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Old 08-28-2010, 03:39 PM   #1
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Boxster Base vs S

Hey guys,

Looking to upgrade from my BMW 323I to a Porsche Boxster. I've been searching around my area and and came across two Boxsters that caught my eye.

The first, a 2000 base model Boxster with 18k miles for 19k.

The second, a 2002 Boxster S with 47k miles for 18k.

Or

Third option: an e46 m3(really just my old car on roids) or high milage 911(most likely out of the question--don't want to deal with unexpected maintenance/repairs)

What do you guys think between those two Boxsters? I'm not sure what the S has over the Base model besides the engine, but if I wanted to stay within the 20k range, would the extra milage on the car be a good trade off for choosing the S over Base model?
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Old 08-28-2010, 03:53 PM   #2
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I've owned 3 BMWs over the years and I'm a big fan of the e46 M3 -- I almost bought one, but I am very happy with my Boxster. In hindsight, the M would have been a mistake for me.


The S has the 3.2L engine, upgraded brakes with red brake calipers, upgraded suspension (springs, anti-roll bar, dampers, etc.), 6 speed manual, and some trim pieces (dual tail pipe, etc.).


I think you should be able to get both of those cars for well under $20K. Drive them both and decide if you need the extra power. The key to the Boxster is tossability -- the S weighs more and its different. Some swear by it, some prefer the base.


Keep in mind that time is equally important than miles on many of the maintenance items on a Boxster (you're gonna end up doing them all anyway).
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Old 08-28-2010, 03:54 PM   #3
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Unless you REALLY want a Porsche, I would say stick with the E46 M3 as they have a MUCH BETTER engine in my opinion.

Sorry if that offends anybody here
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Old 08-28-2010, 04:10 PM   #4
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I have the base model, and when I tried driving the S I found it heavier and more sluggish, even with the extra power. My car felt a lot more nimble.

But to each his own, as suggested you should really try driving them both and make up your own mind as to what suits you better.

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Old 08-28-2010, 04:11 PM   #5
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And how did the MY00 end up with only 18,000 miles is a good question. As many have found, these cars have to be driven.
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Old 08-28-2010, 05:25 PM   #6
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I think it's worth bearing in mind that low miles is not necessarily a no-brainer in terms of preferences when choosing a Boxster. It's really hard to know for sure, but it certainly seems like some of the really nasty engine problems tend to pop up most frequently within the first 40-60k miles. It might be the case that cars that have made it to 60k or so on the original engine are less likely to then suffer from some of the more serious engine woes.

Exactly how true that is, is hard to tell. But personally I would not have more confidence about the engine in a low mile car than a well-maintained car with more miles (up to a point, I'm not talking about intergalactic miles). The sweet spot is probably in the 60-70k area in terms of mileage.

Anyway, there's very little between the 2.5 and 2.7 986 models. Both are not exactly quick. The 3.2 is still not exactly a rocket ship, but it is quite a bit gutsier and has plenty of performance for road driving.
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Old 08-28-2010, 05:59 PM   #7
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The only way you're going to know what's best for you is to drive a few of each. The E46 M3 is an excellent car with plenty of virtues (I thought at one point of buying one myself), but it's a totally different driving experience from a Boxster.

Focus more on condition and service records than mileage. I'd take a 60k mile car in nice condition that's been well cared for and has service recs long before a 30k car in so-so condition that's been through a bunch of hands and has no service recs. Buying a later model, higher mileage car from an anal retentive owner (i.e. many people on this list) can be an excellent value.

Remember, it's a buyers' market. Drive lots of cars and be picky. And when you think you've found "the one," spend the money for a pre-purchase inspection (PPI) by someone who knows Boxsters inside and out. That's money very well spent.

Read this site from top to bottom for excellent buying advice:

http://sites.google.com/site/mikefocke2/mikesporscheboxsterwebpages
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Old 08-28-2010, 07:30 PM   #8
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I see you are in Santa Barbara. There are probably 100 Boxsters for sale within 20 miles of your house. So you have lots of selection and can be picky on color, year, features, and price. Don't get stuck on the two that you have seen.

With a budget of $20K, you can easily get yourself a low mileage '03 or '04 Boxster (base or S). There are some worthwhile features added in those years.
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Old 08-28-2010, 07:30 PM   #9
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Let's see. You live in Santa Barbara. If you have a lot of twisty roads or want to drive twisty roads, get the boxster. And I would never get another boxster unless it was an S... and even that will be a little underpowered around town IMO.

Now if this vehicle is going to be your sole daily driver in town and you don't have a lot of twisty roads to navigate, the M3 will have gobs of torque and be a lot of fun as a DD, plus it has back seats and a nice sized trunk. I love my 550i and wouldn't trade it for a boxster as a DD no matter what sized motor the box had in it. It's wicked fast compared to a 2002 box S, and and M3 would be even faster, unless it's a really old one.

Either way, maintenance and repairs on both models will not be cheap. They're German.
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Old 08-28-2010, 07:36 PM   #10
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lol santa barbara being on the PCH I would have to say he has many MANY twisty roads near where he lives. There are some great roads down there and I have a base and I love every minute.
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Old 08-28-2010, 07:42 PM   #11
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Don't forget that some people are so freaking busy at work and home with kids that they'll enjoy a M3 more than a boxster... which they do not have time to go out and enjoy.

That's the point I was making.
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Old 08-28-2010, 09:04 PM   #12
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Thanks so much for the input everyone. I really want a Porsche so I've been steering away from the M's, don't get me wrong, they're fun cars too! But owning a Porsche has always been a dream of mine, and I'm finding it possible right now.

Just to clarify, I'm actually looking for cars in the Los Angeles/Orange County area, but I will be living in Santa Barbara for another 1-2 years while I finish school--Go Gauchos! Whatever car I end up with will be my daily driver.

I've just recently came across 2000 996 as well, 45k miles for $21k, looks very clean. These cars sure are taking a hit on residual value. (good for me )

I'll definitely be test driving the Boxsters as well as the Carrera! If everything checks out with the Carrera, however, I will definitely jump on it. No offense to anyone on this forum, I'm just trying to get the most Porsche for my money.

Would anyone happen to know an estimate of how much it would cost me to have a PPI done from the stealership?

Last edited by hc115; 08-28-2010 at 09:06 PM.
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Old 08-28-2010, 09:18 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RandallNeighbour
Don't forget that some people are so freaking busy at work and home with kids that they'll enjoy a M3 more than a boxster... which they do not have time to go out and enjoy.

That's the point I was making.

and its a good point for sure. I was just commenting on the IF there are twisty roads in his area. no worries I agree with you and a valid point it is!
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Old 08-28-2010, 10:19 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hc115
I've just recently came across 2000 996 as well, 45k miles for $21k, looks very clean. These cars sure are taking a hit on residual value.
Be careful. The early 3.4 engines were problematic.
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Old 08-29-2010, 12:27 AM   #15
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Will do. Thanks clickman.
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Old 08-29-2010, 06:14 AM   #16
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A few thoughts

hc,

1. The 2000 Boxster is way overpriced. If it is dealer certified and perfect Edmunds prices it at about 16K with some costly options. Note ensure the 15K service is done before you buy it.

2. The 2002 S is in the ballpark for a dealer car if perfect (actually about 1-2K high depending on options.)

3. M3s are interesting, but a completely different animal. Not as good in the twisties if stock, but incredible on the highway. The engine is a beast but they had some problems and maintenance is more $$$ than Porsche once BMW quits paying. Gas mileage is terrible if you drive like an old lady you may hit 15 in town and almost 20 on the highway. Driving it normally think 13 and 18 and if you get on it at all 12 and 16. I had an 04 Cab, best highway driver I ever had good but not great in the twisties. Overall I have liked my Boxsters more. M3s are frequently rode hard and put away wet. Get a good pre-purchase check and if possible get a certified one. Final note -- every fast and furious wanna-be with a pumpkin chucker muffler wants to race you (I was in Pensacola, FL at the time.) My wife hated the fact that at about 1/2 the lights some chuckle head was gunning his engine and or beeping his horn trying to get me to race.


A few thoughts on Boxsters. I have owned an 01, 02, 02S, 06, and 09. Currently own an 02 and 09. Get an 03 or later ... too many improvements (rear window, interior, etc.) and a low mileage 04 base or higher milage 03S should be in that range. Gen 2s have many advantages (HP, interior, better options) although some folks think the Gen 1 is better looking and some don't. There is a thread on the board that is all over the looks thing. An 06 Base can be had for about 25K and it is near an older S in HP but not torque. However, the 05 MY had reliability problems (so my dealer says.)

IRT 911 I have lusted after a 911 Cab C4/C4S on many occasions. For 20K it may not be the best DD unless you are a pretty good wrench.

Final note, I am sure you will hear both sides but the Porsche Certified program is pretty solid and can be had for not a whole lot of $$$ (of course it has to be bought from a dealer.) This time of year, if you find a dealer with a lot of used cars on the lot you can strike some deals that will surprise you and get CPO thrown in for $500 bucks or so.

Hope this helps.
Best,
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Old 08-29-2010, 03:52 PM   #17
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Having an 01 I can certainly appreciate what I consider the major improvement of 03/04, and that's the redesigned top with the glass window. (It is easily retrofittable to MY 00-02, if you can find one at a reasonable price.)

As mentioned, once you get into the first model year of the 2nd gen (05), you're dealing with first-model-year issues. If you're trying to keep the cost low, I'd go for a well-maintained (not necessarily low mileage) 03 or 04. S or non-S would depend on how your test drives went. PPI is a must.
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Old 09-15-2010, 02:20 PM   #18
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I want to thank everyone again for their input, it was much appreciated.

I finally pulled the trigger yesterday and bought a car. However, it was not the 986, I found a 545i smg with 33k miles, sports/premium pkg for only 21k out the door!
After test driving the 550i I was hooked on the v8, and then found a deal on a 545i that I couldn't refuse.

I'll be over at the 5series.net forums now, if anyone wants to chat over there, I'm under the same name.

Best regards,

Henry
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Old 09-15-2010, 10:34 PM   #19
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Not a bad choice! The 5 series of that generation are amesome cars. I've had the pleasure of driving a '08 535i with the twin turbo 6, and it is an amazing car in very many aspects. Power is great, and the handling is SUPERB. Steering is razor sharp, takes bumps very well, and body roll seems nonexistent... Fast right hand turns feel effortless... On the street, I find myself wondering if the 535i handles better than the boxster...

Anyone else feel the same way?

Congrats on your 5 series!
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Old 09-16-2010, 06:30 AM   #20
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What an excellent DD you have chosen! I sure do love my 07 550i for driving around town and going to work and such. I even had it at the track this last weekend, and although I wasn't in a run group, I did lag behind everyone by half the track's length in the parade laps so I could really push the car through corners. It handles beautifully for a big heavy sedan. BMW sure knows what they're doing.

Chaudanova, if my boxster's suspension was stock, I'd agree with you completely on handling comparisons. Now when speaking of straight-line acceleration, there's no comparison between the BMW and my boxster. HOLY CRAP the 550i is scary-quick to me on public streets. I would not want an M5 out of a genuine fear it would become the world's most expensive coffin.
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