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Old 12-18-2010, 03:22 AM   #1
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Why do I need an S and what year

I want a used Boxster and am on a limited budget. I would like to spend around $20,000.

I was told to absolutely get the S for the performance and absolutely get a 2003 or later. What do you experienced owners think? Are these important? I do like as much performance I can get from a stock car. But does the S matter that much and why a 2003?
Steve

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Old 12-18-2010, 03:41 AM   #2
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Steve, never buy a Porsche on a "budget". It's a toy. No one needs a Porsche. Pay cash, and don't finance your purchase.

At the very most you only have about $18K to spend, more like $15K if you are conservative. Why? Because you need to keep back about $2-5K for sorting out your new purchase. Things like tires, updating maintenance, insurance, catching the mod bug. You don't want to become Porsche rich and cash poor. A quality PPI will catch a lot of stuff.....but not everything. You don't want buyers remorse.

Why an "S"? Lots of reasons. Sure more HP. And if you buy a base, and then want more HP's, they are very expen$ive to "add on" and suspect at best.

What do you plan to do with the car? Daily driver? First Porsche? What is your prior sports car experience? Do you do your own maintenance? Is your 401K fully funded? Are your children's college funds fully funded?

Have your house in order, and have fun on your planned purchase.
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Old 12-18-2010, 03:54 AM   #3
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Why an "S" ?

Well said, Flavor987S .. these words of wisdom hopefully will guide Stephan to make a responsible decision on his desire to own one of the best sports car in the planet.
An "S" aside from the added horsepower and torque, especially 03' and up comes with the rear glass instead of the previous plastic.
So if the house is in order, go for the hunt and make sure you buy the best condition/optioned/history of maintenance, and make sure you set aside $$fund for maintenance and repairs... like Flavor 987S said, if you are in a tight budget, this car is not for you... but if you can afford one, you would'nt regret owning and driving one...
Good luck..
thank you,
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Old 12-18-2010, 04:04 AM   #4
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I absolutely agree with all of what Flavor 987S has to say with one exception. Financing isn't all bad, provided that you find a car below market value that you can sell for what you owe throughout the loan, and that you plan to keep the car long after the loan is paid.
As to the "S" question, I've never heard an "S" owner wishing he/she had a base, but there are plenty of folks with the base who wish they had thrown out a bit more for the "S".
As to year, Porsche certainly made each successive year a bit improved over the previous, but in the 986 series, the differences from 2000 - 20004 are not staggering.
One of the best suggestions out there is to find a car with at least 60,000 miles and good documentation of the service. Oil changes should be every 5000 miles!!
The most important question is probably how you are going to use the car. If it's just for top down, pleasure driving, PCA tours, fun rides with the spouse/SO, a well optioned base Boxster would be fine, and probably a bit cheaper primarily because of the tire sizing.
...but, if you have track, DE, autocross, spirited-driving-beyond-the-legal-limits aspirations, or the modification bug, you'll end up with "base-buyer's remorse"
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Old 12-18-2010, 05:33 AM   #5
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Why I want Porsche and answers to questions

Thanks to everyone for their advice and suggestions. I have had 44 cars, not many next to some folks. 3 MINI Cooper S's, one John Cooper Works, a Lotus 7 variant, a modified Miata, and my current daily driver is a 2001 M3. I am just looking for a traditional sports car feel close to the ground, for weekend driving and some short trips. Maybe I'd track it once or twice just to push the limits up to where I am nervous. I am 68 and don't have the vision or reflexes I had as a kid so I would just take the driver's course and enjoy the track for the thrill very rarely. Mostly a weekend car. I have the M3 daily except for snow and ice. Its mostly the low to the ground feel and handling I guess. I have absolutely no mechanical skills and that can be a problem and expensive. That's what happened on the Lotus 7, which always require tinkering. You have to be an engineer or mechanic to own one of those. The Miata was perfect and perfectly reliable, economical, and boring. The MINI convertibles had very poor rear visibility and my wife hated that. I am perfectly content with the M3, so it isn't just performance I want but the Boxster class of car. I have never owned a Porsche. My brother has a 2001 all wheel drive twin turbo 911 and is urging me to try a Porsche. I am also comparing to a Honda S2000.
Short story long. steve
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Old 12-18-2010, 06:36 AM   #6
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Hi Steve!

Looks like a non S Boxster is just fine. People always say you'd look at more power after a while etc etc etc but the base Boxster is a fine vehicle as is. I drove several of those and the fun part is not diminished by "less power". Remember to drive a "slow" car fast can be more fun than driving a fast car slow.
Now, I have an S but that just happened, my car fell into my lap so-to-say and I am very happy. I also do track days all the time and I also mod it and tinker with it, perfect! But that's just me....

For 20 you'll get a really nice Boxster, no question, good luck hunting and do a PPI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Old 12-18-2010, 06:45 AM   #7
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Steve, get in an 03+ model and operate the top a couple of times. Then get in an older boxster and operate the top, being sure to get out, chop the plastic top so it doesn't crack, and get back in the car to complete the top down cycle. Now think about doing this every single time you want to drop the top.

BTW, if it's cooler than 40 degrees outside, forget about raising or lowering the top on an older model with a plastic window until it warms up or you put the car in a heated garage for a number of hours.

That's why you want an 03 or younger car. That glass window is really valuable. The plastic window WILL crack eventually if you don't chop it and keep it maintained with Plexus ... and it will cost your hundreds to replace the window or a grand or more to replace the top.

Of course, you can retrofit older cars with a tiny glass window top that hinders full engine access, but most find this something they do because they've already made their boxster purchase and can't afford to or do not want to trade up to a newer model for this reason alone.

The S motor HP bump in your situation seems like a no brainer considering you've driven an M3. The base model will just feel totally underpowered to you unless you're in an 2010 based model boxster, and even then it might feel underpowered.

Drive a base and S and you'll see what we mean. I sure wish I'd waited to buy an 03S. It would have been sooooo worth the delay.
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Old 12-18-2010, 06:52 AM   #8
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I know I'm late to the thread, but I would go for an S variant because the '00 to '04's basically have all the 911 goodies of the era installed minus the larger 3.4 or 3.6 engines.

Porsche specifically left the larger displacement engines out of the boxster platform due to it becoming a 911 killer. The 3.2 is no slouch in stock format and if you did put some tasteful mods on it like I have, I promise you will love it even more.

I do not mind my plastic back window on my '01 at all. Sure it can be a little bit of a pain to lower the top when the car is a bit cold in the spring or late fall, but once the plastic has become warm after sitting in the sun, I have no worries allowing the top to drop without the infamous "chop" routine...A while ago, I purchased a Smartop device and it was one of the best purchases ever. This allows you to "one touch" the button and the top drops or raises without having to keep the button depressed manually the whole time. Buy a can of Plexus and your golden for keeping the plastic virtually new.

As far as good cars out there, I wouldn't go for a car with high mileage at all....Why, you just don't know how the car's been treated and you face a much more worn out interior / exterior parts.

Call me crazy, but I like pristine models that are as close to perfect as can be with low mileage and not much wear. Mine has just over 20k on it now and I can attest that if I ever sold it, the next Owner would get one hell of a deal.

One discussion on this site you will see over and over is the dreaded engine failure issue known as the IMS. For under 4000, you can have this completely remedied or you can take your chances like me.

My car is a 3rd car toy and only driven on awesome days / nights. If my engine blows, I will put in a larger displacement engine from one of the site sponsors down in Georgia. It's an expensive proposition at around 20k, but I plan on keeping the car for a long time unless some great deal falls in my lap on a new one....and then I still may keep my S due to shear fun factor..

Honestly, I look at my car everyday and even though it's basically 10 years old, its lines still are fresh and appealing. I think the 986 models are extremely clean looking and super agile on the road. Who knows what values they may bring in the long term, but whether it's zero or not, I have more fun on back country roads in this car than I have in any other machine I've driven...And I've driven alot of them.

And by the way....an S model has alot more room than an S2000 Honda, plus it will walk all over it!
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Old 12-18-2010, 07:01 AM   #9
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Owned both a '99 base and an '01S

And had as much fun in the base as in the S. I'm 67 and my reflexes are only marginal.

I distilled what I learned buying both cars and reading the forums for others good ideas into a series of articles on buying a Boxster. You'll learn the good and the bad, model year differences, etc http://sites.google.com/site/mikefocke2/mikesporscheboxsterwebpages

I bought the S only because I totaled my '99 and the insurance settlement combined with the right time of year gave me the cash to buy the '01S. Both cars have been wonderfully reliable.

The one advantage the base has is fewer gears (5 versus the 6 of the S). That and you can put your foot into it longer and harder than you can the S which is a bigger displacement.

Yes every year had improvements, but how important are they going to be in a toy car versus a daily driver. Especially if you are going to be making compromises in your budget for the car. I can see you getting a '01S for $16.5 and a '01 base for $14 if bought right. Add in the best tires at $1.2k or slightly less at $.8k and you have a reserve for anything that can come up. Since you aren't doing work yourself (I do some, farm out others and visit the dealer when only their tools and expertise will do) it is important to have a reserve..these are older cars...even an '03 will be 8-9 years from build.

My '01 cost me an oil change ($120) and tires ($1100) this year. It is in need of a brake fluid flush and a water pump replacement just because of age. The prior year it cost me nothing but gas. Over 5 years, more reliable than my Honda or Acura...better mileage too!

After 5+ years, the way I feel about mine is exemplified in the way I love to go to the grocery store for my wife. She knows it will take a long time because I'm bound to be going to the one on the far side of town and taking the way that winds through rural roads. Got the car out yesterday when the temperatures climbed to 42.
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Old 12-18-2010, 09:54 AM   #10
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What to ask for to avoid big expenses.

I've looked at the numerous threads and I guess I am worried about the price of an engine and other major components if a used car fails. Anything special to look for in service records or visually to avoid major fatal costs after initial purchase?
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Old 12-18-2010, 10:11 AM   #11
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Drive a few and see what you think. I currently drive a mostly stock first gen. 2.5L Boxster and still love the car after 5 years of ownership. All variants have pluses and minuses. With 92k miles my car still runs like new and drives great. I think the 2.5 has the sweetest exhaust note, the best gear ratios and I dislike the plastic rear window. I have driven it pretty fast (135mph at the track ) and really have no need to go faster in a street car.

If my car was totaled today I would shop for another one. I would be pressed between trying an 03-04 Box S or a newer Cay S PDK. I don't really need more power but life is short. So many cars, so little time.
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Old 12-18-2010, 10:15 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephan Silverman
I've looked at the numerous threads and I guess I am worried about the price of an engine and other major components if a used car fails. Anything special to look for in service records or visually to avoid major fatal costs after initial purchase?
Updated IMS bearing retrofit, and regular oil changes every 5k miles are a biggie. I tend to prefer 1 owner cars that were driven and serviced regularly rather than garage queens.
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Old 12-18-2010, 10:57 AM   #13
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I love my 00 S and have no problem being Porsche rich and cash poor. I love cars and decided I wanted to own something nice while being young so I pulled the trigger on one last year. Financially it wasnt the smartest thing to do but, I'm not worried about it.
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Old 12-18-2010, 11:16 AM   #14
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Look at it this way...if it looks like it's been coursed or hot dogged, walk away. Look for one with no more than 60K miles on it if it's your toy. A daily driver would have 20-30K on it with no mods. A one owner with a service history is a big positive but does not guarantee any future problems. I personally like the TIP which translate in less money being spent on clutch, RMS or IMS. TIP owners seem to have less expenses on their ownership over, say 5 years. Mine, pictured here in this email had 62k on it, one owner, absolutely well taken care of and the previous owner was a PCA member. I new I would spend a least $2K on it to do the things a 60K P-car needed and it has only cost me $1500 to take care of the maintenance with $800 being spent on new tires. Do not buy because it's cheap...to me that means this one is costing the owner a lot of money or a lot needs to be spent on it. Buyer beware, always.
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Old 12-18-2010, 11:34 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake D
Financially it wasnt the smartest thing to do but, I'm not worried about it.
Let us know how this plays out for you in about another 20-30 years!
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Old 12-18-2010, 02:12 PM   #16
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I'm in the same position as you and I am shopping for Boxster #4. I can speak first hand of S envy when I bought my first one, a 99 base. Although I do not push the car to it's limits, I just like knowing I have the S version. I'm not terribly concerned with resale or 0-60 times but when I had the base I was always thinking of getting an S. Once I got my 01 S I never really thought about "upgrading." I really enjoyed the car, had zero issues and drove it as much as possible. Right now I am searching for the best bang for the buck and find myself looking at 986 cars. For me, I am looking 02-04. I Find the 04's too much $$ and only one year before the model change to 987. I like the 987's but can't justify the price difference between a 986 and 987 for how I am going to use the car. If I get a 986, 02/03 S and want to "upgrade" it will be next summer and the 987's will be a bit less money at that point. Sure I would love an 09 S but $46K doesn't work for me right now. I have a feeling an 02/03 S is where I will land. It'll be blk/blk or blk/tan and a 6sp manual. Options.....xenon, Bose and heated seats. Anything extra will be a bonus. I am hoping a 40K mile or less car can be had for $17000-18,500.

Good luck in the search.

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Old 12-18-2010, 02:25 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake D
Financially it wasnt the smartest thing to do but, I'm not worried about it.

No worries here. What fun would life be if we only did what we were supposed to do? I applaud young Jake for pulling the trigger on a Porsche. I waited until I was 50 before I got mine. And it's 100% financed, along with my 100% financed Harley Softail and Kawasaki Ninja. Nope, not the smartest thing to do and perhaps a bit foolish, but I wasn't getting any younger.

Up here in Seattle, the season for these toys is over, but I get a big grin when I open the garage and say good night to them every night.


Oh, and back to the OP. Mine's an '03 base (got the '03 for the glass window) but I wish I would have got the S. If you're gonna have a sports car, it might as well perform like a sports car. JMHO
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Old 12-19-2010, 10:04 AM   #18
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I've been eye balling this Carrera 2008 S.....http://orlando.craigslist.org/ctd/2100411403.html
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Old 12-19-2010, 11:50 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flavor 987S
Let us know how this plays out for you in about another 20-30 years!
**************** if I live that long spending 16gs on a Porsche will be the least of my worries. Everyone thinks because its a Porsche it means its super expensive..... especially girls. I find it best to just take them for rides and not to correct them or tell them how much I paid for it...
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Old 12-19-2010, 01:25 PM   #20
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Since you won't be doing the regular maintenance yourself, you may want to look into Porsche clubs in your area to see if anyone would be willing to help you out. Oil changes, replacing brakes, and air filters are pretty easy on this car and not outrageous cost wise.

There's a whole tread that's given to engine failure but my '01 Box (not an S) hasn't seen one day in the mechanics shop since I've done all the regularly scheduled maintenance myself. I LOVE how reliable this car is and it's my daily driver.

Good luck in your search!

One more thing...
Now that the economy is in the pits, people are more willing to let go of their "toys/Boxsters" for much less than blue book. I'm sure good deals are out there to be had.

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