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Old 05-24-2013, 10:17 AM   #1
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Front styling - 981 Boxster vs. Cayman

Has anyone else noticed the differences in the front-end styling as between the new 981 Boxster and Cayman? Frankly, I think the changes to differentiate the more recently released Cayman are retrograde: to my eye the bulges for, and the tetrahedron shape to the air intakes (and the round running lights) seem incongruous, clumsy and old-fashioned. I know, they are attempting to market the Cayman as a different car than the Boxster.... I know, they need to do something more than adding a few HP to justify the price increase over the more-expensive-to-produce Boxster convertible.... But really????

The radiators are identical so there is no mechanical reason for the change. Yes, the Cayman has more precise handling because, as a hardtop, it has substantially more torsional rigidity. However, this is inevitably the case as between convertibles and hardtop versions of the same car. Take note that there is no difference in front-end styling as between the new 991 cab and hardtop - of course, the 991 cab costs more (as it should), so they are not playing games by pretending that the hardtop is a different and more valuable car.

Porsche's approach here is equivalent to the minor styling changes that were used for years by the American automotive industry to justify rebadging the same car in order to get a higher price in one of the company's more 'upscale' nameplates. Like turning the Chevrolet Camaro into a Pontiac Firebird (although at least, for a time, they had different engines). No, maybe its more like the changes that were made to turn the Dodge Caravan into the Chrysler Town and Country (and at least they had different trim levels). Incredibly cynical marketing.

Brad

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Old 05-24-2013, 10:24 AM   #2
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Yes, the Cayman has more precise handling because, as a hardtop, it has substantially more torsional rigidity. However, this is inevitably the case as between convertibles and hardtop versions of the same car. Brad
One of the magazines did a Boxster Spyder v. Cayman R with a pro ALMS driver behind the wheel of both on a very tight karting track. The Boxster Spyder was faster over every lap and the driver, forget his name, said the Cayman R was much more work to manage the still slower lap time. The Boxster Spyder was a point and shoot breeze he said.

So I'm not so sure about the more precise handling bit. Perhaps the weight up top negates the rigidity.


I also remember another Magazine test where a Boxster Spyder manual was faster than a Cayman S PDK from the first lap on. And of course there was the TC Kline Boxster Spyder that without any engine/exhaust mods was lapping Laguna Seca faster than modified 997 GT3's and took FTD for each day it ran.
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Old 05-24-2013, 10:32 AM   #3
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You may be right on all that but I'm absolutely in love with both cars. The cayman's round lights are one of it's trademarks I guess, but I think they're 'retrograde' too. I guess the 'marketing geniuses' decided the Cayman should cost more but I'd expect a convertible to cost more. I really need one of each to be content- my hardtop-only days are over!!
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Old 05-24-2013, 10:49 AM   #4
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Perfectlap, I haven't read that test - was it between the 987 Boxster Spyder and Cayman R? In any event, in early tests of the new Cayman, Porsche has been claiming superior handling and note that the torsional rigidity is something on the order of 50% higher (or some incredible number) compared to the new Boxster. I can't honestly say that I have read a back to back test between the two (nor have I driven the new Cayman). If you are right, then it just makes Porsche's marketing even more cynical (if not downright dishonest).

And Woodsman, I love both cars as well - alhough I still prefer the front styling of the 981 Boxster to the 981 Cayman. Even if others prefer the front styling of the Cayman, again, does it justify a significant price inrease for the Cayman over the Boxster? Or is it, as I suggest, change for the sake of change in order to market them as different cars?
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Old 05-24-2013, 11:01 AM   #5
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The ALMS driver test was 987 Boxster Spder vs. 987 Cayman R. very closely matched.
Boxster Spyder was quicker and easier to drive. I was surprised.

But I was more surprised by the manual Boxster Spyder going faster than a 987 Cayman S on PDK. I think the test was the road set up at Fontana or Homestead. If it were a PDK Boxster SPyder against the PDK Cayman S I'm sure it would have been a walk.

p.s.
I think the 981's are the best looking front end of any water-cooled Porsche to date.
They finally look like cars that match their inflated price tags. The gimmicky Carrera GT side intake I can totally do without. Panamera interiors on these cars will probably never grow on me either.
But fast is fast.
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Old 05-24-2013, 11:20 AM   #6
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Excellence :: Open and Shut Case: Track Test : Cayman R vs. Boxster Spyder
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Old 05-24-2013, 11:24 AM   #7
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PERFECTLAP, have you seen the front of the new GT3? I love it want one BADDDD
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Old 05-24-2013, 11:28 AM   #8
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A 0.6's gap was bigger than I remembered. That's big on a karting track.
That venue was a very good call by Excellence as it keeps it to a contest of grip and handling and not engine/aero. Although the difference in the latter was not huge. And the driver selection took "the driver doesn't know what he's doing" out of it as well.

Boxster FTW.
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Old 05-24-2013, 11:35 AM   #9
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Thanks for that, Blue2000S and Perfectlap. I was referring, of course, to the new 981 Boxster versus Cayman and Porsche's claims about their respective merits. I don't have the mags in front of me, but I believe there is reference to it in the test in Issue#210 of Excellence on the new Cayman S called 'Porsche's Best', or some such thing. Alternatively, it may have been in other tests of the new Cayman - maybe in a recent Motor Trend, or....

Perfectlap makes a very good point, however. Maybe the lower center of gravity in the Boxster (or at least, the Boxster Spyder with its erector set top) make up for the improved torsional rigidity and the slight increase in horsepower on the new 981's as well. I don't recall Porsche trying to claim that the Cayman handled better than the Boxster in the past, but they are now. And this may be nothing more than smoke and mirrors......
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Old 05-24-2013, 11:36 AM   #10
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PERFECTLAP, have you seen the front of the new GT3? I love it want one BADDDD
I want an automatic Porsche GT3 as my daily driver too

That car is going to sell like hotcakes to a much wider audeinece without three pedals.
And its going to blow the doors off all the previous GT3's on laptime. We're going to have
quiet a few over-night Ayrton Sennas at the local Porsche DE's.

I was looking at some studio renderings of the 997 and 991 profile. one was overlayed directly over the other. The angles are nearly exactly the same, the only difference being that they extend further to accomodate the wider/longer proportions of the 991. Which gives it a flatter look, less of the trademark fender hips. But since this car is all about the N-ring laptime and drag coefficient trumps reduced weight all day long, that car is going to end up looking like a Omega fish oil capsule before the decade is out.
The car designers have been reduced to tinkering with the look of the headlights, fog lights and side markers...everything else is up to the CAD software or whatever these engineers use now.

great comparison pic:
I wonder if placing the mirror lower so that its on the door instead of the pillar produces less drag.
http://www.themotorreport.com.au/content/image/2/0/2012_porsche_911_gt3_spy_photos_08_1-0924.jpg
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Old 05-24-2013, 11:44 AM   #11
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I don't recall Porsche trying to claim that the Cayman handled better than the Boxster in the past, but they are now. And this may be nothing more than smoke and mirrors......
Those guys are FOS in my book. They are always trying to create some hierarchy that fits their marketing/revenue plans while the time sheets and pro driver feedback tell another story. For instance, in the 981 Cayman vs. 991 Carrera, Walter Rohrl says he'll take the Cayman no explanation necessary. He must not have gotten the memo.
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Old 05-24-2013, 12:11 PM   #12
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Chassis rigidity is a good thing, but does not make a car faster in and of itself. Above a certain minimum threshold, there is greatly diminishing returns.
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Old 05-24-2013, 12:42 PM   #13
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Exactly, Perfectlap. And SWilson, I am not saying that torsional rigidty makes a car faster in and of itself (although unless it adds weight, I don't see it ever hurting). Unless a car is very 'bendy', the impact on braking/handling will be marginal on flat, smooth roads. Where increased torsional rigidity is particularly helpful is on on irregular/bumpy surfaces - it allows the suspension alignment (and as a result, tire contact) to remain more precise than in a car where the structure to which the suspension is attached, flexes. This improves steering accuracy, turn in and, in some cases, even the size of the contact patch.

Lets face it, proper suspension alignment is very important in maximizing your car's handling capability. In this connection, small variances at the mounting point for struts and control arms etc., can be amplified over the length of the strut or control arm, resulting in significant misalignment in extremis from factory specs.

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Old 05-24-2013, 12:51 PM   #14
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Yes, the Cayman has more precise handling because, as a hardtop, it has substantially more torsional rigidity. However, this is inevitably the case as between convertibles and hardtop versions of the same car.

Brad
I always wondered about the torsional rigidity and the impact it might make on handling and how a solid roof structure could play a roll.

Seems to me that the rigidity bars people are putting in their cars are between the Coil/shock towers which makes the lateral areas more rigid to maintain tire/road geometry and hence the settings made to the alignment etc.

Torsional rigidity is the twisting of the frame which would deflect maybe 1/8" ??? between the front and back tires in extremely harsh cornering.

If it was even this much I would expect to see cracking paint on the body and stress blemishes in the under body, perhaps cracks in the steel eventually etc.

This might result in a 1/8" difference between the front and rear lateral alignment so the Camber might change by 0.3 degrees (Yes I calculated it)

So is 0.3 degree camber change on occasion really going to make any noticeable difference at all ???

Also I don't see any Boxsters being scrapped due to cracked and broken steel bodies.

Just enough truth to be a fact for a salesman to use, but not enough impact to actually manifest itself in any noticeable way to the driver?


I'd say that any noticeable handling differences are due to the differences between the coils/shocks and wheel geometry and parts more than anything else.
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Old 05-24-2013, 04:25 PM   #15
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I am not saying that torsional rigidty makes a car faster in and of itself
Understood, I was just trying to explain why a "50% stiffer" chassis may not translate to better track performance. Overall chassis stiffness is not only about maintaining pickup point locations, but more about roll stiffness distribution. We tune a cars understeer/OS balance by changing the F/R roll stiffness via roll centers, springs, and bars. If the front and rear suspensions are connected by a wet noodle, it won't matter how stiff a swaybar or spring you put on one end, it won't translate to the desired change in balance. The required chassis stiffness is directly related to the difference between the front and rear roll stiffness. A stiff chassis is also much more responsive to suspension tuning.
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Old 05-27-2013, 07:09 AM   #16
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Agreed, Stephen. And jb, this flex is precisely why people install strut braces. As to paint failure, the original Mustangs had a very bendy chassis - precisely why Shelby installed underhood cross-bracing. However, even hopped-up V8 Mustangs without the bracing did not suffer cracks and paint failure.

Anyway, this thread was in reference to styling differences at the front of the 981 Cayman versus the Boxster - and my belief that they are done solely to make it APPEAR to be a different car, justifying a significant increase in price over a car that is actually more expensive to manufacture. The overplay of the value of increased torsional rigidity is probably just another example of cynical marketing.

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