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Old 09-21-2003, 08:06 PM   #1
nes
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to S or not to S ?

I was in the market to buy a boxster, S or not S if fine with me, but would definately prefer the S. whats the difference and is it worth the xtra bucks?
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Old 09-23-2003, 05:50 AM   #2
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More power for one thing

If you can afford it, go for the S, more power for one thing.

Although, I have to say, I am more than happy having a regular Boxster, it still kicks butt.
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Old 09-26-2003, 09:12 PM   #3
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S or not to S....
I am partial not to S since I have a 2k 2.7 986, But I really think it comes down to, do you want to do modifications to your 986. It you just want to take delivery of the vehicle and dont plan on doing anything to it, get the S. However the 'non S' has lots of modifications and in the end can be just as fast or if not much much faster depending on what you do.
Both are nice vehicles, but I figure for the extra price of an S you can go and do many of the same modifications and pick out the parts you want in your 986 and not what Porsche throws in just trying to get it to pass emissions(ie-the 4 Catalytic converters in the US models, European is only 2)
Well I think it is very possible to go into a VERY VERY long chat about the S or non S versions, but just get what works best for you....
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Old 10-31-2003, 06:56 PM   #4
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go for the S if you can.
You can always add mods on top of the S.
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Old 11-04-2003, 07:01 PM   #5
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Believe it or not the regular 2.7L Boxster is better
than the 'S'. The reason is because of the 'S' transmission (tranny). You see the
6 speed on the 'S' is the same tranny from the 996 bolted on. Think about it, the
996 has completely different powertrain characteristics than the Boxster 'S' (50
more HP) and yet they share the same tranny. The 996 tranny just doesn't fit on
the 'S'. On the other hand, the 2.7L has a 5 speed tranny designed specifically
for it and no other Porsche model.

I have collected various quotes regarding the problematic Boxster 'S' tranny
from actual honest people, some 'S' owners, from PPBB. I have been banned from PPBB
for posting this information (some of the admins have an 'S', hehehehe).

Don't fall for Porsche marketing. A lot of people automatically assume a 6 speed
tranny is superior to a 5 speed. Not if the gear ratios are for a different (996)
car!

Also, be sure to read the Excellence magazine article from around two years ago
with an article comparing the 2.7L vs. the 'S'. Their conclusion was the 2.7L is
a better overall buy. The article had this to say about the 'S' tranny:

"And with the base car's slightly longer gear spacing, you're less likely to
shift up to third while driving from light to light - which makes it a bit
easier to drive around town. So in an urban environment, the
base car may be a better pick than the Boxster S, ..."

Yes, in many ways the regular Boxster is a superior car than
the Boxster 'S'. The main reason is the 'S' tranny problem.

If you don't have access to the Excellence article I would be happy to send you a copy
if you send me your mailing address.

Good luck, Another S in S

Here are the quotes regarding the 'S' transmission:

"Drove 6000 miles in 2 years [Boxster 'S'] and the gearing was horrible in
my opinion....I was unhappy with the Boxster 'S'...
The Boxster 'S' should have gotten the 5 speed gearbox of the 2.7..."
-Chris from Germany (CFG)
Admin for 996 board (http://www.funcarsonline.com/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php)

"I prefer the 5 speed over the 6 speed"
-Meredith
An admin on PPBB

"Have to make a comment about the 2.7L, after owning one for 2 years and an
S for 8 months I have to say I wouldn't mine going back to the 2.7. Driving
in the city you couldn't tell the difference, as a matter of fact the
2.7 feels better in the city than the S."
-Shaeetoon(DFW)

"I've own/owned 3 Porsches (01 996, 02 996 and 01 Boxster S). Strangely, the shifter in my
Boxster S is one of its weak points. It feels sloppy, plastic, and it's hard to get into
3rd gear. The dealer service tech tested my car and told me it is typical, and within
normal. "
-Ray Gram

"The gearbox on the S seems mushy, as well as the clutch. The base seemed a lot more
precise. "
-robb in socal

"I still maintain that the 5-spd feels better than the 6-spd. "
-Brian Harrington, 'S' owner

"When I drove the 5-speed it seemed to shifter easier (less balking) than the 6-speed
in the "S"."
-John S

"that was my experience as well."
-al greenborg

"On a test drive of the S 6-speed vs 2.7 5-speed , I loved the S power, could not
tell the difference in brakes but much prefered the 5-speed. It seemed to match the
engine better."
-Iwas There (Toronto)

"but its gear ratios are not particularly well suited to the S' 3.2 liter engine. "
-John Brown of Northern Virginia

Andrew P's observations ('S' owner)
1) Torque delivery in 3rd is lackluster. This isn't a complaint, but I'm used to cars
pulling a lot harder in 3rd. There's plenty of pull in 2nd, but 3rd seems a little anemic.
Having said that, I am faithfully following the break-in guidelines and not taking the
engine past 4200... I have a feeling that the 3rd gear "fun" doesn't start until the 5000
range...

2) The shifter is a little sloppy. I find the throws to be a tad long, but not too long.
It's not spongy (is that a word) like my BMW... it's just... ahh... the best way to
describe it is that the spring that brings the shifer in between the 3rd and 4th gates
while in neutral isn't strong enough. I've missed a number of shifts (fortunately I've
cuaght myself).... It seems that I've been conditioned to work with that spring-load and
I'm just not getting that feedback.

3) The synchros don't always seem to work. I've never "ground" anything, but sometimes I
just can't get it to go into gear (on upshifts). A little bit of double-clutching solves
the problem. I'm not sure what's going on here... hopefully I was just having a bad day...
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Old 11-04-2003, 07:56 PM   #6
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guess i am glad to have a beefed up 5 speed 2.7
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Old 11-05-2003, 03:07 PM   #7
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ah! another wrentch in the decision making process.
How am I to decide to S or not to S?
I guess you have to answer the question, is the additional power worth the crappy 6 speed.
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Old 11-05-2003, 05:21 PM   #8
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Talking Good to hear!

Well, I own a 2001 boxster 2.7L modified too much! (LOL) FVD headers, FVD sport cats, Porsche Tequipment Sport Exhaust System, Evo Cone intake, S-car-go enlarged throttle body... Tomorrow I should recieve a 2001 boxster s 3.2L engine, I picked up for cheap which will be going into the car with all the existing performance parts and the existing 5-speed transmission... I also sent off my ECU today to Germany for being reprogrammed for all this :-) I have been thinking about a 6-speed transmission for future upgrades, but having heard this perhaps the 5-speed in the car will remain forever! I prefer the 5-speed to the 6-speed, based only on comfort... I have only driven 5-speed cars and I have lots of practice! :-)

PorscheBoy (Jay)

This way is much more expensive than buying an S...
But, you built you car for you... Not for a market!
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Old 11-05-2003, 08:49 PM   #9
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To Box Dream and PorscheBoy (and others):

keep two points in mind...

1) The 'S' weighs more than the base 2.7L. The small HP increase in the 'S' is mostly negated by the weight increase. It has been suggested that Porsche and car magazines "punished" the 'S' into eeking out a fraction of a second faster 0-60 time to justify the 'S' model. It has been suggested that Porsche took the fastest of many 'S' 0-60 times and the slowest of many base 2.7L 0-60 times and used those numbers as "official" 0-60 times of the models to justify 'S' price. Never forget the 'S' weighs more than the base 2.7L. That's a FACT.

2) The 'S' has no business having a 6 speed. There's absolutely no need for it and ruins the Boxster driving experience (IMHO). It's just Porsche marketing. Ask any 'S' driver the last time he put it in 6th gear. A 6 speed is only good if the gear ratios are spaced properly for the drivetrain (in this case the 996 from which the 'S' 6 speed comes from). As CFG succintly put it, "The Boxster 'S' should have gotten the 5 speed gearbox of the 2.7..." BTW in case people here don't know, CFG is the admin for the 996 board and is a highly respected and honest Porsche enthusiast in the Porsche message boards communitiy (PPBB included).

I suggest to who ever is thinking of getting a base or 'S' to get the base and do the usual mods to increase HP if you want. Stay away from the 6 speed!
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Old 11-10-2003, 07:58 AM   #10
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this is great data, i was debating trading in my 2.5 for an S just for the power (nothing wrong w my 2.5) except i wish it had more power. but i think i'll stick with it now. either that or get a used 993.
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Old 11-10-2003, 09:18 AM   #11
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I'm happy with the S six-speed

Am I'm the only one happy with the S six-speed. I think is perfect. Will redlining it and shifting it never drops into a rev area where it is to low and the speedranges are awesome.

2th=115
3th=171
4th=~220
5th=250 and topspeed when top up
6th=276

And when cruising you can put the car in 6-speed at speeds less than 80 km/h and enjoy the torque and smootless of the 3.2l S engine.

So explain to me again, why is it wrong ?


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Old 11-10-2003, 07:12 PM   #12
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To Markk

"So explain to me again, why is it wrong ?"

AGAIN, the 'S' 6 speed is the same as the 996 Carrera 6 speed. Same gearing ratios. The 996 has 50+ more HP and different drivetrain characteristics. The 'S' 6 speed was not designed for the Boxster 'S'. The gear ratios are for the 996, which is a different car and has 50+ more HP than the 'S'. Why is this common sense so hard to understand? You obviously have never driven a 5 speed Boxster. Try it some time and you will probably agree the 5 speed is a better match for the Boxster than the 6 speed. After all, the 5 speed was designed specifically for the Boxster and no other Porsche model. Doesn't that make sense to you, that the tranny that's designed specfically by the factory for a car would work better than bolting on something that was designed for another model? If you don't think the 5 speed is better than the 6 speed, I'm afraid you don't appreciate the subleties (and pleasure) of shifting in a Porsche (please read again the quotes I have collected, btw- this is only a partial list, I have not bothered or had the time to save all the pro-5 speed quotes).
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Old 11-12-2003, 11:35 AM   #13
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I've driven a 2.7l 5-speed before I bough the BoxsterS.

Actually I was first given a BoxsterS tip to testdrive and came back "no way". Then I was given the 2.7l 5-speed and was sold.

Ordered the S and few months later testdrove a 2.5 5-speed and an S six-speed with 18" and ROW030. Based on those experiences I made all options on the S final.

So it's a long time ago when I really drove a 2.7 5-speed. And yes it does make sence that the 6-speed tranny wasn't specially designed for the boxster. However that doesn't automatically means its wrong !!!

My experience with the 6-speed is that am very happy with it, without any problems in gear-ratios. I think they are right for the S engine, and IMHO there is nowhere a drop to much / low in revs when you shift.

I'm still open for debate but you have to come up with something more than "it wasn't designed for the Boxster". It's true but than again, that goes for a lot of things. The S-brakes, the front up to the A-style, the crank, etc., etc.


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Old 11-12-2003, 11:49 AM   #14
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> "Have to make a comment about the 2.7L, after owning one for 2 years and an
S for 8 months I have to say I wouldn't mine going back to the 2.7. Driving
in the city you couldn't tell the difference, as a matter of fact the
2.7 feels better in the city than the S."
-Shaeetoon(DFW)


Can't comment on comparison.


> "I've own/owned 3 Porsches (01 996, 02 996 and 01 Boxster S). Strangely, the shifter in my
Boxster S is one of its weak points. It feels sloppy, plastic, and it's hard to get into
3rd gear. The dealer service tech tested my car and told me it is typical, and within
normal. "
-Ray Gram

I don't have any trouble getting into 3rd, never have, never will.
(i hope ;-)


> "The gearbox on the S seems mushy, as well as the clutch. The base seemed a lot more
precise. "
-robb in socal

Can't comment on comparison...


> "I still maintain that the 5-spd feels better than the 6-spd. "
-Brian Harrington, 'S' owner

Can't comment on comparison

"When I drove the 5-speed it seemed to shifter easier (less balking) than the 6-speed
in the "S"."
-John S

"that was my experience as well."
-al greenborg

"On a test drive of the S 6-speed vs 2.7 5-speed , I loved the S power, could not
tell the difference in brakes but much prefered the 5-speed. It seemed to match the
engine better."
-Iwas There (Toronto)

Can't comment on comparison

> "but its gear ratios are not particularly well suited to the S' 3.2 liter engine. "
-John Brown of Northern Virginia

Not very specific


> Andrew P's observations ('S' owner)
1) Torque delivery in 3rd is lackluster. This isn't a complaint, but I'm used to cars
pulling a lot harder in 3rd. There's plenty of pull in 2nd, but 3rd seems a little anemic.
Having said that, I am faithfully following the break-in guidelines and not taking the
engine past 4200... I have a feeling that the 3rd gear "fun" doesn't start until the 5000
range...

Not my experience at all. I really do like 3rd gear in combo with the 3.2l torgue. It's relatively long, top speed in 3rd is about 170 which makes acceleration in the range 100-170 a blast without any shifts. And the 3.2 has more then enough torgue to drive around in 3rd at 40/50 as well. Naturally with these speeds I you floor the pedal it doesn't blast you away and for really fast acceleration you have to down-shift to 2nd, like in every car at this speed. For (more then) normal driving it quite good IMHO without a needed down-shift.

> 2) The shifter is a little sloppy. I find the throws to be a tad long, but not too long.
It's not spongy (is that a word) like my BMW... it's just... ahh... the best way to
describe it is that the spring that brings the shifer in between the 3rd and 4th gates
while in neutral isn't strong enough. I've missed a number of shifts (fortunately I've
cuaght myself).... It seems that I've been conditioned to work with that spring-load and
I'm just not getting that feedback.

The throws could be shorter, I agree. Can't compare to the 5-speed but can compare to my very short Impreza GTT and like that better. Can also compare to other cars like BMW e30 M3, e46 m3 and Peugeot 206gti. BoxsterS 6-speed is not long but it could be shorter, yes.


> 3) The synchros don't always seem to work. I've never "ground" anything, but sometimes I
just can't get it to go into gear (on upshifts). A little bit of double-clutching solves
the problem. I'm not sure what's going on here... hopefully I was just having a bad day...

Didn't have any problems with upshifts. Never double clutch. However I do shift with a "blip" in between gears. Just the way I'm used to shift, especially with down-shifts to the high rev scale
(back to 2nd at 70 or so)



Don't want to start a flame. But most comments up here are from the type "mines better than yours", instead of "this is an genuine issue yours". The ones that are of the last type I simply disagree, I'm sorry.

I am motivated to testdrive a 5-speed next time I visit the dealer though ;-)


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Old 11-12-2003, 07:57 PM   #15
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"Don't want to start a flame. But most comments up here are from the type "mines better than yours", instead of "this is an genuine issue yours". "

Really? You should go back and read the quotes again. Please note that most of them are from current honest 'S' owners or people have owned an 'S' in the past (some had to sell it b/c of the 6 speed, as was the case with CFG)! I should mention that Meredith is an 'S' owner.

What would you say if the 'S' had a tranny designed for a BMW M3? Sure it would work and to you it would probably feel fine. Is it wrong? YOU BET!

BTW- the 'S' having 996 brakes is an entirely different matter. The brakes are not part of the drivetrain. The tranny is a special part of a car, indeed it is the bottleneck between the engine and power to the wheels. If this bottleneck isn't designed specifically for the car you are not going to have optimum power delivery at times (go back and read Excellence magazine's comment about the 5 speed being better for city driving than the 6 speed) and shifting will be less than optimal in general vs. using a tranny designed spefcifically and optimized for a particular car.

You can't say all the shared 996 bits in the 'S' are wrong (for example, head lights, console buttons, seats, etc..) because they are not part of the drivetrain. Nobody has ever complained about the numerous 996 bits in the 'S' except for the tranny. I have heard complaints only about the 6 speed and in makes perfect sense why it's just plain wrong. Great marketing though, I have to admit.

Any way, I am starting to repeat myself and I have nothing new to say. If you are happy with your 6 speed so be it. I do not really care. I am merely trying to warn people who are contemplating buying an 'S' of a problem not widely known because the most widely used boxster board (PPBB) deletes my posts, even though they contain factual and valid points.
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Old 11-13-2003, 03:10 AM   #16
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You make valid points atleast from my perspective....
Its all just a conspiracy!!!!(LoL)
My feeling is that Porsche dropped in a 996 6 speed tranny for the same reason Porsche wont make a factory 986 Turbo....
That would make too much sense and Noone wants to loose out on lost revenue from 996 sales with a 986 better finely tuned and runs circles around their flagship vehicle ;p
...my 2 cents...
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Old 11-13-2003, 02:34 PM   #17
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Hey guys, This is my first posting here on the forum. I just signed up today. I have a 03 boxster "s" that i just picked up in september. It has the 18" carrera light wheels, xenons, bose, and painted roll bars. It is guards red. It is a college grad present and I think I made the right choice. I love it more everytime I take it for a spin. It had 70 miles in Sept and now it has 4200 showing on the odo. As you can see i've been busy. As for my two cents on the tranny, it takes alittle getting used too, but it is a nice box in my opinion. I like it better than my dads 00 bmw m-5. The "s" feels more precise to me and the clutch has a better feel for me at least. I've never driven a regular boxster, so I cant comment on the 5-speed. By the way, the extra money on the carrera wheels was well worth it. They are the best looking factory wheels for the boxster and they save about 25 lbs over the factory 17s.
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Old 11-14-2003, 07:52 AM   #18
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@another S in S:

I really respect your opinion and I'm open for discussion. But I'd like you just to be more specific about the problems. If gear ratio's are wrong you would be able come up with specifics like:

-> shift from redline in gear x to below 5k rpm (variocam turningpoint) in gear x+1

-> shift from gear x to x+1 drops to many rpm's

-> 6th gear is not usable. Top speed is reached in 5th (true for driving topless. Topless it's about 250 redline in 5th, upshift to 6th keeps it there but doesn't pull further. Top up and it goes over 270...)

-> 1st gear is too long and you have to use the clutch too much when pulling away fast

-> feel is bad, long (commented already on that), not precise which makes mis-shifts a regular thing, synchro's are bad/slow when down-shifting, etc.

IMHO I don't have these kind of problems, so I just can't imagine any generic problems with the six-speed. I would like the throws to be shorter, yes, and I would like the box to be a bit more smooth when cold, yes.


Boy, am I motivated to try a 5-speed next at dealer ;-)



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Old 11-14-2003, 08:24 AM   #19
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The S has several upgrades over the regular boxster such as: The brakes from the 911 turbo, 6-speed from the 911 with feels fine to 99% of the owners i've talked to, retuned suspension that is more perfomance oriented, better looking exhaust from the rear i.e twin ovals, aluminum trim around the gauges, a couple other small details, and uhh oh yeah 30 more ponies under the hood that has a much torquier feel and range.
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Old 03-28-2008, 08:03 AM   #20
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Garage
Thumbs up

I love my 2002 S. I think the gearing is setup pretty well for my driving style. I like
to get on it and drive pretty hard. (sometimes my wife feels sorry for it... )
Never had a problem engaging any gears, The gear ratios feel right, and the
car has plenty of power throughout the gear range. Although I do have to
admit, I have only used 6th gear maybe twice in the last year and a half, just
to make sure its still there. Get an "S"
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