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Old 01-28-2008, 09:22 PM   #1
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To 'S' or not to 'S'

To the 986 enthusiasts on this board:

I'm about to take the plunge into my first p-car. I've had a blast (read "perma-grin") test driving a few great boxster examples so far. BUT, I haven't spent enough miles in any one of them to uncover those little nuances you get by driving hours behind the wheel. Plus, the dorky sales guys yapping beside me hasn't helped either - but that's another story.

So....my question to those who have logged a few hours:

If you had the funds for either a 2000-S OR a newer 2002 2.7L, which do you choose?

The valuation on these two are about the same and although I'm hearing "buy the newest Porsche you can afford" - the extra performance of the 'S' is pretty attractive.

Thanks in advance for sharing your experience to a newb....

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Old 01-28-2008, 09:37 PM   #2
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Same boat here.

I have poured all through the forums and taken in a lot of knowledge. Right now I have either a private sale 01' -S with 77,000k Mi. private sale with all history.

or numerous 01'-03' dealer cars with 40K miles all within my budget.

So I know exactly what is going through your mind.

Good luck shopping!
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Old 01-28-2008, 10:02 PM   #3
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My vote is the S simply for the extra performance.

What are the power numbers on the S and 2.7?
Is what ever the power difference is. Is that number worth getting an older car?

I have a 2.5 so I dont know allot about the 2.7 but I think there are more upgrades for the S.

Wait a few hours and I am sure there will be many people that make better arguments than I for each car.
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Growing up the car magazines said how amazing Porsches are. Was I brainwashed? Somehow...I doubt it.


Last edited by Gary in BR; 01-28-2008 at 10:06 PM.
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Old 01-28-2008, 10:17 PM   #4
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I'd vote for the S. It's not just the extra horsepower. You also get a very slick 6 speed transmission, third radiator, improved suspension, and brakes that are simply amazing. Of course I'm biased, I have a 2000 Boxster S.
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Old 01-28-2008, 10:25 PM   #5
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I debated this same issue over and over in my mind too - and almost just as you have presented it. I was immediately taken in by the additional hp of the S cars I drove so I was leaning toward an S. I ran across a good deal on a 2000S - and with matching hardtop - so I snatched it up. I've been very pleased but I've read others comment that the gearing is a bit long for 250hp and that's made me wonder if the shorter gearing of the 5 speed although with less hp would have been a better combination. I would really like to drive a 2.7L again to compare. However, all these thoughts may change once I've had a chance to autocross the car - or it may confirm it. I suspect in mundane everyday driving it wouldn't have mattered much to me whether it was a 2.7 or a 3.2 but for those rare spirited drives, or on the track, or in an autocross it seemed like the 3.2 would be worth it. I'm also wondering now whether I should have tried to find a car that had the sport suspension upgrade. Either way, I know you're going to have a lot of fun with either car.
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Old 01-28-2008, 10:57 PM   #6
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the gearing may be a touch long, but hey, 97mph in 3rd is quite fun
that guy "boxsterz" thinks you're a poser. i disagree.
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Old 01-28-2008, 11:03 PM   #7
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Go the S you won't regret it!
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Old 01-29-2008, 05:15 AM   #8
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It depends. If the car is going to be a daily driver, I would go with lower miles even if that means not having an S. But if it is going to be a weekend car I would spring for the S, because the high miles won't be as big a problem. It is up to you, both cars are great but if the HP is more important than almost 30k miles less on the car, go for it!
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Old 01-29-2008, 05:29 AM   #9
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Tough decision, there is a great article about this very question on the commentary page of the February Excellence. The article opens with the sentence, "the most thrilling Porsche is not always the sweetest Porsche". I have always wanted the S, bigger brakes and a sixth gear would be nice. However, driven with spirit, my 2.5 will get you a ticket on every outing. Unless you are going to track the car the issue will be how fast do you want to be driving illegally. As someone else noted, when buying used, condition, warranty, options and mileage are more important factors.

Last edited by EE3racing; 01-29-2008 at 05:33 AM.
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Old 01-29-2008, 06:22 AM   #10
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Although this is a review of the 987/987S, it may give you some more insight:


"Over the road, itís clear the bog-standard Boxster paired with the regular five-speed and seventeen-inch wheels is the enthusiastís best buy. Not only does the optional six-speed Tiptronic S transmission cost $3210, it also occasionally second-guesses its driver. Itís not that the uplevel S is unreasonably pricedóitís just that standard modelís intrinsic goodness is so total that itís obviously the best value. In most situations, the Sís horsepower simply isnít missed, and the base model feels a bit lighter on its feet to boot. Just make sure to go for the DIY cogswapper."

Good luck with whatever you decide.
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Old 01-29-2008, 06:35 AM   #11
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Either an "S" or "non-S", whichever one you choose I'm quite certain you'll have a "perma-grin" in either case!

Good luck with your choice!
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Old 01-29-2008, 07:02 AM   #12
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Great info guys.

Seeing cars like Gary in BR and Randalls make me feel comfortable that a well maintained 986 will make it past 150k

This purchase is for a 3rd car in the family (along with a Ducati Monster) that I expect that will see approx 7k miles a year. I also plan on keeping it till it disolves (LOL) so resale value is not big to me.

I will start a new thread so as not to hijack this one. I am curious about your thoughts on this particular 01'-S
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Old 01-29-2008, 07:11 AM   #13
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ignore the "unles you are going to drive on the track" talk.
The extra oomph of the 3.2 comes in very handy in daily driving like when passing cars, merging on highway ramps and I'm a big proponent of having the best brakes available (that don't cost $10K to replace).

I could have bought a brand new 986S and a few higher mileage one or two year old S models when I was shopping around, but when I found an extremely low mileage 2000 S that was fresh out of warranty I thought this was a perfect match.
I'm a propenent of getting the lowest mileage S model that has a full service history and ideally one that comes with an extended engine/trans warranty.
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Old 01-29-2008, 07:39 AM   #14
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My first p-car was a non S, within three months I sold the non S and picked up an S. IMO, night and day between the two (power, interior upgrades, bigger brakes, suspension). Plus, car searches for used Boxster's seem to return many more non S's, so, from a resale perspective, the S is the way to go. Either way, you will love your Box, good luck!

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Old 01-29-2008, 07:44 AM   #15
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You gotta get what you want.

From my perspective, I originally went shopping for a 2001 S. I drove several S and base models. All the S models I drove were pretty thrashed or had a bunch of cheesy boyracer mods. Then I found this car: older than I wanted but a pristine, one owner 98 base model. It had flawless service records and was garaged at home and at work. I have not been disappointed. For me car condition was more important than HP. If I found an S in such good condition I would have bought it though.

Side note: I do regularly track my car and have no trouble running right with the S models or 996's for that matter. The fastest 986 times are still being laid by a pair of stock base Boxsters in our area.
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Old 01-29-2008, 08:15 AM   #16
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I test drove both... and wound up with a 2000 non-S. I liked the previous owner and the history (that had everything to do with my purchase) I'm not a horsepower guy, I just wanted a third car for top down weekend drives on the country roads. I'm completely happy with it! I figured if I ever wanted a really fast car I'd look at a Corvette etc... I feel guilty though for only driving it 2000 miles it's first year. I need to correct that this summer!
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Old 01-29-2008, 09:14 AM   #17
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It really depends on your driving habits and what it is you enjoy. The first Boxster I drove was a 2.5l tiptronic and it just didn't do anything for me. The S put me back in the seat a bit and was like wow. With a few mods its like really wow. But I am more of a g-force junkie. I like the feel of acceleration and the S does that while doing everything else right.
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Old 01-29-2008, 12:08 PM   #18
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Life is short...get the S
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Old 01-29-2008, 01:33 PM   #19
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I would opt for getting an S if it is within your budget. Find a clean Boxster S, and you will be amazed at how great the car this car truly is.
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Old 01-29-2008, 05:00 PM   #20
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What I am really amazed with is the quality and thoughtfulness of the responses! Thanks (and do keep 'em coming).

Awesome forum you got here - look forward contributing as an owner rather than from the outside looking in.

Purchase is just a few weeks away when my wife is out of town. Pix will be forthcoming.

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