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Old 05-03-2009, 12:03 PM   #1
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2.7 liter vs 3.2 S-type?

Ok one last question before I become an owner. Reading the posts here and talking to a few people has lead me to believe I should only be looking to buy a Boxter S because of the bigger engine and better resale value. But yesterday I drove a 2003 Boxter with the 2.7 engine and it was far from a dog. A lot of fun in fact.... and low miles. It seemed to have a smoother ride than the test drive I did in a Boxter S which was fairly bumpy and a hard ride in comparison.
I would be curious as to opinions either way. If you were buying a Boxter today which would you be looking for?????

I understand the suspension is very adjustable so could the Boxter S suspension be toned down to make it more comfortable for long rides????


Thanks much for input. I can't wait to put some money down but don't want to regret that I bought the wrong one 3 months down the road....

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Old 05-03-2009, 12:46 PM   #2
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With the same wheel size, the S vs non S should feel about the same just faster My guess is you were comparing 17 inch vs 18 or 19 inch wheels on the S. I did the same as you before buying and opted for the S with the 17 inch wheels. Very happy with the S and 17 inch wheels.
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Old 05-03-2009, 01:01 PM   #3
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Agreeing with JP, if you had different wheel sizes it would make a difference on the feel of the ride. Also, consider the tires that are on each one as condition and quality of your tires will make an impact as well. Honestly, there should be no difference in the feeling of the ride between a regular and S version.

Now here is my opinion on the matter. The standard Boxster is still a fun car, and has a good amount of get up off the line. However, you can generally find an S version for a comparable price in the same condition from what I have seen, especially in todays economy. The S version also has plenty of upgrades that vary from year to year that you will want to compare for yourself and decide if it's worth it. For me personally, my 02 S was worth the bigger engine, painted calipers (vain, I know, but you can't deny!), and other various small improvements that I had to pay only about 2k more for a standard Boxster in the same condition. Finally, I really enjoy having the six speed. Especially for long highway drives, it's nice to pop it into sixth and just sit back and hear your engine purr.

All that said, buy the car which has the features you want and the best condition that you can afford. If the standard Boxster has all you want, by all means save yourself some green. But if you think you will miss some of the features the S provides, do yourself a favor and avoid buyer's remorse down the line.
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Old 05-03-2009, 02:02 PM   #4
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I think the Boxster S brake upgrade is more than just painted calipers. The brake calipers are bigger and the discs are drilled and bigger than the base model. This translates into better performance braking, especially for agressive driving and track days.

The torque of the 3.2 motor is nice to have too.
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Old 05-03-2009, 02:11 PM   #5
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I've owned

a '99 2.5 litre and a '01 S 3.2 litre.

And the 2.5 was more fun. Why? Because you had to be a better driver to get the same performance out of it. And you could stand on it longer without getting into trouble.

I totaled my '99 and the insurance proceeds were enough for the S. I'd rather have the 2.5 back.

My web site does have a list of the differences by model and model year for 986 models you may find useful.

http://mike.focke.googlepages.com/modelyeardifferences
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Old 05-03-2009, 03:21 PM   #6
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I own an 04 Boxster 2.7 and often wish it were a S, but oddly enough I never have those thoughts while I'm driving it. It has enough torque to allow me corner as fast as I'm capable, and I never feel underpowered. If I were getting another one I'd look for the best deal on the best car I could find, base or S, and inexplicably hope that it was an S that I found.
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Old 05-03-2009, 03:44 PM   #7
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i have a 2.7. I love my car. I find myself sometimes fantasizing about an "S", but like the other person said - when I'm behind the wheel of my 2.7, I'm as happy as can be.

one thing to consider - options on these cars create VERY big differences in what you get for the money. My base model (when new) cost about the same as a "base" S model b/c my "base" was so loaded with extras.

there are wheel packages, suspension packages, paint upgrades, etc etc etc etc. unlike a lot of Japanese cars where you have very few choices in terms of options - on the Porsche - it seems like everything is an option/ a la carte.

one thing I really like on my car is the full leather interior. you don't need it - but it sure makes the car feel richer/nicer inside. my buddy has a 996 carrera with the standard inteior, and I've been in other boxsters that have the "basic" interior and the door covers, dash, etc all have a plasticy look to them. my car has leather covered on everything - teh door skins, the dash, with offset colored stitching...it really looks nice. when i get into a porsche w/out it, i realize how"cheap" the inside of such a GREAT car can look!!

my car also has the M030 suspension option - which makes the suspension on my "base", along with the 18" wheels - probably stiffer and better handling than the average boxster "S". i test drove other base boxsters before this one and it was VERY apparent that this car was stiffer and handled much better. those two options, ,to me, make my car a lot more fun to drive and a lot more fun to be in.

i didn't get red calipers as my car is a base. so for $50 i painted mine with the G2 ssytem. it looks almsot as good as what you get from the facotry on an S to me.

test drive a lot of them, see what YOU like and what makes YOU happy.

a bigger motor and m ore torque are soething I woudl love to have....if I were to buy another boxster and budget wasn't a facotr, of course i'd get an S.

if you hae to pick/chose and price is an option and y ou cna't have "it all", then decide what is the most important and look for it. be patient. there are a ton of used boxsters out there, the market is in y our favor. be patienta nd in the end you will be happy. i f you rush you will be sorry.
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Old 05-03-2009, 05:38 PM   #8
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I have a 2.7, 2000 and also love the car. The car is fast enough, but I do think you will be able to feel more torque with the S. I actually prefer the black face on the gauges compared to the white. You'll like either car. All this being said, if the price of a comparable S is only about a grand more, get the S.
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Old 05-03-2009, 05:53 PM   #9
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Smile to S or not to S that is the question...

all good comments based on perceived need for performance. my perceived desire was to drive a porsche,

i also wanted the newest car i could afford, and up here in canada, S's are not as common, (mostly due to the much higher asking price even when new)

everyone who has had a ride in my 2.7 walks away satisfied, the car is comfortable and a thrill to drive, there will always be faster cars out there, but i don't care because i'll just enjoy and be thankful for what i have,

so in my opinion having an S is not necessarily better, there are other criteria which need to be considered such as fuel cost, insurance, etc...

when the weather is nice, it sure is a nice way to get around ...
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Old 05-03-2009, 07:45 PM   #10
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I wish I had a lot more torque for the street. My 2.5 is underpowered, and feels about the same as the early 2.7's... however, the 2003+ 2.7's have nearly as much HP as the 2000 S if I'm not mistaken.

Very, very few owners regret getting the Porsche with the larger motor. Mike's the only one I have ever heard say they'd rather have the smaller motor after driving one with a larger motor.

I just bought a BMW 550i and while I get lousy fuel economy, the 360 hp V8 is something I am incredibly happy to have because my boxster is so friggin' slow off the line. I love the way it handles, but the only reason Porsche put such a puny motor in it was because they wanted to keep the 911 boys feeling superior.

Suburbans beat me off the line from the right hand lane to cut me off and get on the freeway in front of me. I don't race, but this is all wrong.

If I had the cash, I'd shoehorn a 3.6 or even a 3.8 into my Boxster to have the car that Porsche should have produced.
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Old 05-03-2009, 08:15 PM   #11
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One of the things you may do with your new Porsche which you weren't planning on is to participate in your local Porsche Club's Autocross and track events (DE's).
I've driven 2.5, 2.7 and 3.2 (still waiting for a shot at 3.4) at these events and out of corners the car has a much more "lively" exit with the additional HP and torque. In my opinion under these circumstances a car of this weight is ideal with 240 HP. I've noticed this with the Honda S2000 as well.
If you don't dabble in these events even just a few times you're missing out on a huge component of being the owner of a car of this caliber. Its very inexpensive ($40 per event) and over the course of a few months you'll take your driving skills to another level that could be useful in the real world. On at least one ocassion I avoided a big accident in front of me by a cat's whisker with some quick hands and hard braking.
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Old 05-04-2009, 04:51 AM   #12
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Ok first off you all are awesome - that is some great help. I would really be searching blind otherwise. If anyone ever gets to Cape Cod the beers are on me.

JP308 - you are absolutely right - the S-type I drove had 18" wheels and the 2.7 had 17". I enjoyed the ride in the 17" wheels more. Whats the advantage of bigger wheels???? Stiffer is better for handling twisty roads but more tiring for long distance? The size of the tire gets smaller as wheel size increases?

I have to say after each of the few I tested -" Holy S---- I want this car now". Was not expecting to to think that with the 2.7 for all I had heard but I totally get that once behind the wheel you could care less which one you are driving. Patience is going to be tough!

Definitely going to be taking options into strong consideration. PSM, Litronics, glass rear window and leather (tx 23109VC) seem to be most valued by people I have spoken to...and probably best for resale..... anything else I should be strongly considering?

Had not thought about autocross or track but that might be a blast in this car...


Thanks again guys......
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Old 05-04-2009, 05:25 AM   #13
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"In my opinion under these circumstances a car of this weight is ideal with 240 HP."

Interesting comment about weight and hp for our cars. Because of my modding games, my 2000 base Boxster is about 100 lbs lighter than stock and it is putting out a little over 240 hp to the crank. It's unusual that when I am driving the car that I feel like I need any more hp, and the balance and responsiveness is great. I am definately the limiting factor on the perfomance of the car. Still, with all that being said, if I had to replace the engine in my car, it would probably be a 3.6L.....


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Old 05-04-2009, 08:59 AM   #14
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I have had them both and would buy an S.

As Randall stated, the torque is really the thing. Makes the care more enjoyable for most of the driving we all do.

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Old 05-04-2009, 09:11 AM   #15
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^ Sportec put in a 3.6 a long time ago and they weren't that impressed. With bigger brakes "the Boxster can still handle much more power" was the conclusion.
But a mid engine roadster with 350+HP isn't really a roadster anymore.

I think the weight of the Boxster should be much lower. A well engineered manual soft top would be better than a slow heavy motor. I'd get rid of cruise control too.
My GT3 seats and 20 pound 18 wheels (moving weight) vs 30 pound wheels and the stock seats probably reduced the weight of an extra passenger.
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Old 05-04-2009, 12:38 PM   #16
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I think every 2.7 or 2.5 owner probably has probably thought about how things would be with a 3.2L. It's no lie, there are times where I wish I had one myself. But also, you need to think about what you would do with those extra cc's. I don't take my box out for track days nor do I race or go nuts with it. For me, a 3.2 would be pointless. I'd pretty much be paying a lot more for an S badge and painted calipers.

If you're going to be like me and cruise more than race, you're better off with a 2.7. If not, get that S. You'll be happy either way, and once you do make that purchase... welcome to the boxster community!
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Old 05-04-2009, 04:03 PM   #17
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One more vote for the 2.7. Mine's '03, and worse yet, Tip. I'm coming from an E36 M3 with 3.2L and a 5-speed. Yes, the Boxster is no M3 off the line, but then, the M3's no Mustang with a 500 hp crate motor, either. If stoplight drags aren't your thing, and driving on winding roads is what you're after, the 2.7 L has far more HP than you need to have fun or get yourself into a lot of trouble. Sure, the extra torque of the S would be nice, but if you don't want or can't pay for it, the 2.7 L's plenty of fun.
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Old 05-04-2009, 08:53 PM   #18
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I'll be real honest here about buying cars. All car purchases to me are about passion and wants, not needs. When I bought my first Ferrari I was ready to buy a 308GT4, but I new I really wanted a 308GTB, so I waited 1 more year and got the car I wanted. (It's a carb car with 4 double webbers and is more than enough). When I bought my first US car (used to live in Canada, now living in the US), I really wanted a boxster, but saved a few K and bought a 3.0 Z4. Loved it, but kept thinking about the boxster. 2 years later I finally was fed up with second guessing myself and traded the Z4 in for a Boxster. And as I said at the begining, I really wanted the S, so I waited until I got exactly what I wanted....well almost, I wanted grey and got a silver with blue interior without BOSE.....but I can live with that. If you are ever going to say....I wish I had bought the S...then don't settle, there are a lot of cars out there. I also did not want a plastic window as I lived with 3 Miata's with plastic windows...so never again. Hence a 2003 silver and blue Boxster S. As an aside...the 17" wheels are also lighter than the 18" and the 19" and I am all about lower weight, not higher HP. Besides it's easier to put the back out on skinny 17's than it is on fatter 18's or 19's. I remember my first sports car was the 93 LE miata with the black exterior and red interior with the 14" BBS lightweight wheels....now that was a great car. Buy what make you feel good inside of it and outside of it and don't settle, there are lot's out there.....and don't forget to get a PPI. Good luck
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Old 05-05-2009, 09:46 AM   #19
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The 2.7's a great car. But, the 3.2 S has bigger brakes, and the 6 speed. There's some debate on the value of the 6 speed. But, besides the larger engine I believe those are the key differences. There maybe be some wheel and tire differences, but those are easily resolved.

Either way you win.

Good Luck


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Old 05-05-2009, 01:20 PM   #20
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Get the "S"

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