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Old 10-11-2008, 10:25 PM   #1
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Post Really interested in 2008 M Roadster, but...

My local BMW dealer has great offers on leftover 2008 M Roadsters.

I always loved the power on these small roadsters; great engine that pulls ridiculously hard above 5000RPMs all the way to 8000. Kind of like an S2000 but with 3X more of a ''push in the seats'' sensation.

I went to my BMW dealer yesterday to test drive a nice red M Roadster. The salesman let me go alone on my test-drive, which I decided was going to last 45 minutes

I really love the M Roadster and just wanted to confirm that I prefered it to my 2000 Boxster S. After all, with 80 more HP, how could I not?

The engine's a screamer with great low end throttle response and a sensation that the engine will never run out of power no matter what gear you're in. It starts pulling very, very hard at about 5000RPMs. The throttle response with the sport button on it amazing, and when I let off the gas above 5000RPMs and then pressed it back down again you get pinned in your seat like crazy.

As much as the Boxster S engine is smooth and ''delicious'', the M Roadster has a violent, rev-happy screamer of a beast that feels like it's going to explode the more you approach the redline.

Aside from the power, another thing that I liked on the Bimmer was the turn in response: the steering is quicker on the M Roadster than on 986 cars. I think the 987 Boxsters have quicker steering than 986 though...

But about 15 mins in my test drive I litterally already started to miss driving my Boxster S. The BMW felt more ''wobbly'' with more body roll. I could also feel the front end of the car lift a lot during acceleration and then squat when braking hard.

The shifter was better than a stock 986 but not as good as a Boxster with a Porsche short shift kit. Not as precise and short.

Steering feel was a big one here. The M Roadster's steering was much lighter and gave my hands a lot less feedback as to what the front tires were going through as road conditions changed. It felt ok but not as natural as a Boxster.

Clutch feel was also inferior to my car. It felt too light and the engagement point was not as easy to detect as in the 986. I guess it's good for traffic, but just like the steering, the Porsche just has better ''feel'' if that makes any sense.

When I got back into my Boxster every control felt so HEAVY! The steering, the clutch, the shifter, the brake pedal all felt so much heavier with better feedback. I felt like I came back to a proper sports car again after driving a normal car.

And while the Boxster S doesn't accelerate as hard as the M Roadster, the sounds coming through the cabin are much, much better. Above 4000RPMs the Boxster S has a glorious and rich intake-exhaust note which makes you feel like you're driving a car worth 3X the price. The M Roadster has a great sounding engine, but the exhaust note isn't as unique.

Overall I came away from my test drive appreciating my Boxster S so much more, because I truly love the M Roadster and really wanted to get one, but it doesn't compare in the ''feel'' department...

I guess I'm screwed now, because if I want to change cars and get a better roadster that can be driven every day, what options other than a new Boxster S or a Carrera convertible do I have?

I normally change cars every year, but my current one is making it tough on me to find a replacement under 40 000$....

A 2002 911 cab might be the answer

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Old 10-12-2008, 12:37 AM   #2
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I'm not a big expert on the subject, but I think in terms of feel you probably won't be getting a better car than the Box, unless you get a track day car or something.

Why not get a newer Boxster S? You can get 987 S (maybe a used one with 10k on the clock?) and it would be reasonably cheaper than 40 grand.

If I was in the market, I'd be looking for an SLK or Audi TT. Since you do switch cars so often, why not mix it up a bit and try luxury-sport?
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Old 10-12-2008, 11:17 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacques79
I guess I'm screwed now, because if I want to change cars and get a better roadster that can be driven every day, what options other than a new Boxster S or a Carrera convertible do I have?

I normally change cars every year, but my current one is making it tough on me to find a replacement under 40 000$....

A 2002 911 cab might be the answer
It totally depends on what you're looking for.

Most Lotus cars and older air cooled Porsches are more visceral than modern Porsches. 1st and 2nd gen Miatas with the right suspension can also be alot more intimate and entertaining than a Boxster, even though they're slower, although with a Flyin' Miata turbo, not much slower.

You'd have to try a newer Carrera, I don't like them as much as the Boxsters, they feel heavier and less responsive but everyone has their own opinions.

It's hard to move up when you're already at the top. In the words of Mell Brooks, "It's good to be the King"
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Old 10-12-2008, 04:02 PM   #4
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I test drove a 135i this spring, was considering trading the Box in for more of a daily driver. I know it's not the same as the Roadster, but does have a fairly burly twin turbo and M suspension components. It was nice, but I wasn't the least bit moved. I actually liked the Mazdaspeed 3 better, it felt more ballsy. I keep forgetting that even though I bought my Box preowned at a huge discount, original sticker was 68 large. The Beemer was nice, but it was a 38k car. Yeah, I'm sticking with the Box.
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Old 10-12-2008, 04:51 PM   #5
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Maybe the answer to your problem is right in front of you. Have you driven a 987S? I traded a beautiful Lapis Blue 01S in on my LE. It took 2 days to consumate the deal and I wondered if I was making the right choice and would miss my 01S...

There hasn't been a day when I wished I had it back. My LE is sooo much better - better shifter, 45 more HP (which you can feel), PSE, and more options. I even saw my old Box driving down the street so I chased the guy down and talked to him. I still didn't miss it.

I'll bet Porsche dealers are making some smokin good deals right now with the economy spiraling down the toilet. If you find a Box you like on someone's lot, they'll be mighty happy to see you. Or as LordBlood suggested, you could find a low mileage one from someone who just lost all their 401k this week.
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Old 10-12-2008, 05:37 PM   #6
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When I was looking for a newer car I was looking at Beemers and just about everything else. I am more than happy with my descision of the 987. I don't change cars often so it was important that I was happy with it.

To replace the box would take something more visceral like a 993S, 997S or GT3. Much more expensive even used. And that doesn't mean that I'll get rid of the box, maybe just add more cars!
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Old 10-12-2008, 07:45 PM   #7
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I cannot afford a 987 S yet. 50 000$ is too expensive for me; I don't want a 2005 because I don't feel that paying 20 000$ on top of my car is worth 30HP. At least with a 2007 the engine grew .2L.

2 days ago my BMW dealer lowered their offer for a lease by 400$ a month! They offered me a price for a lease during the summer, and I declined because it was too high. Now that the price has come wayyyy down (tough financial times due to economy or end of year special, I don't know...) it made me wonder.

Maybe Porsche is willing to play with their 2008 Boxster S prices....But I doubt they will be as desparate to let them go for the same price as an M Roadster.
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Old 10-12-2008, 08:07 PM   #8
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The only reason I'm not driving a Lotus Elise is because I don't fit (same reason I didn't get an S2K as well). If you're 6' or under, go test drive an Elise! They have the removable Targa-like roof. And those are available under $40k easily.

This is assuming you're not looking for a daily driver.

I also test drove an M Coupe this Summer. I too found it to be softer than I had hoped for -Too much body roll.
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Old 10-13-2008, 06:18 AM   #9
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A Corvette C6 convertible makes a nice daily driver and will satisfy your lust for power quite nicely.

I find the Box a very nice everday car but that is me.
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Old 10-13-2008, 11:22 AM   #10
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BMW is taking it in the shorts due to the fact that a high percentage of their cars are leased and they are not keeping up with the residual values at lease termination; good if you want to buy a pre-owned, as there are tons of them out there. The slow movers?... well they'll do about anything to get them out the door in this environment. Personally, I've driven most the offerings at the BMW track days (as an instructor) and wouldn't trade my Box S on one.
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Old 10-13-2008, 02:59 PM   #11
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I say look for a slightly used '07 or '08 987S, there are quite a few available with less than 4,000 miles, and believe you could find a reasonably equipped car with 3 or more years left on the warranty, priced comparably to a BMW M Roadster.
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Old 10-14-2008, 08:28 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by vincesf
I say look for a slightly used '07 or '08 987S, there are quite a few available with less than 4,000 miles, and believe you could find a reasonably equipped car with 3 or more years left on the warranty, priced comparably to a BMW M Roadster.
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In my neck of the woods (NJ) Z4M prices have fallen like a rock. Boxster S prices have fallen but not nearly as much.


I don't believe they are close to the same price point.
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Old 10-20-2008, 10:55 PM   #13
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In my neck of the woods (NJ) Z4M prices have fallen like a rock. Boxster S prices have fallen but not nearly as much.


I don't believe they are close to the same price point.
Same here in Montreal.

A Boxster S is much more expensive than an M Roadster.

I wish they were priced closer since they offer the same kind of performance-fun to drive.
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Old 10-21-2008, 06:01 AM   #14
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There's a reason why corvette is cheap and fast.
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Old 10-21-2008, 06:01 PM   #15
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There's a reason why corvette is cheap and fast.
Bleah the M Roadster-Coupe are great cars.

One of the best engines ever built for a road car. Out of a 3.2 they manage to get amazing throttle response, great low end torque and a ridiculous rush of high reving frenzy all the way to 8000RPMs.

They are also nimble cars and with a short wheelbase it's a different drive than a Corvette.

My only complaint is towards the feel of the shifter-steering-clutch-brake pedal. It's a notch below the Boxster S.
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Old 10-22-2008, 01:34 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Jacques79
Bleah the M Roadster-Coupe are great cars.

One of the best engines ever built for a road car. Out of a 3.2 they manage to get amazing throttle response, great low end torque and a ridiculous rush of high reving frenzy all the way to 8000RPMs.

They are also nimble cars and with a short wheelbase it's a different drive than a Corvette.

My only complaint is towards the feel of the shifter-steering-clutch-brake pedal. It's a notch below the Boxster S.
I've driven a couple of M3s and a couple of other 3 series cars. BMW uses very light flywheels and the engines are fun to rev as a result. If you put a lighter flywheel on any other engine, you could get the same sensation of throttle response and rev-ability.
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Old 10-22-2008, 08:12 PM   #17
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I've driven a couple of M3s and a couple of other 3 series cars. BMW uses very light flywheels and the engines are fun to rev as a result. If you put a lighter flywheel on any other engine, you could get the same sensation of throttle response and rev-ability.

I think the Individual Throttle Bodies on the S54 M engine have a bigger role in the throttle response than a light flywheel.
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Old 10-23-2008, 12:15 AM   #18
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I think the Individual Throttle Bodies on the S54 M engine have a bigger role in the throttle response than a light flywheel.
I agree that there may be some effect but you have to take what the dealer totes with a grain of salt. They will tend to market features with high tech appeal and the things that are different from competitors over those that don't sound as cool, hence the reason they like to talk about the individual butterflies. The benefit of the individual throttle bodies is to bring the air metering closer to the combustion chambers but at the same time they significantly increase the pressure drop of the intake system as compared to an individual unit. Which negatively effects torque. They can't effect how fast the engine will rev, just how long it takes for the revs to respond to your inputs. And the difference between butterflies in the ports vs one just ahead of a plenum is subtle.

But it's absolutely the flywheel that has the effect on the engines willingness to rev and I suspect has the larger influence on throttle response. Put a heavier flywheel on a bimmer and both response and rev acceleration will be diminished. Put a lighter flywheel on anything and these things will improve.

Notice how much easier it is to kill a bimmer from a standing start, especially on a hill?

Last edited by blue2000s; 10-23-2008 at 06:06 AM.
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Old 10-23-2008, 09:07 AM   #19
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Too many BMW's on the road. Too common. I saw this one today on the way into the office:
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Old 10-23-2008, 09:08 AM   #20
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Gosh, it must be warmer in IL today than it is in NC...no way would I have had my top down on the way to work this morning...

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