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Old 05-17-2008, 07:31 PM   #1
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Question 986S vs 987S steering feel

I'm thinking of upgrading my 2000 Boxster S to a 2007 Boxster S but I am afraid that the superb steering feel of my 986S will be a little watered down in the newer 987S.

Did anyone notice a different between the 2 models?


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Old 05-17-2008, 10:01 PM   #2
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I can only go by vague recollection, but I drove a 2001 S and it steered and accelerated fine and with the 987S it was not worse ........ at all. I did end up with a 987S if that says anything.

Just go down to your local dealer tomorrow and give it a try. In the end, only what you think should matter anyways.

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Old 05-17-2008, 10:28 PM   #3
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This is completely subjective, but to me, the 987 feels more refined, if a bit more 'assisted', and the 986 more pure, with some inconsistencies that make it 'pure'. There is an analogy that is probably not proper here...
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Old 05-18-2008, 06:24 AM   #4
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You give us a tough one to describe.
I found everything about the 987 to be superior.
I drove several 986s and I felt the steering ratio to be too low, as in too much steering input to turn the car. The 987 is a bit better, just enough that I don't feel as if I'm making two revolutions on the wheel.
In remembering differences, there was a bit more feel through the chassis on the 986, but it is somehow still not lacking in the 987, just smoother. Probably the more refined suspension.
I've raced formula fords for 30 years and had a few runs in formula atlantics. Throw in several different door cars, over the years, and, I'd say, I have driven quite a few cars at the limit. My first Porscche was a '64 356 C Cab, followed by '66, '68, and '71 911s, a '70 914-6 (great handling car!) and a gaggle of 914-4s.
Even though it put me in an uncomfortable budget range, one drive in a 987 and I quit looking at 986s.
If there's another street car in the price range of the 987 Boxster that's a better all around value and as much fun, I haven't found it.
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Old 05-18-2008, 09:12 AM   #5
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Now that I had a chance to ponder some more, I recall the 987S steering to feel "tighter" (ie. less sloppy, if you know what I mean ....... just a bit tighter and more damped). And this applied to the suspension and chassis also ....... faster and tighter absorption and less chassis flex - tighter dampening.

The only street car that was actually more fun for me was the Elise. It had better sound, more power, very, very stiff chassis, superb steering feel (non-assisted) and less refinement. The drawbacks for me were that it was not a 12s auto droptop. The difficult ingress/egress was no problem for me and the seats, seating position, pedal placement, and shifter positions were perfect for me.

The 986S sounded more rougher ...... similar to the 295hp 987S on heavy acceleration. The 280 hp 987S sounds quieter and more refined to me in comparison - on the verge of being too civilized and quiet.

The 987S just felt overall like a upgraded version of the 986S. The Elise for me just was a little bit too "raw" for me, but perfect for very high speeds. The new Exige S240 does 0-60 in 4 sec now. The Elise already was crazy fast at top end of the powerband. I really can't imagine wanting to go any faster ........ ever. It was the most fun ever driving that car. The sound, steering, and high power were just simply amazing. The Elise SC will only be better. Handling in these cars is simply superb. Power and handling nowadays is simply great. Another 80 horse actually I wouldn't mind in my 987S as mid range power would be instantaneous fun like in the 997S, but still ok within the chassis. The newer chassis is pretty stiff, it has some flex, but kind of carves like a racing snowboard. The Cayman S with 19s and PASM was crazy stiff - much too stiff for normal roadways.

I stuck with the 987S because it was more refined and just better overall for my purposes.

Anyways, hope this helps, cheers
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Old 05-18-2008, 09:47 AM   #6
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Thanks for you helpy guys! I really appreciate the input.

I am a steering feel freak; it's my #1 source of pleasure while driving sports cars.
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Old 05-18-2008, 09:52 AM   #7
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Thanks for you helpy guys! I really appreciate the input.

I am a steering feel freak; it's my #1 source of pleasure while driving sports cars.

I love feeling vibrations through the steering wheel as road surface changes. I also enjoy a heavy steering feel and when the steering wheel kind of turns by itself depending on road surface changes.

Cars that I thought the steering was just perfect are:

-Lotus Elise: perfection.

-1989 Porsche 911: very close to a Lotus Elise, but a little slower to turn-in due to chassis.

-My 2000 Boxster S. More assisted steering than the Elise and 1989 911, but still fantastic for a power-assisted rack.


I'm trying to decide between a 2007 Boxster S, 2006 Lotus Elise or 1997 NSX.

What I love about my Porsche Boxster S is that even when driving at 10 MPH in the city I still get a kick of how the chassis and steering communicate through my hands that grip the steering wheel.
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Old 05-18-2008, 11:32 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacques79
Thanks for you helpy guys! I really appreciate the input.

I am a steering feel freak; it's my #1 source of pleasure while driving sports cars.

I love feeling vibrations through the steering wheel as road surface changes. I also enjoy a heavy steering feel and when the steering wheel kind of turns by itself depending on road surface changes.

Cars that I thought the steering was just perfect are:

-Lotus Elise: perfection.

-1989 Porsche 911: very close to a Lotus Elise, but a little slower to turn-in due to chassis.

-My 2000 Boxster S. More assisted steering than the Elise and 1989 911, but still fantastic for a power-assisted rack.


I'm trying to decide between a 2007 Boxster S, 2006 Lotus Elise or 1997 NSX.

What I love about my Porsche Boxster S is that even when driving at 10 MPH in the city I still get a kick of how the chassis and steering communicate through my hands that grip the steering wheel.
Then you should try an earlier 911. By 89 they were getting fairly fat. A 78 SC has fantastic feedback. Modern cars (aside from the Lotus) can't get close to a good manual rack.
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Old 05-20-2008, 12:07 PM   #9
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The 987S ride is better in both higher limits and in compliance... meaning that although the car outperforms every other car Car & Driver has tested in the slalom (at least as of a couple years ago), it is actually more comfortable on choppy roads than the 986S.

One could argue that this insulates the driver from the road a bit, so yeah, I would say that there is a little less steering feel in the 987S. But, the car is basically doing more of the work for you... feels a little like a 20xx 911 to me in that regard. But, it means that the limits are really high and the car is incredibly capable. There is a very rough road that winds through a canyon nearby. It is amazing to me how the car is able to negotiate all the bumps and potholes while pulling rather hard through a turn. Not a whole lot of driver input required.

Perhaps that makes it a little more boring and a little less exciting, but it depends on the driver whether that is a good or bad thing. I rather like that I have to do something bordering on downright stupid to get the car to lose its line.

All my two cents...
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Old 05-20-2008, 01:07 PM   #10
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well to me all the modern Porsches have a disconnected feeling when it comes to the steering. But I have a 2000S and I've driven the non-3.4 987 and 987's and the difference is minimal.

I think if you are going to swap to a newer Boxster get the 3.4 987 or stick with the 986S. The 09 Boxster S will allegedly have 310 HP. That's more than all the C2 Carreras up until 2004.
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Old 05-20-2008, 01:18 PM   #11
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Great point Hops. My 987S is just frigging unbelievable on rough roads. Every other sportscar I've had would make you suck up about half your seat bottom if you hit some rough spots in a turn. The 987 dips and climbs and rocks and rolls, but it continues to track on the perfect line you set it on. Miraculous.
By the way, I looked hard at NSXs and what I could buy for the price of my 06 S........? A 95? No warranty, an extreme shortage of mechanics who know the car and how long a wait for your local dealer to figure out a problem, get parts and fix it? Let alone those years still eat front tires.
No thanks. Neat car, but no thanks.
I paid 44k for my 06 S with 11K miles, Certified with 100K warranty out to 5/2012, including the BrumosU school with Hurley Haywood instructing. What's it worth to have the winningest ever Porsche racer drive you through the courses in your Boxster S? How nerve-racking is it to then have to DRIVE HIM through the next run?????
The 20k service was done as part of the cert. process, so I don't even have a maintenance until 30k miles. No NSX deal could touch that, and I've since played with a couple in that price range and they won't touch my Box.
The Lotus is really neat, just don't get hit by that SUV that couldn't see you down there in go-kart land. If all you're going to do is track it, well then there are even better cars yet. Buy a formula car or sports racer.
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Old 05-20-2008, 01:27 PM   #12
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I have to disagree slightly Perfect Lap.
I drove a ton of 2000 to 2004 986s, almost all S's. Then I drove the 2006 987S and I have to say in any single category there was not a breathtaking difference. Thing is it was superior in every category I can think of and when you add them all together, there is quite an over-all difference in the cars. Enough difference that I had decided I would rather have an 05 or newer standard Boxster over a pre-05 S.
Luckily I found my 06 S at the right time and place to get a very good deal from Brumos, who seldom understands the term good deal.
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Old 05-20-2008, 02:48 PM   #13
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I test drove a 2004 986S before I bought my 2005 987S. One of the reasons I didn't buy a 986 was because the steering feel was so slow and numb. The 987 felt "right", which was factored into my decision.
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Old 05-20-2008, 03:12 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quickurt
I have to disagree slightly Perfect Lap.
I drove a ton of 2000 to 2004 986s, almost all S's. Then I drove the 2006 987S and I have to say in any single category there was not a breathtaking difference. Thing is it was superior in every category I can think of and when you add them all together, there is quite an over-all difference in the cars. Enough difference that I had decided I would rather have an 05 or newer standard Boxster over a pre-05 S.
Luckily I found my 06 S at the right time and place to get a very good deal from Brumos, who seldom understands the term good deal.
I guess its a subjective matter because on lap times its very close. It's not like we are talking V6 M3 to V8 M3. The one car I did drive that seemed to be a completely different car was the Cayman S. That was the first test drive after many laps (including autocross) in all the non-GT 996 Carreras, Boxsters (986 & 987) that made me consider dumping my current wheels for something new.
Obviously adding the rigidity of a fixed roof completely changes the ball game.
Short of the fixex roof you need to show me more than 50 HP for the car to change in dramatic way. A big reason I spent no money on power mods, just seat of the pants faster isn't fast enough for me.

p.s.
I was referring to the steering when I said I thought the dif was minimal between 986S and 987S. I find all to be numb in the Porsche context. Take a ride in an old Carrera or 914 and you'll see what I'm talking about. The newer cars get heavier, more insulated/isolated and the big wheels and tires kill the whole old school pure-type experience.
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Old 05-20-2008, 03:17 PM   #15
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Steering Feel - other factors

Tire size and type also make a huge difference. When I bought my 02 it had 18" with well worn Pirellis and I thought it felt like a truck (a very pretty truck). I switched to 16" with Michelins and it was MUCH better, but I was getting some tire squeal and slip in low speed cornering. Finally went to 17" Bridgestones and this, for me, is the best compromise. Feeling is not quite as enjoyable as with the 16", but tons and tons of grip in corners.
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Old 05-20-2008, 03:38 PM   #16
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^ yeah I've had the same experience in every car whose wheels I upgraded to bigger. The one swap that wasn't as diluted was going to larger but lighter wheels. I think its got more to do with the weight than the wheel size. Tire weight is even more of an impact. I had R-comp Toyo RA-1s and my 20 pound wheels felt like 28 pound OEMs. But man are those some durable puppies for a barely legal tire and they work in the rain.
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Old 05-20-2008, 09:28 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eslai
I test drove a 2004 986S before I bought my 2005 987S. One of the reasons I didn't buy a 986 was because the steering feel was so slow and numb. The 987 felt "right", which was factored into my decision.
That's funny because I test drove a Lotus Elise today and I didn't think it had that much better steering feel than my stock 2000 Boxster S.

And the Lotus Elise is considered THE best car in the world in terms of steering feel.

Aside from a Lotus Elise I haven't driven a current production car that have better steering feedback.

So you're saying the 987S communicates more road surface changes through vibrations in the steering wheel than the 986S?

I'm veryyyy curious to test drive one tomorrow if that's the case.
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Old 05-20-2008, 11:24 PM   #18
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So you're saying the 987S communicates more road surface changes through vibrations in the steering wheel than the 986S?
Well, really what I cared most about was the responsiveness of the rack. Sure, they're all fairly dead these days as far as road feel goes--but you get enough feel either way.

The 987 felt more "telegraphic" if you know what I mean. It felt toed-out, almost. The 986 felt like it took many more degrees of input before the car woke up.

Hope that's descriptive enough.
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Old 05-21-2008, 05:46 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacques79
So you're saying the 987S communicates more road surface changes through vibrations in the steering wheel than the 986S?
I don't think that is true. If anything, I think the 987S communicates less to you. But, as I mentioned in my last post, it is as if the 987S suspension takes care of more for you and doesn't bother to tell you about things you don't need to know. It's kind of like an agent acting on your behalf.

However, as the previous posted noted, the 987S is more responsive to driver input. So, the car is telling you less about the little details of the road, but it is very perceptive to the instructions you are telling it.

A car with higher limits and lower feedback ordinarily is a dangerous combination, especially in a mid-engine design, but the 987S gives you clear messages when things are getting close to the edge, and I have found that it isn't too hard to control near the limit. I've only had PSM kick in once, and it was by choice. I intentionally pushed it past the limit on an on-ramp with lots of room for error.
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Old 05-21-2008, 08:58 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hops
I don't think that is true. If anything, I think the 987S communicates less to you. But, as I mentioned in my last post, it is as if the 987S suspension takes care of more for you and doesn't bother to tell you about things you don't need to know. It's kind of like an agent acting on your behalf.

However, as the previous posted noted, the 987S is more responsive to driver input. So, the car is telling you less about the little details of the road, but it is very perceptive to the instructions you are telling it.

A car with higher limits and lower feedback ordinarily is a dangerous combination, especially in a mid-engine design, but the 987S gives you clear messages when things are getting close to the edge, and I have found that it isn't too hard to control near the limit. I've only had PSM kick in once, and it was by choice. I intentionally pushed it past the limit on an on-ramp with lots of room for error.

So basically:

986S= Better steering feel, steering wheel follows the road more and doesn't go back to center automatically: more like an E30 M3

987S= Better steering response, quicker turn in, but steering feels more numb and isolated from the road: more like a Honda S2000
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