this, the honda is probably the better deal. i can get similar performance in a 3-4 year newer car for $3-4k less. it's cheaper to maintain/fix. but the honda isn't a porsche.

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Old 05-30-2007, 03:26 PM   #2
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Not sure how much stop and go traffic you will be driving in, but lack of low end torque (in this case, below 3,000 rpm) I find annoying in any car. My WRX (yes apples to oranges here) was horrible in stop and go. I tired of it quickly. In this regard, you will find the boxster nicer.

If you really worried about reliability, get an S2000. I can't stand reading about people who complain about cars that break down. Yes, the Boxster can break down, and may break down more often than an S2000. I guess this is why people read consumer reports

However, a Boxster is pretty easy to work on and many out here have purchased aftermarket warranties and have been thankful they have done so.

You only live once. Why have a regret. Your last line says it all.. A Honda isn't a Porsche.
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Old 05-30-2007, 03:41 PM   #3
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I will say this. I live in a waterfront commumity that attracts a lot of people, who are out for a cruise on nice days. My next door neighbor has a silver S2000. We have a silver Boxster. When the cars are in our respective driveways, they are literally parked fifteen feet apart. No one ever sprains a neck trying to get a look at the Honda, but I'm lucky they don't run over my mailbox trying to get a look at the Boxster. Side by side, there is no comparison. The Honda looks like a refrigerator box next to the Porsche.

As Racer D alluded, cars break. Even Hondas break. Would I settle for a Honda because I'm afraid my Porsche might break? No. I'd hurry up and fix the Porsche so I can drive it some more.
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Old 05-30-2007, 04:30 PM   #4
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well try this..... I've put 30K miles on my BoxsterS
and have just one repair that cost more than $200.
That's Honda like reliability.... so far. The lower the mileage on your Porsche the better experience you will have.
But a Porsche is a Porsche and you have budget an extra 20% for the specialized labor and more expensive parts...well worth the extra dinero.

As Grizzly pointed out the S2000 styling is looking allot more dated than Boxster and Boxster design is actually 14 years old now.

I nearly pulled the trigger on an S2000 but the seat position was no damn good for me. And once I stomped on the throttle on my BoxsterS in 3rd gear it was game over.
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Old 05-30-2007, 04:40 PM   #5
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What kind of guy are you? Heart or Head?

Heart = Porsche
Head = Honda
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Old 05-30-2007, 07:30 PM   #6
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Porsche or Honda

In my hood I was the first to own a roadster, the S2000 and the used older M roadster followed. When I tell them I only paid $ 47500 otd, they think I bought it used. A college student who writes about cars in a school news papers would rather talk to me about the boxster instead of the two. The Honda is reliable, too bland for my taste, Porsche Boxster lines age gracefully. IMHO. The M has more power but it's not a Porsche. Good luck.
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Old 05-31-2007, 09:46 AM   #7
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The s2000 is only fun if you're really beating the carp out of it.
the boxster is fun even when it's off.

the interior of the 06 (o5+) looks nothing like the interior of the 00-02 on the boxsters.
it is quite easy to add a single din stereo to any boxster pre-05.
but, there is an ipod/aux cable that you can get that will plug right into the stock stereo.

for the price range you're looking at. (20-25k) you should consider getting a lower milage 00 or 01 boxster S. and 02 in that price range will likely have way higher miles and is really not too different from the 00 or the 01. the cupholders up until the 03 were/are abysmal. the 03-04 are slightly less so.

i think you'll have fun with either car. and if you like running around at 5k+ rpm all the time, the s2k isn't too bad. check out dyno charts on the cars though. the s2000 engine is like an on/off switch. below 6k you have about 110-120 lb/ft torque to the wheels. above that and you have maybe 165.

the boxster S (which has less hp/tq in 2000,2001 and 2002) pretty much always has at least 180-ish lb/tq at the wheels from almost anywhere in the powerband.

note these figures are at the wheels. the specs and mags usually quote at the flywheel.
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Old 05-31-2007, 10:09 AM   #8
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The S2000 is lower on torque in comparison but I don't think it really matters.
Its an extreme example of race car engineering in a regular road car.
The max torque is set at max revs, Honda changed that a couple of years ago
and brought the max torque down a few thousand revs...so its not as race car like anymore....but still, the "lack" of torque and two less cylinders doesn't keep it from matching the higer torque 2.7 Boxster lap times at most autocross venues.

I think if they re-styled the S2000 to look more like a Ferrari 360 Spyder in yellow, with its current best gear box in sports car world bar none, I'd have to buy one just for the track.
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Old 05-31-2007, 10:28 AM   #9
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mike, i agree with most of your comparison. i love both cars but love the boxster just a bit more.

i bought 99 boxster in march and my buddy bought 04 s2000 in april. the one thing i wish boxster had was s2000's gear box and shifter. shifter is place with a armrest center console and you only have to flick your wrists to change gears. go and test drive it if you haven't yet. handling on s2000 is very tight and feels more like a sports car than boxster. i felt like i was driving a luxery car after driving my buddy's s2000. last thing is that roof top operates a lot faster in s2000. it seems like it takes 4 to 5 seconds to get the top down but then it doesn't hide the soft top like the boxster.
few negative things as mentioned is the gage. it's cheesy as hell and toy like. the other is the engine noise. having a nice tone is one thing but it's too loud inside the cockpit. my buddy misses every phone call whenever he's driving.

honda vs porsche. i'm the only porsche owner among my friends and starting to be known as the guy with the porsche. guy with the honda doesn't have the same ring to it. haha. i guess that's where all that extra money went.

btw, boxster had 36k miles on it and i drove 6k miles in 3 months including round trip to toronto which was 600 miles each way. absolutely no problems with the car what so ever and loving it.
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Old 05-31-2007, 11:09 AM   #10
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theres that one video of cmparison with carson, and they mentioned a number, in millions or whatever oh vtech engines made and not one broke that was in honda...and well a porsche engine? hahha take a guess...
but i would have a porsche over a honda any day
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Old 05-31-2007, 02:29 PM   #11
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I think that Jeph says it best. You can do all the number crunching and side by side of a million factors but it really boils down to the head vs. the heart. I have owned many cars over the years but have never had the pride of ownership that I do with my Porsche. It is that feeling that is soo much more rewarding than 0-60 one tenth faster than brand X. Other cars can be compared to a Porsche but they will never be one.
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Old 05-31-2007, 03:05 PM   #12
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I can see most here dont like the s2000, but I personally love it... Although i love the boxster too. I've owned a 04' s2000 and to me its better then the boxster in some ways- handles better, pretty good gas milage, has more room, looks good and is more reliable. Many people think its just a "honda" and really get a porsche cuz its a porsche brand but they really know zero about cars. I've driven my brothers ocean jade green boxster, my red s2000 and I drive a 05' black boxster now and i get the same looks in the boxsters as i did in the s2000. If someone cant appraciate an s2000 they really know nothing about cars to begin with. In my opinion, both cars are an excellent choice. Most people on this site will tell u to get the boxster because they are boxster owners- so test drive both cars and do your own research and figure out whats best for you, dont rely on what other people think cuz u'll be the one driving the car.
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Old 05-31-2007, 03:27 PM   #13
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yeah there are allot of stereotypes about both cars...like that the Boxster is a chick car and the S2000 is a boy racer car.
I guess people will always knock roadsters because they are stuck in boring four doors.
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Old 05-31-2007, 05:54 PM   #14
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I'm new here so if I screw up just let me know. I bought my 2000 Boxster yesterday. I considered the Z4 but I never looked at the S2000 because of the high revs needed to get in the power range. I am just coming off of a 92 Miata with a supercharged 302 so I was looking for reliability and quiet :-).

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Old 05-31-2007, 07:11 PM   #15
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I drove an S2000 then I drove a Boxster 2.7. Once you do this then the choice is obvious. All Honda's drive the same, from a Civic up to an NSX. This is good and bad. Good because they are reliable, bad because they really do not stir the soul like other cars do.....
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Old 05-31-2007, 07:48 PM   #16
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I've driven both cars and of the factors that are important to me, the S2000 beat the Boxster on only three - gearbox, reliability and repair cost. Two of those three items are "head" over "heart" issues.

The Porsche beats the S2000 on engine sound, and appearance. I also suspect it will be a little bit safer if you are ever invovled in an accident.

To me, it boiled down to a desire to experience a Porsche once in my life. Used Boxsters with low mileage are available for reasonable prices.

If you really want the Boxster consider: It may cost a little more, but you've been a good boy and you deserve it.
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Old 06-01-2007, 10:03 AM   #17
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thanks for the thoughtful replies. head v. heart argument has some merit, except that the s2000 is an absolute blast to drive--it was comparable to the '06 s in terms of fun, so i don't know what i'll think compared to an '01. comparing it to a civic just means you haven't driven it. i REALLY like both cars, and am excited that i have have a chance to have a "problem" like this. since this is to be my daily driver, i am concerned about highway wind/engine noise. city driving doesn't concern me--low torque is relative, and there's still plenty to get from a to b. both the s2k and boxster have very good crash test ratings, though i wouldn't want to meet a suburban at highway speeds in either one. so now, of course, there's the issue of finding what i want. an '01 s in silver/black, for a reasonable price, in reasonable driving distance from me, is not easy to find (anyone in the birmingham or new orleans area want to take me for a spin?).
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Old 06-01-2007, 10:08 AM   #18
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If you're really considering one for a daily driver, I'd probably go with the Porsche. From the comments here, the S2000, although fun, is noisier.

With my top up, I really feel like I'm in a hard top car. The headliner gives it a plush feeling, and helps reduce noise.

Only occasionally do I ever notice more noise outside the vehicle than I would in a hard top car.

I'd suggest finding a good 01-02 in your price range, with low miles in good shape. Get it checked out (PPI) and look into getting an extended warranty on it.
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Old 06-01-2007, 11:45 AM   #19
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also, 2 other questions:

what's a good source for finding used boxsters?

and how many folks here work on their cars themselves? how hard is it to do your own repairs to the boxster?
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Old 06-01-2007, 02:05 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nola mike
also, 2 other questions:

what's a good source for finding used boxsters?

and how many folks here work on their cars themselves? how hard is it to do your own repairs to the boxster?

I looked on Autotrader. Found tons in my price range. You get lots of information there... age, mileage, pictures, the VIN if you want to do a Carfax (Don't TRUST carfax for everything, but you can at least tell how many owners there were, where it lived, and a few useful things).

Boxsters are not that hard to to work on. Routine maintenance is very easy. Things like replacing O2 sensors, the main belt and spark plugs are also relatively easy. It's just a little quirky getting at the stuff, that's all!

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