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Old 04-29-2008, 01:15 PM   #1
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Newb researching and looking for some guidance

Hey all, new guy here. Been browsing through the forums for a few weeks now as I'm in the market for a Boxster. Trying to learn as much as I can so that once I get into this I'll be somewhat prepared. Just spent the last 3 months doing the same thing to get my wife into an 05' BMW 325xiT that she's in love with, so now it's my turn to upgrade. Anyway, I've been reading about common issues and performance specs and all that, but I was wondering if you guys could help point me down the correct path? I can't decide which route is better to take at the moment, and I haven't had a chance to test drive what I'm looking for. So here's my thoughts and where my confusion starts....

I'm looking to move up from an '03 C230k to a used Boxster. Looking at the 2000-2002 range for several reasons...price, engine choices, reliability and small upgrades makes this seem like the best bang for the buck. Whichever car I end up with has to be an automatic. Yes, I am aware that it will remove a portion of the man/machine connection, but it's a trade-off I'm willing to deal with...Just too much traffic for me to deal with shifting 5 days a week. Plus I have the manumatic tranny now have grown quite fond of it. This car will be my daily driver 12 months per year, so a second set of rims and snows tires will be acquired for the winter. Ofcourse I'd like it to be optioned out nicely as well. OK, all pretty basic stuff there. So that leaves only 2 choices then...Boxster or Boxster S? My immediate thought goes to the S. The larger engine with more hp would ofcourse be the correct choice, right? But I can get into a standard version for considerably cheaper, which makes me feel less guilty about the upgrade. I also wonder if the extra power in the S would ever be used by me. I do like to drive fast, but I'm not a drag racer. Most of the acceleration I'm concerned with would be the 30-50mph or 50-70mph numbers. I drive a lot of highway to/from work, so it's very common to accelerate hard to pass the sleepy left lane drivers that torture me on a daily basis, as well as get up to speed quickly on the ramps. Would the S with it's larger displacement and more torque be the logical choice for me? Or would I be better off picking up a nice standard version, then add a few engine mods as I go a long? Can you turn a 2.7l into an S competitor for a reasonable price? If so, do you lose drivability and reliability? Or am I being a lunatic in thinking that 217hp in a lightweight sportscar isn't enough power for daily driving? In all fairness the C230k has 190hp and the BMW has 187hp, both weigh more than the Boxster, and both are completely fine for my needs. But who doesn't want the S on their Boxster?

Well, if anyone actually read all of that and has an opinion, I'd love to hear it.
Thanks

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Old 04-29-2008, 01:23 PM   #2
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I sort off skimmed that, so sorry if I don;t answer your entire question.

I have a base and it is my daily driver. I do not miss the extra HP you get with the S, although it would be nice; the car still has more power than most cars. As a DD my 201 HP does just fine, and all I can say is that it one of the best and most versatile DD around!
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Old 04-29-2008, 02:28 PM   #3
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From reading what you wrote I think you're primary question is base model VS the S model. I have a 98 box with the 2.5l 201 HP engine. Would I rather have the S ? Sure, but believe me the base model has plenty of power and acceleration to satisfy the conditions that you stated. From 30mph~ 60mph in 3rd gear the base will flat out haul ass, IMHO. Good luck with your decision.
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Old 04-29-2008, 03:13 PM   #4
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"Can you turn a 2.7l into an S competitor for a reasonable price? If so, do you lose drivability and reliability?"

You can pick up 25-30 hp in a 2.7L boxster making it similar in hp to an "S", but in my experience, it is cheaper to buy the car with the 3.2L engine in the first place. My modded 2.7L is wonderfully drivable and with over 70K miles on the car, 30K with mods, it has been very reliable.

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Old 04-29-2008, 03:52 PM   #5
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I have a 2.5 with 201 horsepower that I'm quite happy with. It runs well. It's not a rocket sled, but it is very fun to drive. I don't miss the horsepower 'cause I've never had it.

Having said that, would I rather have an S? Of course...who wouldn't?
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Old 04-29-2008, 04:29 PM   #6
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Do the easy thing Topshelf - do a test drive of the different variations and you will get your answer very quickly. Bear in mind there may be a lemon or two here and there, but that's what an introductory test drive can/will tell you.

I drove a 02 996 cab tip and I almost died in disgust - the pick-up was pathetic. Was it a lemon, I don't know, but it was really bad and not something I ever wanted.

So, I tried a 07 987S tip and it was better, but the off the line had too much lag, but once it was going 20 it had lotsa power. I like the off the line, and came to the conclusion that my wife would have to drive stick again if she wanted to drive the Pcar.

My just turned 14yo son set me straight. He said dad, why are you looking at tip?Here's your parameters you wrote down - and at the top of the list was "stick". Thank _od I listened to him. He's a smart little (bigger than me now) sonny.

But hey, I noted it before, everyone's different and hey, if that floats your boat ..... good on you.

Anyways, hope I was some help. Don't let anyone tell you what to do - do what makes - you - happy. Whatever, buy what you love, settle for no less.

Cheers and good luck in whatever you get

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Old 04-29-2008, 05:03 PM   #7
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Thanks guys. Appreciate all the responses. It's interesting to hear all the 2.5 owners say that they have enough power. Between those statements and the fact that I'm happy in a vehicle with 30hp less and considerably more weight right now, there doesn't seem to be any reason that the base wouldn't make me happy. Obviously I'd love to pick up a fully loaded S, but I just don't know if it's in my price range at the moment. Hell, if it wasn't for my budget I'd be picking up a loaded Cayman S. Anywho, I had a test drive lined up for an '02 Base w/tip tonight, but it sold already. I'll try to get a few drives planned for this Saturday. Problem is finding an S tip to test. Closest one is 86 miles away.

Just a thought, since I am considering the base model, is there any reason I shouldn't atleast check out a 2.5 model? I thought I read that there were some engine issues which was one of the reasons I decided to start my search with the 2.7's.

Thanks again
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Old 04-29-2008, 05:11 PM   #8
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All Boxster's have the possibility of engine failure (RMS), but once you get past 30k miles the likely hood of it happened greatly decreases. The earlier ears (97-98) were a little more prone to this than the later years, but it can still happen to any Boxster despite age and mileage.
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Old 04-29-2008, 05:41 PM   #9
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Once again I have a 2.5l 201 HP manual 5 speed. And unless you want to flirt with getting tickets everytime you drive this engine has plenty of power and acceleration for your purposes. In addition it will be quite a bit cheaper. With the money I saved in the purchase price I can put into repairs, even though I have driven completely trouble free so far.
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Old 04-29-2008, 06:47 PM   #10
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The main shtick to the Boxster is the chassis and handling. Both models excel at this equally. More power doesn't improve this.

The 'S' has different springs, sway bars and shocks, but it also weighs more. It has larger brakes, but the difference in stopping distance is minimal - the Base still outperforms 99% of the cars out there - the only real advantage to the 'S' Brakes is if you track the car, fade takes longer to set in. In street driving, you're not on the brakes enough for fade to set in. But, the Brake Pads, Rotors and such also cost more to replace on the 'S'.

The Tip S is fine, I like it. Though you'll find it a little more 'slushy' than most Man-U-Matics.

Truth is, only you can decide if the Base is right or the 'S'. I've driven many Boxsters and can't justify the extra cost of an 'S' for the type of driving I use the car for - all I'd really get are bragging rights which don't interest me at all.

Find the best car (Base or 'S') in the best condition - get a PPI, for the best money and be happy. When buying a used car, that's the most you can hope for. Don't compromise and buy a lessser car because it has more bells and whistles - maintenance issues are big headaches and wallet drainers. Good Luck
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Old 04-29-2008, 07:13 PM   #11
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I love helpful forums!

You guys have me thinking about reality more than desire right now. Being that this will be a DD, I'm actually wondering if the slightly softer Base wouldn't be the better choice based solely on ride quality. The roads I have to travel through PA and NJ aren't always glass smooth, so that couldn't be another reason to avoid the S. I think I'm going to start looking at 98-'02 Base models. Do as much reading as I can so I know what to look for, and get out for a few test drives this weekend. It's funny because I'm really more of a corner guy than a hp guy...years of roadracing makes you appreciate the skill of cornering...but once you start looking at a car you can't help but get sucked into the bigger, badder choice. Dam marketing! I do think you're right though. The main point of these cars is to get around a corner, and more hp will not help me with that. I will not be tracking the car, so I don't need the stiffest suspension setup available. Infact, I'm actually looking for a luxury sport car, so a compliant ride is more important than more hp to me. Man, only took you guys a few hours to straighten me out!
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Old 04-29-2008, 07:34 PM   #12
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2.5L vs. 2.7

Hi Topshelf. One point to note is that in 2000, Porsche bumped up the displacement from 2.5 to 2.7l and from 201 to 217 mainly to compensate for the weight added to the car in meeting new side impact standards in the states. You gain power but not performance!

I was lucky, when I bought my 1999, the previous owner had fried the motor and the dealer installed a 2000 spec 2.7l in its place. A little more power with the lighter car- even at that, I'm not sure the difference is very noticeable though! If you want more low-end "grunt", the 3.2 S makes alot of difference. Problem is they are way more cash!
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Old 04-30-2008, 07:06 AM   #13
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That is interesting info box. I'm definitely going to test both 2.5 and 2.7 cars to see if I prefer one over the other. I've already all but ruled out going with an S at this point, so it's really going to be down to engine preference and options.

One thing I forgot to ask though is about higher mileage. Are these cars capable of going 100k+? I know they need care, but I didn't know if they had only so much life in them, even if they were maintained well. Not that I plan on buying one with that many miles, just like to know the facts.
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Old 04-30-2008, 10:06 AM   #14
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How big a $ difference?

Topshelf,

How much of a premium are you finding for the "S" in the model years you are looking for? I see that you have 'essentially ruled out' the "S" and its not even on your test-drive list, but I'm wondering if the price gap is really that big - for sure if you pay for mods to get more power out of the 2.5 or 2.7, it would seem that could exceed the extra you'd pay for the "S" up front. I'm really asking b/c you make it clear you will be buying with Tiptronic, where the extra torque of the "S" would really make a difference.

I'm not trying to make this more difficult for your or make you second-guess your 'decision' against the "S", I just want to know how much of a factor the price difference is.

P.S. I went through the similar analysis recently of 2003-2004 "S" vs. 2005 base model, and I ended up with the "S", and am very happy with my choice.
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Old 04-30-2008, 10:21 AM   #15
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Topshelf:
Seeing how my S just got delivered two days ago, I can say that I was going through the same analysis as you. I live in So. MD so many of the pre-owned Porsche choices were out of No. VA and MD. I found that I could get a year or two base model for the price of a loaded S - at least in my area. I ended up buying one in CT because the prices and choices were much better than my area. I ADORE the extra hp!

BTW. Thanks to many of the folks here on this forum for giving me advice on buying!

Now, I just gotta figure out which radar detector to procure.....
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Old 04-30-2008, 11:00 AM   #16
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As others have said, drive a few and see what suits your needs - I say go with the newest you can afford.

Sorry to be off topic but speaking of roads, I lived in Port Tobacco MD for 11 years before moving to Florida - some of the best roads in that area anywhere and that is the only thing I miss about living there...roads here suck - mostly straight & flat.
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Old 04-30-2008, 11:27 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Sloan
Topshelf,

How much of a premium are you finding for the "S" in the model years you are looking for? I see that you have 'essentially ruled out' the "S" and its not even on your test-drive list, but I'm wondering if the price gap is really that big - for sure if you pay for mods to get more power out of the 2.5 or 2.7, it would seem that could exceed the extra you'd pay for the "S" up front. I'm really asking b/c you make it clear you will be buying with Tiptronic, where the extra torque of the "S" would really make a difference.

I'm not trying to make this more difficult for your or make you second-guess your 'decision' against the "S", I just want to know how much of a factor the price difference is.

P.S. I went through the similar analysis recently of 2003-2004 "S" vs. 2005 base model, and I ended up with the "S", and am very happy with my choice.
Having the Tip S transmission is a reason NOT to go with the 'S'.

This is because in low gear and in second gear, an auto transmission acts as a torque multiplier.

Low gear, the gear used when getting under way, climbing a steep hill, or sometimes when pulling a very heavy load, has a torque multiple of around 3:1.

Second gear has a torque multiple of about 2:1.

In High gear, used at highway speeds, the transmission uses a direct drive gear, meaning that there is no torque multiplier.

And if you have a car equipped with "overdrive," like 5th gear in the Tip S, the torque ratio is in the neighborhood of 0.8:1.

Every auto transmission establishes its multiples with slight differences, depending on what the designers determine to be the most efficient torque multipliers for a given engine in a specific car.

You'll feel less torque in a Base w/ manual transmission than you will with a Tip S.
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Old 04-30-2008, 12:36 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lil bastard
Having the Tip S transmission is a reason NOT to go with the 'S'.

This is because in low gear and in second gear, an auto transmission acts as a torque multiplier.

Low gear, the gear used when getting under way, climbing a steep hill, or sometimes when pulling a very heavy load, has a torque multiple of around 3:1.

Second gear has a torque multiple of about 2:1.

In High gear, used at highway speeds, the transmission uses a direct drive gear, meaning that there is no torque multiplier.

And if you have a car equipped with "overdrive," like 5th gear in the Tip S, the torque ratio is in the neighborhood of 0.8:1.

Every auto transmission establishes its multiples with slight differences, depending on what the designers determine to be the most efficient torque multipliers for a given engine in a specific car.

You'll feel less torque in a Base w/ manual transmission than you will with a Tip S.
Good info, Thanks Jim... I mean Lil_bastard.
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Old 04-30-2008, 02:01 PM   #19
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The more I read, the more confused I get! LOL

I was going to skip test driving an S altogether figuring that if I never feel the power, I'll never miss/want it. Not sure if that's a foolish idea, but it does make sense on some level. And to be honest, I'm not really a engine modding kinda guy as long as there's sufficient power. I don't need gobs of brutal hp to entertain me, especially since I enjoy corners, and there's really almost nowhere around me that I'd be able to use the power. The thing that's making me laugh though are the reviews I've been reading. Read any 97/98/99 Boxster review and they rave about everything, including the engine. Read any Boxster S review and they talk about the Base like it's using a 100hp 4 cylinder. How in the heck did the base engine go from being so nice to completely underpowered garbage in 12 months? What I think I'm going to do is test at least one 2.5 and one 2.7 tiptronic, then hop in a S just to see what it's all about, even if it's a 6 speed. As long as there's decent midrange power in the smaller engines I think I'll be fine. Right now I'm driving a 3250lb car with 189hp that does 0-60 in 7.8 seconds (According to Edmunds). I can't imagine that either Base model wouldn't feel considerably faster to me. And yes, price is a factor here. As much as I want to push my range a little bit and get the more expensive car, I really want to make sure that I can afford the inevitable repairs that will sneak up on me. So that's one more reason to avoid the S. Ideally I can find myself a nice Base model and enjoy it for a few years until I save a little more and the prices on the Cayman S comes down. :drool
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Old 04-30-2008, 03:04 PM   #20
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I dont understand your confusion at all. If you're being honest with yourself you have already answered your own questions. you state a few extra horses doesnt matter to you and that cost is a big factor. Cornering is more important than top speed. How many times will you have the chance to go 150mph on the highway ? Ahh , NONE. The 2.5l or 2.7l base model will be PLENTY fast for you and it's cornering ability is just as good as the 'S'. Or at least the difference would not be noticable. In addition you can get a newer base model for the same money you would spend on an older 'S'. I think the decision is a 'no brainer'.

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