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Old 08-12-2010, 09:00 PM   #1
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Boxster vs Carrera

After passing the greater part of summer in Europe, I am back to the real world and back on the forum. With plenty of free time to think, I got to wondering about the following question.

I am interested to hear the point of view of the members on a particular topic of Boxster vs Carrera.

Is your choice to own a Boxster only about the price differential or because it is more of a "true" sports car, or any other reasons?

My decision was based on the cost initially, as in Australia as many of you are aware, cars are very expensive. I paid almost $55k USD for a 2000 Boxster S about 2 1/2 years ago (pre GFC, however they still sell for about $35k USD today) and a 2002 carrera (3.6L) would have cost more than double that, so the choice was an easy one for me.

Since then I have revisited the idea of buying a Carrera, although they do not feel as "sporty" as the Boxster, and although more powerful, are less fun to drive in my opinion. A few guys I know, for whom money is not a factor in their decision, have started off driving a Boxster S, and have then taken a step up into a GT3. They feel that a Carrera is boring to drive after owning a Boxster.

I am just curious as to what people in the US feel and think about the Boxster vs Carrera choice. For us in Aus, Carrera drivers tend to be accounting firm partners and stockbrokers in their 50's having a mid-life crisis.

Your thoughts would be much appreciated.
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Old 08-12-2010, 09:19 PM   #2
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If I lived somewhere with snow (more than here) I would consider a 996 Carrera 4. It would be a great and fast daily driver. Better in foul weather than the box. And cheap enough (here anyways) that I wouldn't worry about it too much. However if I lived somewhere perpetually warm I would probably go for a boxster spyder because i'm crazy. I will own a GT3 in my lifetime.

That being said, I have no reason that I would sell the Boxster. It's just way too much fun to drive.
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Old 08-12-2010, 10:10 PM   #3
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I just got a near new 20 yr. old carrera 4 (964 - 1 owner, 20k mi.).

There is no comparison to the Boxster.

Not better or worse as a driving experience, just different. If Porsche didn't continually 'geld' the Boxster, I firmly believe it would overtake the 911 as their Flagship car. In terms of the sales numbers, it paces or outsells the 911, the Cayman is really just a sidenote with dismal, continually dropping, sales, it's been an utter sales failure for the company, perhaps a car with no niche.

What is better is the gobs of torque from the 3.6, and the build quality, maybe the provenance.

The Boxster is an assembly line car, the 964 is virtually hand built, and it shows. Close the door on the Boxster, and you get a nice confident feel to it. Close the door on the 964 and it's like closing a bank vault, solid, perfect.

Personally, I would not consider a water-cooled Carrera at all, though I admit many would disagree. Same M96 motor, same foibles - RMS, IMS, MAF, AOS, albeit with more oomph.

The modern cars are just as fast or faster. But the driving experience is definitely inferior to the air-cooleds.

It's interesting that for the same money that a 996 commands, you can only get into a nice 964, or a somewhat 'ratty' 993. That's either a testament to the 964/993, or a condemnation of the 996 - you choose.

My suggestion, find a nice 964 or 993. I think the difference will surprise you... in a nice way.

Cheers!
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Last edited by Lil bastard; 08-12-2010 at 10:46 PM.
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Old 08-12-2010, 10:20 PM   #4
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I just recently looked at an 03 Carrera and could not justify the 18 thousand dollar difference over my boxster S . My Boxster was better equipped , looked better and has the same build quality as the basic Carrera. 18 grand is not worth the 60 H.P. because thats all it came down too. My next car will be a Cayman S .
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Old 08-12-2010, 11:25 PM   #5
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Porshe Sales

Lil B,

Normally I find your info insightful and accurate but your comments on Porsche sales are off the mark. I was browsing porsche financials a few weeks ago and was surprised. This link shows current year porsche sales

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2010/08/hot-porsche-sales-due-to-panamera-cayenne/1

And here are sales figures from wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porsche

(I would not normally quote wiki but the numbers closely match excellence and Panorama) To summarize Porsche's US sales (which mirror worldwide sales) Cayenne is Porsche's best seller followed by the 911 then the Boxster/Cayman with Cayman sales higher than Boxster sales since introduction.

Best,
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Old 08-13-2010, 04:03 AM   #6
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I've had front engine, mi-engine and rear engine cars.

Multiples of each.

I like the mid-engine...had 3.

I've liked the top down aspect of the Boxster but this NC summer has me rethinking that decision. 100-110 heat index (temp plus humidity) for days on end means I go out with the top down and within 2 miles I have the top up and the a/c on. I use the car for longish trips, nothing less than 12 miles one way, and everything from a "trash to the dump" run to a vacation trip. For short or winter drives I have the CRV, a little SUV. So I have as much invested in my cars as a Carrera would cost me so it isn't cost that is driving my choice.

I think I'd buy a Cayman. More practical luggage space, mid-engine handling. 300HP is more than enough for me...my 914 only had 85 and I got into enough trouble with the LEOs in it (Gads...that was 40 years ago!).

The Carreras, while iconic in shape, just don't do it for me and the luggage config leaves much to be desired. Plus I challenge anyone to use those rear "seats". I couldn't fit my 3 year old GD in one.

The only problem is "my" Cayman costs $94k every time I configure it. And my Boxster costs me an oil change each year...beastly reliable. So I keep the $ in investments and the income more than pays for the Boxster's upkeep. Daddy taught me don't put serious $ into depreciating assets (now why did I buy this house?).
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Old 08-13-2010, 05:16 AM   #7
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I've owned at least one, sometimes more, of each 911 variant for the past twenty five years. My Boxster S puts a big smile on my face every time I drive it.

My good friend has a 3.8 Carrera S...very neat car and fun to drive, but I still like my Box.
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Old 08-13-2010, 05:27 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel R
Carrera drivers tend to be accounting firm partners and stockbrokers in their 50's having a mid-life crisis.
Here they tend to be gynecologists (up to their elbows in work), Wall St. types, attorneys (we've got LOTS of them), drug dealers (a.k.a. "entrepreneurs") or anyone involved in defrauding the government.

Seriously, that may be the perception among the general public, but reality is they could be anybody, particularly owners of secondhand cars. All Porsches are amazingly more accessible here for "average people." From the Porsche Club I see they're mostly truly average people who love cars, though the ones with new Carreras tend to have to gray behind the temples and maybe some "chrome" on the dome. I'm getting there, but there's no Carrera on the horizon for me.
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Old 08-13-2010, 05:58 AM   #9
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I have a question. If an eight year old Porsche costs $55K u.s. (not that I'm asking your income) what is the minimum income you have to have to get a car loan for this amount of money? What is the usual amount that an Australian spends on a boring type car (Accord'ish) and a slightly nicer car (Audi A4'ish)?

As for the question at hand. I had ZERO interest in other convertible Porsches.
A Carrera Cabriolet looks like a bathtub with a big butt and handled worse. I'm not sure if they're any better now. In terms of power, I've never really been impressed with the Porsches in the Boxster /CarreraS territory. One is certainly faster than the other but neither set the world on fire. If I were interested in a Carrera it would be one in a different performance category that usual comes with a much higher price tag. But my #1 go-to sports car will always be a mid eninge roadster. The lack of a true dry sump engine in most Carreras has always cooled the urgency to pick up a second Porsche. Although seeing the odometer climb higher on my pampered Boxster, particularly during our snowy winters, has increased my interest in a four wheel drive Carrera. The old Carreras look nice and don't feel numb like all modern Porsches, but I have no interest in spending a small fortune should I run into engine trouble. A water cooled Porsche engine may kick the bucket and in one day you can have a fairly new crate motor to get you back on the road for less money and more power. I doubt I will ever own an SUV but if I did I'm a lot more intrigued by the BMW X6 than a Cayenne.
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Old 08-13-2010, 06:24 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trube78
Lil B,

Normally I find your info insightful and accurate but your comments on Porsche sales are off the mark. I was browsing porsche financials a few weeks ago and was surprised. This link shows current year porsche sales

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2010/08/hot-porsche-sales-due-to-panamera-cayenne/1

And here are sales figures from wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porsche

(I would not normally quote wiki but the numbers closely match excellence and Panorama) To summarize Porsche's US sales (which mirror worldwide sales) Cayenne is Porsche's best seller followed by the 911 then the Boxster/Cayman with Cayman sales higher than Boxster sales since introduction.

Best,
Tom
Well, accuracy is important to me. I'm not going to argue about it, except to say I thought that's what I read in the recent panorama, I must have been wrong, sorry for the mis-info.

Cheers!
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Old 08-13-2010, 06:31 AM   #11
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I bought my Boxster because I like the Boxster, not because I wanted a Porsche and couldn't buy a Carrera. I have no interest in the water cooled 911s.
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Old 08-13-2010, 07:20 AM   #12
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I have owned a number of both models. I do prefer the Boxster as a pure driving car.

If I was going across country, I might pick a 911 cab.

Tough choice, no?

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Old 08-13-2010, 07:46 AM   #13
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zeintop on a boxster - ultimate car. you get a cayman but better looking - side vents look better, front spoiler looks better, overall best looking car not made by porsche since 1999. rare too; certain to be the only guy in town with one. plus you get a convertible when you need it. used top on a used 986S gets you in the game for under $20k. drive it like you stole it until (if) the engine caves, then stuff a 911 killer in it for another $20k. car will have no value at this point, but you'll be beating gt3's on the straights and tt's in the corners for under $40k and be looking cool in a cool way while doing it (no mid-life crisis here, folks).
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Old 08-13-2010, 07:48 AM   #14
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I can afford much more of a car than I have on the road. I however like seeing the money go to retirement funds, traveling and hopefully beach front property and a sailboat.

I have no interest in burning up any more money in vehicles, so for me I love cars and wanted top down fun. The used Boxster offered me the best value and the most fun. I really like the turbo cab 911, but not until I get my grips on a nice vacation home first and then have plenty of fun money laying around. Lots of fun to be had elsewhere so I can't rationalize attributing so much resources to scoot my butt around the pavement, not until other goals are met at least.
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Old 08-13-2010, 09:21 AM   #15
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I don't think it's just a cost issue. I do think the Boxster is a better handling car than the Carrera. I've got a 2000 Boxster S with JRZ coilovers and a 2003 Carrera 4S with TechArt coilovers. The Boxster will out handle my 911 any day. But the 911 does have more power to pull you out of a turn. I think the ideal would be a Boxster with 911 power.

I just got back from a 2,000 mile trip in the Boxster on some ultra twisty roads. Most of the trip was with the top down. Not for an instant did I wish I had driven the 911 instead. I really enjoyed the Box. Sure you can get the top down experience in a 911 cab, but they look like crap IMHO (big, bloated butt).

Still my C4S has its place. It definitely gets a lot more looks (full TechArt body kit and HRE wheels) and a lot more respect than the Box. The power is nice. Plus there are rear seats which my kids definitely do use. But when it comes to driving, the Boxster has the edge. Still, remember that you're comparing fine, German sports cars. So either the Box or the Carrera is going to be LOADS better than 99% of the other cars on the road!!!

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Old 08-13-2010, 09:28 AM   #16
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My 944 was built better than the Boxster on that I'll agree with lil B. As for the older driving experience, I disagree. The old 911's look just that, old, the 993 looks a little better. In a corner I'll take my Boxster over the 911 platform, if a person properly hopped up a Boxster, (at less than 18K investment) IMO, that car would be a 911 eating machine. I love the GT3 but I'd prefer a mid engined GT3.
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Old 08-13-2010, 09:56 AM   #17
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OK, I'll bite!

My '04S is my 7th Porsche.... Started with a 356, 928S, Carrera2, 911SC, Carrera4, Carrera2 and now the S.

The older Porsches have a very special "feel" to them, starting with the floor mounted pedals, the built quaity, sound, smell, handling and so on. So much history and fun, a true drivers car! Love them!

The 928S was a superb cruiser but in my opinion a Porsche should be a true sports car in the first place.

The Boxster is a great car. I don't like the built quality much, my Audi and even The TReg we have is miles better. However Porsche did a great job to mimic the aircooled sound which I love much. Handling is beyond any critics! And for the money there is practically no alternative. With time I will tune the ride a bit with go fast bits (already started!) and keep this as a toy only ride.

In Germany the Boxster is called the hairdresser version but this car is pure Porsche, nothing "girly"!

Porsche will always keep the 911/Carrera above the Cayman and Boxster but the true carnut will consider the midengined cars in mind as the "insider" alternative for less with better handling. Heck, the magazines here rate a Cayman over the Carrera all day long. Even if it's not the all out fastest car it wins every time because of the handling/steering/brakes etc. 'nough said!
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Old 08-13-2010, 10:32 AM   #18
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Well, this is a vs. thread so comparisons are relevant, but only to a point.

These are completely different cars beginning with the fact that one is a GT car while the other is a Roadster. The differences cascade from there - power, handling, design, manufacture and on and on.

I Loved my Boxster. I cherished it, serviced it, modded it, toured it, drove it in anger many times. I had the true Boxster experience.

But, I want to experience EVERY sports car the world has to offer. The limiting factors are Time and Money. I'll not likely ever know what it's like to wake up to a Ferrari Enzo, Carerra GT or Muira S, but there are many many more which are within reach. Of course I will never realize the dream fully, but I'm making a fair sized dent.

Money is a factor, but the biggest obstacle is Time. In order to stay the course, I cannot spend too much time with any one vehicle, I need to experience them and move on down the list. It's a real testament to the Boxster, given my tendencies, to have owned it for as many years as I did.

Now I'm on to something else and enjoying it for what it is. That doesn't mean I've lost respect for the Boxster or see it as inferior.

I also own a BMW 2002 which I am refining, I'm even manufacturing and selling several parts, incl. LED taillights for them. But someday too, it will be turned over to it's next custodian with hopes that he/she has as much fun with it as I'm having now.

Fate plays a role here too. I had no intention of selling the Boxster when along comes a 20 y.o. one-owner, low miles 911. Sometimes the car finds you.

And, if along my journey, I long to be in a Boxster again, I can always pick up another one. It's not like choosing a wife... it's only as permanent as you want it to be. You'll always be able to sell it and get something different.

Cheers!
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Old 08-13-2010, 11:55 AM   #19
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I owned an 88 Targa for several years. I was in the process of being transferred from Colorado to Illinois and an acquaintance offered to buy it from me before the move. In a moment of weakness I sold it. It was a reasonable price for the car and it was too easy with a buyer at hand.

I went about a year without owning one at all and I came across my Boxster. It was in December of 2007 (winter in the midwest) and this guy was practically giving the car away. I bought it with the intent to flip it later in the spring. Once I started driving it, it was so much of a better car than my 911 that I ended up keeping it. I really love it!

The 911 was faster and felt more purpose built, but could be scary when driven at limit. The Boxster is easier to drive and is a better tool for an amateur driver such as myself. As a bonus, my wife hated the stiff riding 911 and date night was never in the Porsche. The Boxster is no problem, great A/C and a better tuned suspension. It feels planted in the corners and dampened over the bumps. I love the mid-engine handling. After a few years of ownership, the Boxster has been far more economical than the 911. Annual maintenance costs and insurance costs have been less and many of the issues that have come up are easy for the DIY'er. Resources like 986forum.com make owning this car a great deal.

Both great cars, but I definitely support the Boxster.
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Old 08-13-2010, 12:48 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyA6
In Germany the Boxster is called the hairdresser version but this car is pure Porsche, nothing "girly"!
That's interesting because my hairdresser drives a 996 Cabriolet.
Sure he's gay too but that's an unrelated point.
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