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Old 05-25-2005, 04:47 PM   #1
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Good options for a '05 S?

Hi. I'm new here. I'm considering trading in/selling both my G35 Coupe and Miata for a '05 Boxster S. I recently got to do the Porsche Driving Experience with a 911-owning friend who's other buddy didn't want to go because of bad weather, and of all the cars we drove that weekend I liked the Boxster S the most. A couple of the instructors there even told me they secretly thought the new Boxster S would definitely take the 911 and maybe even match the Carrera S on the track, but I only got to drive it around a short autocross course.

Anyway, I was actually looking to reduce my automobile debt before my Porsche Drooling Experience, so this is a little bit of a reach for me. As such, I'd really want to keep the options down, but I wouldn't want to miss out on anything that really improves the driving experience. The options I'm most interested in are:

Short-throw shifter ($765) - I much prefer my Miata's shifter to that of the 911 I drove for several hours on the track, which had longer, vaguer throws. How much better does this shifter make it? Are there better aftermarket short-throw shifters?

Active Suspension Management ($1990) - I have no idea what this does, but it sounds cool. Doesn't the S already come with a heavily sport-tuned suspension compared to the base Boxster though?

Sport Chrono Package - is it a $1000 stop watch? Does it do anything else that's important?

Sport seats - I love my Infiniti's sport seats but haven't found a Boxster with sport seats to try out. Are they generally preferred by people here? Also, are they lower to the floor? I'm a hair under 6'3", and had to make some modifications to fit in my Miata, but I can get by with the Boxster's standard seats if necessary.

Sport steering wheel - I put a smaller diameter wheel on my Miata and now everything else feels like driving a truck in comparison. I'd definitely get this unless it partially blocks visibility of the gauges or isn't available with stereo controls. Anyone have it?

BOSE stereo - I'm thinking of skipping this and the CD changer option and putting in a MP3 player instead, but I've never gone the aftermarket stereo route before. Is it difficult/expensive to put a stock-looking system in this car? Would I lose a lot of speakers that can't be easily added in the aftermarket if I forego BOSE?

Windstop - effective/needed for this car? I like my Miata's, but wouldn't pay $500 for it.

Hardtop - I probably won't get this regardless, but am wondering if anyone highly recommends it. It looks like a bargain to me in Porsche terms because the Miata's costs the same amount after painting.

I think that's everything. I'm a big fan of Nav systems, but I already have a portable unit that I carry between cars and motorcycle, so I wouldn't get the factory unit. I also prefer the smaller 18" wheels. If I ultimately decide to go with an almost completely stripped S, am I going to have trouble getting a dealer to discount it or even order it at all? I figure I'm already going to be a pain in the ass by trading in 2 cars for 1.

Hope that's not too many questions. I tried a few searches first but was mostly finding statements of ownership rather than reviews. Not that I begrudge you guys your pride of ownership. Any advice on any of the above would be appreciated. Thanks.

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Old 05-25-2005, 05:42 PM   #2
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I have a 2005 Boxster S. I posted some impressions in another thread--should be easy to find. Here's what i can say in response to some of your thoughts though:

Get as many options as you can afford now because it'll be more expensive to add them later. At this point, i only wish that maybe I bought the short shifter, as I feel the throw is pretty-darned long. I haven't felt the short shifter though so I can't say for sure that it's a good thing.

The Boxster S has the exact same suspension as the Boxster. PASM for both of them is the same. So far i think that PASM is not really necessary for around-the-town driving--it is pretty harsh and the stock suspension is already pretty nice. If I were to do it again, I'd still buy PASM, but if my budget had been a little tighter, I might have dropped it.

You need the sport chrono to get the Sport button. The Sport button remaps the throttle to be more responsive. I highly, highly recommend this options, even if the chrono is silly.

I like the standard boxster seats, but I'm skinny. I have a friend that's a little bigger around the chest and he feels like the side bolsters are a bit too tight. Adaptive seats would be nice, but they're really expensive, eh?

Get the best stereo options you can afford right now--aftermarket integration will cost you a lot of money to get right. You generally can't just throw new speakers at a sound system and still have everything balanced correctly. Changing out the head unit would be nigh impossible on these cars too, if you were concerned with keeping the interior looking nice, i think. The BOSE system comes with the windstop, so it's not as bad a deal as it may seem.
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Old 05-25-2005, 06:54 PM   #3
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I would STRONGLY Encourage you to consider a second hand Boxster S.

Its only 22 less hP for $25,000-$30,000 less money over a fully optioned 987 S.
I can't speak to the added Torque of the 987 but I can't imagine that its not a similar difference. Nice...but worth the resale hit?

a 986S will hold resale value much better than a brand spankin new 987S and
after whipping that 986S around the track a few times on Toyo Proxes RA-1's (245 & 275) and GT3 seats, I gurantee you will have a better bang for the buck experience on the track, since economics seems to be a motivation to you.

Also I would wait until they have worked out all the kinks from the 987S before diving in.

ps. I had a 1.8 Miata too and I HATED the notchy sifter. The Boxster gates aren't as tight but when driven properly, are much smoother. I find the longer throw encourages me to be more methodical all around. I tended to get lazy with rev matching and bozo clutching with the shorter throwing 5speed Miata gear box.

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Old 05-25-2005, 07:36 PM   #4
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Here's my 2 cents.

I have yet to see any boxster with the short throw shifter. I'm not sure it's worth the extra $765. It's never going to feel as good as your miata or S2000 for that matter.

PASM seems like it would be a nice feature. I do like that the PASM is intuitive and adjusts to your driving style. If I'm not mistaken, it also lowers the car a bit in sport mode.

Sport Seats are decent. Not as much lateral support as you would like. I would just go with the standard seats or upgrade to adaptive. I didn't notice any difference in the height of the seats but I did notice the full auto seats had better fine tuning adjustability.

Sports Steering Wheel is not too impressive. If you are used to a small steering wheel, than you will be disappointed. I barely felt the difference between the standard wheel and the sports besides the shape. I prefer the classic standard look but for $250 it's not really big deal either way.

It pretty much comes down to what you can afford.

Good Luck.
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Old 05-25-2005, 11:56 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsparkle
PASM seems like it would be a nice feature. I do like that the PASM is intuitive and adjusts to your driving style. If I'm not mistaken, it also lowers the car a bit in sport mode.
I think that if you get the PASM option the ride height is a little lower, but I don't think that putting PASM in sport mode changes the ride height, as that's more a function of the spring/spring perch than anything in the shock valving.
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Old 05-26-2005, 09:12 AM   #6
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Thanks for the responses. Yeah, used makes much more financial sense, but unfortunately the slight restyling and extra power did make a huge difference for me. Plus, the guys at PDE really made it sound like Porsche made the new Boxster S too good, and they're the ones who race for a living. I'd actually wait another year or two for a used '05, but I'm set on the carmon red color, which looks like it only comes up in the national used listings 1 or 2% of the time since the color was added, and that's for all Boxsters, not just the S, which is an even smaller percentage. I was thinking I'd go with white as a second choice, but even those aren't very common. Damn near all the listings are for silver, grey or black cars, with a few guards red thrown in. I figure I could easily go a few years without finding a car configured the way I want anywhere near me. Power, styling, and exterior/interior color are options I'm willing to pay through the nose for, I guess.

As for the rest, it sounds like maybe I should go for a stripped model other than the stereo. eslai, I read your review. Is the sport chrono just for the button that improves throttle response? Wait, there it is right on the website, it says it improves throttle and engine response. Well, I'll be damned. That doesn't sound like something I can live without. And the PASM just controls shock absorber dampening. That I might be able to live without. I'm not sure I like the idea of my handling characteristics changing on the fly according to a computer anyway, I'd rather it be consistent and predictable even if not as aggressively sport-tuned. I'm embarassed to say that I couldn't find this info on the Porsche site before because I only scrolled up-down, not off to the right margin. Was wondering why they were making these things such a mystery.

Thanks again for the advice.
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Old 05-26-2005, 01:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDanger
Yeah, used makes much more financial sense, but unfortunately the slight restyling and extra power did make a huge difference for me. Plus, the guys at PDE really made it sound like Porsche made the new Boxster S too good, and they're the ones who race for a living.
Yeah, everyone I've talked to in the Porsche world, be they dealers, service men, autocrossers or what have all been abuzz with talk about how much better the '05 is. It's hard for me to imagine driving a 986 after having purchased the 987. Not to knock anyone here, of course--I think that's only natural, right--I SHOULD be in love with my car!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDanger
Damn near all the listings are for silver, grey or black cars, with a few guards red thrown in.
Yeah, i went with a REALLY boring color--Seal Grey Metallic is everywhere, but I did it partly because they hold value well as it's a popular color, and it's easier to keep clean than the Midnight Blue that I really really wanted. It's okay, the Seal Grey is VERY pretty...

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDanger
I'm not sure I like the idea of my handling characteristics changing on the fly according to a computer anyway, I'd rather it be consistent and predictable even if not as aggressively sport-tuned.
The second I throw the car into a turn i can tell that PASM has bumped up the shock valving. It's not as unpredictable as they may make it sound. When you're driving straight, it's soft, when you're turning, it's stiff. If you want the best handling car, then PASM is worth it. If you're not going to drive like a dummy though, it's not really a big deal, IMHO.

But if you feel like you may regret not purchasing it down the road, you might as well throw the option on. Definitely take a standard and a PASM-equipped car out on back-to-back test drives!
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Old 05-26-2005, 08:04 PM   #8
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The improvements on the new 987 are dually noted..however it seems all the performance perameters can be met with a 986 S that is correctly equiped with the right aftermarket parts. Put bilstein PSS9's on a 986 and it will handle every bit as good as a 987. Throw on a good set of headers and cats with some slight intake mods and the 986 S owner will have about 280hp. Unless someone absolutely has to have the new interior(or the newest of anything for that matter) it still makes more sense from a economical standpoint to buy a new untitled 04 S for around 45k-50k and spend roughly 5k more for the mods I mentioned.
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Old 05-27-2005, 12:19 AM   #9
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That's the argument for buying any used car though. You can always look to the aftermarket.

Seeing as how I've played in that realm quite deeply before though, I can say that the aftermarket can also suck. Sure, you could throw nice suspension work at the 986, but it won't ride as nice as the 987 with PASM. You can throw on headers and hi-flow cats and pop in a looser air filter, but then you've got a louder car with a completely different torque curve than a 987, one that may also potentially fail smog tests (California is harsh).

Then there are those that just don't want to even come close to messing with their cars.

But you're talking about finding a new, untitled '04 986. In that case, why would you want to buy it and pump it up to $50,000-$55,000 with mods when the base 987S starts at $51,000? Does it really make sense for someone to take the resale hit on a purchase like that?

One of the things that people care the most about (as far as cars are concerned) is how their car looks. If someone has fallen in love with the 987 body style, I doubt there's much that can be said to convince them to buy a 986 instead, eh?

Last edited by eslai; 05-27-2005 at 12:22 AM.
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Old 05-28-2005, 02:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eslai

But you're talking about finding a new, untitled '04 986. In that case, why would you want to buy it and pump it up to $50,000-$55,000 with mods when the base 987S starts at $51,000? Does it really make sense for someone to take the resale hit on a purchase like that?

One of the things that people care the most about (as far as cars are concerned) is how their car looks. If someone has fallen in love with the 987 body style, I doubt there's much that can be said to convince them to buy a 986 instead, eh?

I know what you mean...and I'm not saying one way is any better than the other. I'm just telling the other members of the board there is more than one way to crack an egg. Emmisions are important to some people in some states but I could care less about emmisions here in rural IL. Yes, you are right about not being able to recoup the cost of the mods put on the car....but you are taking a depreciation hit as well for every mile you put on the 987 and for every minute that goes by. In a couple years your car will be worth about 10k less than what you bought it for. And not to split hairs, but I'm pretty sure a 987 S starts at about 53k not 51k....on top of that the majority of 987 S's out there sticker at close to 60k not 50k.
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Old 05-28-2005, 05:00 PM   #11
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" In a couple years your car will be worth about 10k less than what you bought it for."

Likely a bit higher on the depreciation estimate.
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Old 05-28-2005, 08:09 PM   #12
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Yes definately. I was being on the conservative side.
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Old 05-30-2005, 12:26 PM   #13
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Yeah, after doing some research it doesn't look difficult to find 2004 Boxster S's with 5k miles or less at $10k or more below sticker. Even if I have to ship the car from San Diego to Boston (or better yet, fly out and drive it back) to get the configuration I want, I'd come out way ahead. I think based on that I'm going to wait until at least next winter to see how the 2005's depreciation shakes out. So I guess I'll talk to you guys again then. One last question: does anyone happen to know if that all-important Sport button (with the chrono pod) can be added at the dealership? It's similar to putting a new computer chip in the car, right? Thanks again.
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Old 05-31-2005, 09:08 PM   #14
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I know what you mean...and I'm not saying one way is any better than the other. I'm just telling the other members of the board there is more than one way to crack an egg. Emmisions are important to some people in some states but I could care less about emmisions here in rural IL. Yes, you are right about not being able to recoup the cost of the mods put on the car....but you are taking a depreciation hit as well for every mile you put on the 987 and for every minute that goes by. In a couple years your car will be worth about 10k less than what you bought it for. And not to split hairs, but I'm pretty sure a 987 S starts at about 53k not 51k....on top of that the majority of 987 S's out there sticker at close to 60k not 50k.
Oh you're right, sorry, $53,000 or so. But my main point is, if you buy a new '04, you're taking a two-model-year depreciation hit immediately, then pumping it up with mods. I'd rather just buy the 987.

Most of the 987's out there sticker at close to 70k, actually--that's why I ended up ordering one...and yeah, it came out close to 60. Still, for that, versus a modified '04? Well, I'd take the former, definitely!
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Old 05-31-2005, 09:10 PM   #15
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One last question: does anyone happen to know if that all-important Sport button (with the chrono pod) can be added at the dealership? It's similar to putting a new computer chip in the car, right? Thanks again.
Not a bad idea at all to wait for a little while and buy a little used! As for adding the sport chrono option after-the-fact, don't even bother. It'll cost more than it's worth--just find one with the sport chrono--it won't be hard!

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