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Old 04-19-2009, 08:09 AM   #1
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Performance Difference between Auto & Manual Boxster, Your Thoughts??

Hello:

I'm looking to purchase either a bmw Z4, or porsche Boxster.

To date, I test driven many Z4s with an auto and manual tranny. The 2.5i (smaller engine) feels a bit sluggish (dull) with an auto. It was much more enjoyable to drive with a manual tranny. The 3.0i (larger engine) was fun to drive regardless if it had an auto or manual tranny.

I just started looking at the boxster. I'm trying to gauge if it's enjoyable/fun to drive with a auto (or not). What are you thoughts?? I know...ultimately it's up to me to decide, but many of you are more familiar with the driving dynamics of the boxster.

Yesterday, I drove a boxster with a 5spd manual, and it was fun to drive. I'm considering an auto because it's easier. But if it's a bit sluggish/dull, I'll just consider the manual....

THANKS...

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Old 04-19-2009, 08:29 AM   #2
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You are right

It ultimately comes down to what you like and what is important to you.

The Z4 and Boxster are very different cars in their driving dynamics. If one appeals to you, it is liable the other won't.

After 25 years of driving stick exclusively, I switched to auto just because of the traffic density and my typical driving needs. Then I moved to a semi rural locale but still kept the auto-manual or auto cars I had from the previous crowded roads home.

You don't say if you are looking new or used as the auto trans on the Boxsters for 1997-2008 are very different from the one in the just out 2010 PDK-equipped Boxster/Cayman cars. So my remarks will only cover my experience with the earlier Tiptronic auto/manuals.

I enjoy my Tiptronic equipped '01S. It replaced a '99 Tip Boxster. I'd estimate I manually shift it ~5% of the time (4% for fun, 1% to downshift because I'm driving over some hills and want the added control I can get from the lower gear). There is a difference between the TIP equipped shift capabilities between the early cars and the later ones. On the later ones, you can down shift via the buttons even while in auto mode. On the earlier ones, you had to first move the shift lever to manual mode.

There are even some who race TIP-equipped Boxsters saying their times are better with the TIP than with the stick version of the same car.

I've had other roadsters including '60s Alfas and a '70 914 that were stick shift.

I bought the Boxster for its balance and every day usefulness. I did drive a BMW Z3 but I was very quick to dislike its handling...in fact I doubt I covered 2 blocks before I returned it to the dealers. OTOH, I bought the first Boxster I drove. I drove more powerful cars (think 'vette), never felt they did for me what the Boxster did. When I totaled my first '99, didn't even consider any of the dozen other cars I had driven when making my first selection, just replaced it with another Boxster. I'd wager the Boxster has a very high degree of people like me who buy another.

In fact I just last night went out for an hour run on rural 50MPH winding 2-lanes just to drive in the spring air. Spun those revs up to 6500 once it was warmed up just to hear the sounds. Always felt it was a better car than I am a driver.

Go drive samples of each. See if the car appeals to what you want in a car, your wants/needs may be different.

Last edited by mikefocke; 04-19-2009 at 08:35 AM.
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Old 04-19-2009, 01:45 PM   #3
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See if you can drive a Boxster S with the 6-speed...if you do I doubt you'll still consider the Z4. And make it a 987 S...great deals on 2008 models.
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Old 04-19-2009, 02:39 PM   #4
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I LOVE my Tiptronic.
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Old 04-19-2009, 06:53 PM   #5
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In rush hour/stop and go traffic or if I was physically unable to drive a std transmission i'd go Tip.
Aside from the above, I find manual roadsters much more fun, more connected to the driver.

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Old 04-19-2009, 07:38 PM   #6
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It depends where you live, your experience with driving and how you drive in general. While it is true that the Tiptronic does sap a bit of power from the engine, it's still quite a fun car to drive. Though, I will concede that a straight-six does sound a little better than the flat-six in my Boxster.

If you're currently living in an area where you can really cut loose on corners and go fast(like a mountain road, or Dubai.. lol), you'd be a fool not to go with a Boxster in Manual. You can really exploit the engine's power and balance in an area like that. Though, I'd consider Auto if you were like me and you live in an urban, traffic-heavy area where it's next to impossible to drive. Currently, I'm driving an 04 Tip, and it's great. I love it.

I've driven a Z4 a couple times, and it seems to be tailored to those who want to wrestle the car down into submission. It's easy to say that it doesn't handle as well as the Boxster, but that's not necessarily the case. You'll have to work a little more to keep it stable, which can sound bad, but also very entertaining at the same time. So if you've had some experience with driving these cars, this will be a lot more entertaining to drive. It's a little more rugged than classy.

I was in the same boat as you a while ago, and the main thing that really pulled me away from the Z4 was the suspension in it. Maybe I drove a faulty model, but it was such a shaky and bumpy ride in comparison to the Boxster. As soon as I drove past a couple train tracks, I knew that this car just wasn't for me. I didn't feel like shattering my spine into a million pieces everytime I'd drive. While the Z4 does make a nicer sound and has a prettier interior, it rides like an American car. Which makes sense, considering the pre-09 models are made in South Carolina.

Pretty much, both cars have their ups and downs. I can understand why someone would buy a Z4 though. I'd take the Boxster anyday of the week, but that should be expected considering what kind of forum this is.
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Old 11-07-2011, 11:16 AM   #7
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The performance difference between a 986 model Tiptronic and 5 or 6 speed manual transmission is minimal with the manual being slightly faster.

With the newer PDK automatic in the 987 models, the performance numbers are reversed with the PDK being slightly faster than the manual.

Generally, both transmissions are well accepted and liked by their respective owners. Drive both and choose what you like best.

With that being said, even after driving the newest PDK's on the street and the track, I still have a strong dislike for automatics, manumatics, and generally any transmission that thinks it knows what gear I want better than I do.
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Old 11-07-2011, 01:57 PM   #8
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I've owned both. One a manual 2.5 and now an auto 3.2 S. Both are fun, responsive and plenty quick. In your case, that's not the prime question. The two vehicles - BMW and Porsche are completely different. I would decide which ONE you like best and then decide if you want that in auto or manual. Deciding on which make of car to buy from asking others is really a bad idea. Once you decide on whether you want a Z or Box, then you can drive both and see what you like best.

There are multiple choices with the Boxster. Early model base, later base or S... all will be different but all of them are fantastic - if you're prepared to buy a Boxster and not spending your nights worrying if you should have had a BMW.
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Old 11-07-2011, 01:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phatjoe View Post
Hello:

I'm looking to purchase either a bmw Z4, or porsche Boxster.

To date, I test driven many Z4s with an auto and manual tranny. The 2.5i (smaller engine) feels a bit sluggish (dull) with an auto. It was much more enjoyable to drive with a manual tranny. The 3.0i (larger engine) was fun to drive regardless if it had an auto or manual tranny.

I just started looking at the boxster. I'm trying to gauge if it's enjoyable/fun to drive with a auto (or not). What are you thoughts?? I know...ultimately it's up to me to decide, but many of you are more familiar with the driving dynamics of the boxster.

Yesterday, I drove a boxster with a 5spd manual, and it was fun to drive. I'm considering an auto because it's easier. But if it's a bit sluggish/dull, I'll just consider the manual....

THANKS...
I went back and forth for months between the Z4 and the Boxster and ultimately decided to go for the Boxster with the Tiptronic. It is a much "sportier" car, handling is better. The BMW, to me, is more "businesslike." I already have a BMW, so if I want to be businesslike I drive that, if I want to have fun I drive the Boxster.
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Old 11-07-2011, 02:20 PM   #10
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Test drive a boxster s , and the Z4 will become a forgone consideration ! I've owned a few 'M" cars over the years (never mind a Z4), and none of them had the balance and poise of the boxster .
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Last edited by Johnny Danger; 11-07-2011 at 02:24 PM.
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Old 11-07-2011, 02:39 PM   #11
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I drove a Z3, Z4, 330i conv, & 99 M3 conv before buying my 6speed Boxster over 8 years ago. I hated the driveing position, outward visability, interior in it's entirety, push buttons especially, engine sound & feel of every BMW especially the ZZZ's.

The Tiptronic extracts about 10% more power than a manual trans Boxster but is still enjoyable to drive if coupled to 3.2L or larger engine.
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Old 11-07-2011, 02:42 PM   #12
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Giving up the manual feels like parting with a piece of manhood but at least the PDK is fast even if it is weenie-esk compared to selecting your own gears.
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Old 11-07-2011, 03:24 PM   #13
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Imho

You'll get a variety of opinions, but for me a sports car does not have an automatic, no matter what you call it.
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Old 11-07-2011, 03:53 PM   #14
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I LOVE my TIP. I get the whole "it's not a real sports car without a stick" argument, but I don't get that picky until we're talking about cars that don't have the potential to be daily drivers (and yes, I know there are people that DD ferraris and what not).

For me, the traffic here in San Antonio is ridiculous... and people drive SOOOOO slow... the constant speeding up, slowing down, parking lot on the highway situations make me enjoy having a TIP that much more. The "manual" mode let's me control the shifting if I so choose, and the TIP really is a "smart" transmission with most of it being able to be controlled with your right foot.

Not having to change the clutch like the manual guys is nice too.
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Old 11-07-2011, 04:18 PM   #15
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I drive a Tip and I like it......If I had a manual tranny I know I would have blown the
car up by now.

But it WILL be a manual next time.
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Old 11-07-2011, 04:30 PM   #16
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schellman, if your left leg didn't work anymore would you stop craving a sports car? I haven't. I would be putting a 3.2 in my car if I was ever going to drive it again. I feel the same as you but I'm going to try out the PDK before I bail on ever having another cool toy. Why can't they make me a clutch lever like a motorcycle on the wheel?

Last edited by Ghostrider 310; 11-07-2011 at 04:42 PM.
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Old 11-07-2011, 04:48 PM   #17
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Ghostrider - You're 100% correct. The day will come when I won't be able to get in and out of Box, nor use a stick. That's when I'll get a Cayenne with a PDK.
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Old 11-08-2011, 09:46 AM   #18
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A very personal subject. Personally, I'd find another hobby if I could no longer stir my own gears. Even the best robot boxes destroy the driving experience for me.

Also, the whole "PDK is faster" thing is highly misleading. PDK delivers faster acceleration times because it swaps gears so fast - ie less downtime between ratios. The actual acceleration it offers once a gear is selected is not greater. If fact, it's slightly less because PDK cars are a bit heavier.

The point here and in general is that times against the clock don't matter, it's the driving experience. And the experience of PDK is not that of greater acceleration.
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Old 11-08-2011, 09:49 AM   #19
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Pothole, list of stuff already axed:

skiing, scuba diving, bowling, golfing, wrenching, home repair, weight training, running, standing as long as I'd like, same for sitting

I "feel ya" but I am not ruling out a PDK Boxster, not yet anyway, I mean just what other hobby did you have in mind? Chess? If I buy one it won't be the same but it wont suck either..

Last edited by Ghostrider 310; 11-08-2011 at 09:53 AM.
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Old 11-09-2011, 09:09 PM   #20
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I had a 996 Tip. Both Boxsters manual. I liked the tip really well and drove it back and forth to work 35 miles each way for 3 years. The down side for me was resale. My 996 was in great shape, had a full factory aerokit, CF interior pieces, black, and I got two hits in 3 months. The sticker price on the car was over 80k in 2000 so it was very well equipped. The 2nd guy who came to see it bought it, but I had dropped the price to 22k 3 years ago. 6 speeds are still bringing more if in any kind of shape at all. I would opine that Boxsters would be even tougher to sell with the Tip than the 996, as the roadster is more of a toy than a daily driver to many folks. All that being said, I wish I had it back!

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