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Old 04-27-2013, 09:38 AM   #1
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987 2.7 vs 986 2.5 review

Here's my preliminary review between the two, I'll update this with more info.

2006 987 2.7 5-speed vs 1998 986 2.5 5-speed review

1) ACCELERATION: 1st and 2nd feel similar, but 986 2.5 pulls harder in 3rd and 4th than 987 2.7, wouldn't be surprised if 986 2.5 has better quarter in real life. I test drove several 2000-2004 2.7 and they also felt slower in 3rd and 4th

2) MPG: Not that it matters but.... it's about the same with everyday city/highway driving (saint louis), even though the 987 2.7 has a trip computer I've been watching religiously and the 986 2.5 didn't. If I'm really good I think I can get another 1 or 2mpg from it, so maybe 5-10% better mpg than 986

3) STEREO: OMFG THE 987 STEREO IS AMAZING! HUGE improvement. Finally there's some bass, sounds great, the buttons are easier to select, looks modern, etc etc etc. But screen is harder to read in sunlight with top down. I have the base model stereo, whatever that is, I'll check later. I see no reason to replace this stereo, but I do plan on purchasing a FM inline modulator so I can connect a ipod when I finally run out of these old CD-Rs

4) AC/HEATING: NO climate control! Yeah I know, I was shocked and greatly disappointed, just has up and down for heat/cooling and fan. HOWEVER I now have heated seats which are wonderful, top down in 40 degree weather no problem with heated seats

5) HANDLING: seems the same to me, however the 2006 987 comes with Porsche Stability Management as standard equipment. It's amazing in the rain, no matter how bad the roads are or how fast you're going PSM keeps you straight on the road. Those giant puddles on the highway that use to scary me in the 986 are no longer a threat!

6) EXTERIOR: love the headlights, looks much bigger than 986, more modern styling too, and since 981 sales started Summer 2012 (less than a year ago) the 987 still appears to be the newest model to most people.

7) INTERIOR: feels bigger, like in the 986 I would usually rest my left arm over the door with the windows down, but with the 987 it feels like a bit of a stretch, arm can be left on door armrest.

8) IMS: Anyone doing any research on Porsche has heard of IMS failures that total the engine. According to what I've read 2006+ Porsches receive a upgraded IMS, essentially the same IMS Retrofit that LN Engineering sells. I contacted http://www.flat6innovations.com/ before purchasing a 2006 and they said I should be fine. I've also brought the vehicle to Reid Vann and they said it looks good, but I still plan on having the IMS Guardian installed next oil change.

9) CONVERTIBLE TOP: Seems similar to the 986, but it now works at speeds up to ~30mph. It's great having that, especially when it's about to rain

10) TRANSMISSION: The 987 comes standard with a factory short shifter. It will take some getting use to if you are moving from a 986 since the stick just barely has to move to get into the next gear

11) BRAKING: The 987 comes standard with cross-drill vented rotors, and the PSM system on the 2006 987 "precharges" the brakes to achieve better braking

12) AVAILABLE MODS: TPC racing offers a bolt-on turbo kit for the 987, adding ~100whp for $7,500. They offer it for the 2000+ 986 now too but it requires 987 headers and they recommend 987 throttle body.


13) OTHER: The 2005+ 987 has no oil dipstick. From the press release: "Boxster engines feature integrated dry-sump lubrication with two reflow pumps drawing oil from the cylinder heads and with a separate pump supplying oil to engine lubrication points. This setup assures optimum oil supply even under the extreme dynamic conditions of high lateral acceleration. The system also is so precise in monitoring oil that the engines need no dipstick; the electronic monitor measures the oil level and displays the result on the instrument cluster."

More info from press releases:
http://press.porsche.com/archive/products/models/models_2005/boxster.html
http://press.porsche.com/archive/products/models/models_2006/boxster.html

this isn't mine but here's what the interior looks like:


VERDICT:
Should you replace your 986: No, I wouldn't, if it's running fine and doesn't need major repairs I would keep the 986.
New Porsche, buy a 986 or 987: depends on what's important. If you just want pure acceleration and a Porsche, 986 is fine considering they're currently less than half the cost of a 987. If you want more modern styling, engine, PSM, better brakes, better IMS bearing, etc, then 987 is the way to go.

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Old 04-27-2013, 09:53 AM   #2
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thanks for the compare. I like the looks of the 987 so much more! I've got one of the nicest 986's ever but I long for round headlights and the 997/987 interior.Now that I've started repairing mine and have bought a Bentley manual , I'm learning that virtually every year newer means more things that can go wrong, even from my 2001 to 2002! If only I had the money to buy new and sell when the warranty is about to expire!
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Old 04-27-2013, 10:32 AM   #3
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my 2 cents on the 987 styling vs. past and future..

I really like the back of the 987. Even better than the rear of the 981. But the front of the 987 I personally like the least. It has a sort of Japanese character about it. while the 981 seems like a straight copy of the Ferrari California, sort of what I was expecting would come immediately after the 986. From the side I didn't care for the odd shape of the 987 intake. I really don't care for the 981 side intake, seems very gimmicky to me and anything reminiscent of the Carrera GT just reminds you that its not a CGT and frankly shouldn't be on a roadster in the first place as the scale is too small to be that busy.

I guess my perfect car would have a 987 rear, 981 front end, 986 side (or more like the 996 Turbo side).

As for interiors, I literally don't like a single thing about the Panamera interior in the 981. It's like they shoe-horned another car's interior into a roadster. The 986 interior just lacked better quality materials but I think the 1993 concept car design/theme was genius... a sort of bare minimalism like on previous Carreras that was not remotely Audi/VW'esque like the 987/997/991.
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Old 04-27-2013, 12:08 PM   #4
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I'd like a minimalist boxster S with no luxurious at all--a spyder would do nicely. I think about starting with a bare-bones S and then building a track/street car with no HVAC,stereo,power accessories or sound insulation-- no comforts , just pure speed including slammed coilovers and WAY more power- oh , and cayenne (GT2 6 piston) brakes! And then, another boxster that's loaded, comfortable and quiet(like the one I now have ) and IMPRESSIVE. All I need is the money. Maybe a GT3 could be BOTH!
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Old 04-27-2013, 08:11 PM   #5
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I get regular seat time in my mother's '06 987. Here's my take:

1. Acceleration: It feels quite similar to my '04 986, just a smidge peppier due to the increased output. I drove it last a few nights ago and inadvertently made racket off the stop. Oops.

2. MPG: Seem to be about the same, 24-25mpg.

3. Stereo: Oddly, mine sounds better in terms of bass depth. Neither one of our cars has the rear speaker package installed, and with the radios at the same audio settings mine just sounds better.

4. A/C: Hers doesn't have auto climate (I rarely use that feature in mine), equal in terms of output. Hers has heated seats, though.

5. Handling: Equal.

6. Exterior: I prefer the 987's lines over the 986. There, I said it. The panel gaps are much tighter, the revised door handles, and the aluminum frunk/trunk lids are nice touches. Still love me some 986.

7. Interior: Disappointed the center console cannot be removed a la 996 GT3. Room seems improved with better packaging, especially in the driver's footwell. Material quality is a bit higher though some surfaces seem more prone to premature wear than in 986s. Door pockets are narrower and more difficult to use in the 987. The centrally-located spoiler switch is a nice touch, as is the Homelink.
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Old 04-28-2013, 12:25 PM   #6
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But the front of the 987 I personally like the least. It has a sort of Japanese character about it.
I know what you mean. Looks similar to a early 2000s Infiniti G35 or Toyota MR2.



what I don't get is the boxster is ~700 lbs heavier than the toyota MR2 yet they look so similar and are mid-engine RWD. If the Boxster was 700 lbs lighter it would be a beast!
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Old 04-28-2013, 01:04 PM   #7
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Here's the interior of a 2009 987, with the PDK, touch screen, etc., just for comparison's sake. I'm thinking I might like those white gauges.

On the 986: I saw 1998 Boxster the other day, and I was surprised at how nice it was! It's really a pretty car. Since it was my color, I asked the guy about it and apparently he had driven it all the way down from Canada. The paint still looked good, and he says he just washes and waxes when needed.

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Old 04-29-2013, 05:12 AM   #8
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986inquiry, thanks for your review. I suspect that the 2.7's you were testing were running poorly, because upon introduction Porsche's notoriously conservative numbers and all contemporary reviews of the 2.7 determined that it was quicker and that the improved torque (and flatter torque curve) meant that it was mcuh more flexible. Indeed, some reviewers felt that the improvements were greater than the numbers suggested.

The gear ratios in the 2.5 had to be higher than ideal as the engine just didn't pull very well at low RPM's. The increased stroke and improved fuel injection addressed those issues.

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Old 04-29-2013, 05:28 AM   #9
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I test drove a couple of 2.5L models and have to say they were noticeably slower than the 2.7L facelift I eventually bought. I didn't try a 987 2.7L but I cant imagine a 2.5L ever keeping up with one in good running order.

In fact a friend of mine has a 2001 Boxster S and to his disgust, I can keep up with him. He spent a fortune recently replacing spark plugs etc. etc. as he assumed his must be down on power but I still keep up or he doesn't have enough grunt to overtake me if I'm in front. 2.7L engine is often overlooked but I think it's a cracker.
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Old 04-29-2013, 05:50 AM   #10
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Nimbus, that's my experience as well (although in my case, a friend's 3.2 S is quicker than my 2.7). We should also keep in mind that the redline for the 2.7 was increased from 6800 to 7200 RPM's - a 6% increase that also contributes to higher top speeds in each gear.

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Old 04-29-2013, 06:25 AM   #11
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In fact a friend of mine has a 2001 Boxster S and to his disgust, I can keep up with him. He spent a fortune recently replacing spark plugs etc. etc. as he assumed his must be down on power but I still keep up or he doesn't have enough grunt to overtake me if I'm in front. 2.7L engine is often overlooked but I think it's a cracker.
Totally agree; before buying my 986S, I test drove every model I could find, 987 base & S included. the 987 base felt very close to the 986 S in terms of power, and I would have bought one instead if not for the $15 - $20K premium...
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Old 04-29-2013, 06:30 AM   #12
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what I don't get is the boxster is ~700 lbs heavier than the toyota MR2 yet they look so similar and are mid-engine RWD. If the Boxster was 700 lbs lighter it would be a beast!
I used to autocross a Miata and had a few laps in this MR2 (weird sight lines from the cockpit). When you then step into the 986 the first thing you notice is that unlike the other two the 986 acutally feels like a full-sized car and not a tight fitting sardine can. Actually if I'm not mistaken from wheel to wheel the 986 is slightly longer than the 996 Carrera. And of course the cockpits themselves are identical. This may sound sort of weird but in that respect the 986 is kind of big for a traditional roadster.

One of advantage of the earlier 986's was weight. SCCA autox C-stock under ~2,800 lbs, in STR rules allow a drop of another 200 lbs which is just a whisker from a SpecBoxster at ~2,500. Which is why you don't see such a dramatic difference in lap times (and not just "seat of the pants" feel) from a 2.7. And this is before taking any serious lightweight measures that could be applied to a 2.5 like an Optima battery, light weight exhaust/headers, losing 2 cats, cut out the airbox and radio, light flywheel/race clutch, ultra light magnesium wheels and light rotors. Even now after nearly 17 years in bone stock form the 2.5's are practically in the mirrors of a base 987 over a lap.
Or in the case of the light weight Boxster Spyder a well prepared example (tires/suspension) from TC Kline without a single engine modification was able to outlap a modified 997 GT3 with nearly 130 HP advantage. Still the lightest water-cooled Porsche.
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Old 04-29-2013, 07:04 AM   #13
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986inquiry, thanks for your review. I suspect that the 2.7's you were testing were running poorly, because upon introduction Porsche's notoriously conservative numbers and all contemporary reviews of the 2.7 determined that it was quicker and that the improved torque (and flatter torque curve) meant that it was mcuh more flexible. Indeed, some reviewers felt that the improvements were greater than the numbers suggested.

The gear ratios in the 2.5 had to be higher than ideal as the engine just didn't pull very well at low RPM's. The increased stroke and improved fuel injection addressed those issues.

Brad
i owned a 98 and test drove another 98 and a 99, all felt the same. Test drove several 2000-2004 2.7 and two S, 2001 and 2004, and a 99 911. About a dozen porsches within a few months. All the 2.7 felt slower past 60 mph, and the S's were the only cars that felt similar to the 2.5. 911 was in a different league.

maybe all the 2.7's i drove were bad and maybe all the 2.5's i drove were running strong, but from my experience the 2.5 is faster than a 2.7 past 60. Even the 2006 2.7 I purchased does not feel as fast as the 98 IMHO
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Old 04-29-2013, 07:31 AM   #14
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1980s BMW Convertibles - Top Gear - BBC - YouTube

The top gear guys all buy the same 1980's BMW... which turn out to be all VERY different. The difference in power alone was astonishing.

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Old 04-29-2013, 07:41 AM   #15
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The gear ratios in the 2.5 had to be higher than ideal as the engine just didn't pull very well at low RPM's. The increased stroke and improved fuel injection addressed those issues.

Brad
Ratios in the 2.5 higher than ideal? How do you work that out? The 2.5 has nearly 10% lower ratios 1-3. They changed the ratios for the 2.7. So both had ratios to suit the engine, though I'd actually say a 2.7 with the 2.5's ratios would be ideal.

All these cars are great drives and the reality is that there's really not that much in 2.5 through 2.7 and 2.9.

Take 2.5 v 2.7. it's only another 200c and 20-odd hp. Plus the 2.7 has a little more weight to drag around and taller ratios. I'm not saying the 2.7 isn't any faster. But I've driven one and it's not a dramatic difference. How could it be?

I've also compared a 2.5 with a late 2.9, side by side with a rolling start from about 2,00rpm in second through to about 90 or 100mph ish. Think you lot would be surprised at the modest difference in performance. The 2.9 is quicker, but the gap wasn't huge, maybe a car's length by the top of fourth.
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Old 04-29-2013, 08:29 AM   #16
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Excellent thread! I wondered if it would be worth moving up to a 987.

I shall keep saving my dollars and get the 991S I want in 4 years. That will have a sizable power difference over my 2.5!
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Old 04-29-2013, 09:02 AM   #17
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Pothole, you are of course correct re: the transmission gear ratios. When I posted I was thinking of the differential/rear axle gear ratios, where a higher ratio of course means that the engine is revving higher at a given speed. I should also say that I agree that the gear ratios for both the 2.5 and the 2.7 were well-suited to the engines: my reference was to the suggestion that the gear ratios in the 2.5 would be ideal with a 2.7, something with which I disagree. The 2.5, with less torque and a narrower torque band than the 2.7, needed lower transmission ratios and more shifting than the 2.7.

I should also point out that there was virtually no weight increase as between the 1999 2.5 and the 2000 2.7 (about 20 lbs as I recall - although as I have the actual published curb weights for both from Porsche somewhere, I will check and report back if significantly higher). The subsequent base models did increase in weight with the addition of the padded top/cupholders etc. in 2001 and more significantly, the extra top bow, glasss rear window and glove box in 2003.

For the 2000 2.7, as I recall Porsche listed a 0-60 MPH time that was .3 seconds quicker than the 2.5 and the following site shows relative performance in both 0 - 60 and 1/4 mile times.

Porsche 0-60 Times & Porsche Quarter Mile Times | Porsche 911 Carrera 0-60, 944 Turbo, GT2, Boxster S, Cayman R, GT3 and Porsche Cayenne 0 to 60 stats!

This confirms that the 2000 2.7 is .3 seconds faster to 60 MPH and the time differential in the 1/4 mile is nearly 3/4 of a second: 14. 8 seconds for the 1999 2.5 and 14.1 for the 2000 2.7. Not huge, but significant IMO. What is more significant from a driving perspective, however, is the flatter torque curve and its impact on driveability. I'll try to dig up some tests of the 2.7 from back around 2000 by Porsche Excellence magazine, but as I recall the author of one of those tests was the owner of a 2.5. He indicated that, from his hands-on experience in both, the 2.7 seemed closer in performance to the 3.2 than the original 2.5.

The 2.5 is an incredible car, make no mistake about it. However, I believe that it is important that we don't try to get into revisionist history. The changes that Porsche made to the displacement, fuel injection and gear ratios in the 2.7 were done in order to improve both performance and flexibility and, in conjunction with the 3.2 'S' that was introduced in the same year, to answer some of the criticisms of the performance of the 2.5.

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Old 04-29-2013, 09:08 AM   #18
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Excellent thread! I wondered if it would be worth moving up to a 987.

I shall keep saving my dollars and get the 991S I want in 4 years. That will have a sizable power difference over my 2.5!
i wonder what those will be worth in four years..
Porsche have completely lost the plot in their nearly absurd over-pricing of cars.
But I guess Chinese billionaires and Brazilian trust fund babies want to price out the wannabe's. Once the upper echelon of money-dropping no longer want to be seen in a 2 year old car, those 991/Panameras take a frightenign drop in depreciation. Especially the Turbos. These cars will end up losing more value in three years than what a decently maintained 997.1 S will go for now.
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Old 04-29-2013, 09:41 AM   #19
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my reference was to the suggestion that the gear ratios in the 2.5 would be ideal with a 2.7, something with which I disagree. The 2.5, with less torque and a narrower torque band than the 2.7, needed lower transmission ratios and more shifting than the 2.7.

I should also point out that there was virtually no weight increase as between the 1999 2.5 and the 2000 2.7 (about 20 lbs as I recall - although as I have the actual published curb weights for both from Porsche somewhere, I will check and report back if significantly higher). The subsequent base models did increase in weight with the addition of the padded top/cupholders etc. in 2001 and more significantly, the extra top bow, glasss rear window and glove box in 2003.

For the 2000 2.7, as I recall Porsche listed a 0-60 MPH time that was .3 seconds quicker than the 2.5 and the following site shows relative performance in both 0 - 60 and 1/4 mile times.

Porsche 0-60 Times & Porsche Quarter Mile Times | Porsche 911 Carrera 0-60, 944 Turbo, GT2, Boxster S, Cayman R, GT3 and Porsche Cayenne 0 to 60 stats!

The 2.5 is an incredible car, make no mistake about it. However, I believe that it is important that we don't try to get into revisionist history. The changes that Porsche made to the displacement, fuel injection and gear ratios in the 2.7 were done in order to improve both performance and flexibility and, in conjunction with the 3.2 'S' that was introduced in the same year, to answer some of the criticisms of the performance of the 2.5.

Brad
Firstly, my point re using the 2.5 gearbox is that I reckon it would allow the advantages of the 2.7 (including higher rev range) to really shine through. One of the reasons for the taller ratios in the 2.7 is better mileage. And I couldn't care less about that. I also don't care whether I lose 5mph at the top. I'm not doing 150mph too often.

Re weight, the book weights only tell half the story. Apparently the early 2.5s are measurably lighter than later 2.5s, and the 2.7s a bit heavier again.

Also bear in mind that Porsche had planned to release more powerful versions of the Boxster earlier, but demand for the 2.5 was massive, so they held out and cashed in. Yes, some mags criticised it for lacking power, but so what?

I've driven pretty much all the 986/987/981 engine options and they're all fantastic. But are the more powerful cars more fun? Not really.

Anyway, the reality is that the performance difference between the 2.5, 2.7 and 2.9 isn't massive. The new 2.7 is a bit of a step up, but even that isn't in a completely different ballpark.
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Old 04-29-2013, 11:14 AM   #20
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Pothole we are almost in complete agreement - I have not driven a 981, but all of the 986's and 987's I have driven are a blast to drive. I found the early tiptronics to be a bit sluggish for my tastes, but then again, I vastly prefer a standard transmission in a sports car regardless of performance (and yes, if I were to buy a new 981 it would be a standard, even though it is actually marginally slower)! So yes, marginal performance improvements are only a marginal part of the story.

Yes, there were weight increases over the life of the 2.5's as a result of the addition of side air bags and the strengthening of the rear suspension mounting points. Probably not enough to be really noticeable, but likely in line with the differences in weight between a 1999 2.5 and 2000 2.7. So yes, I am pretty sure that a 1997 2.5 would be little quicker than a 1999 (lets face it, racers will spend a fortune to lose 20 pounds off the weight of a car)!

With respect to the gearing on the 2.7, I do however differ from you. As I recall, the fuel consumption for the 2.7 was only marginally better than the 2.5 ( only on the highway and possibly even worse in the city cycle?). Indeed, upon its introduction I don't recall that Porsche even advertised better fuel mileage (but I have original brochures for both the 1999 2.5 and the 2000 2.7, so I can check and report back if I am mistaken).

To me, the improvements due to the revised gearing on the 2.7 have virtually nothing to do with the increased top speed - as you rightly point out, when do we get a chance to take advantage of that? In conjunction with the improved torque curve, however, it does reduce the amount of shifting that is required to optimize performance in the cut and thrust of daily driving and allows one to attain speeds in excess of 100 kph in second gear. The latter can also be important for those who autocross their vehicles.

Cheers!

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