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Old 09-03-2014, 03:00 PM   #1
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DILEMMA: E85 Z4 3.0i or 986 Boxster s?

Hi all,

I'm in a dilemma right now trying to choose between an e85 z4 3.0i (2006 and newer) and a 986 porsche boxster S (2001 and newer). I'm sure some of you guys have had similar thoughts while choosing your boxsters, so I thought I'd ask for some input.


Below are the factors for my considerations (both prices are relatively the same):

Z4 3.0i (2006 and newer)
PROS - newer, nicer interior and exterior
CONS - not as fast (but fast enough), no premium sound, not as much luggage room

Boxster S (2001 and newer)
PROS - it's a Porsche, faster/bigger engine, premium bose sound, this is the S (or in BMW terms "M") version, has more luggage room
CONS - older, interior looks outdated, no cup holders (!), more difficult/pricey to maintain, never owned a porsche so not too familiar with typical symptoms

Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-04-2014, 02:01 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by basuni90 View Post
Hi all,

I'm in a dilemma right now trying to choose between an e85 z4 3.0i (2006 and newer) and a 986 porsche boxster S (2001 and newer). I'm sure some of you guys have had similar thoughts while choosing your boxsters, so I thought I'd ask for some input.


Below are the factors for my considerations (both prices are relatively the same):

Z4 3.0i (2006 and newer)
PROS - newer, nicer interior and exterior
CONS - not as fast (but fast enough), no premium sound, not as much luggage room

Boxster S (2001 and newer)
PROS - it's a Porsche, faster/bigger engine, premium bose sound, this is the S (or in BMW terms "M") version, has more luggage room
CONS - older, interior looks outdated, no cup holders (!), more difficult/pricey to maintain, never owned a porsche so not too familiar with typical symptoms

Thanks in advance!
Cant hold back when I say if a lack of cup holders is a deciding factor when buying a sports car you may want to rethink some things

Best thing you can do is test drive both of them. Set up test drives for both cars on the same day so you can really get the best comparison.
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Old 09-04-2014, 02:10 PM   #3
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Drive them both, I did & the answer was obvious to me. If that doesn't provide your answer there's a good chance the BMW will be more reliable & cheaper to maintain in the short term. Long term maybe not. How the Boxster has been maintained by previous owners will determine that.
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Old 09-04-2014, 04:13 PM   #4
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Well...if you think the boxster has an outdated interior then do all future boxster owners a favor and buy the bmw. The boxster is one heck of a sports car. Handles like nothing out there. No comparison if you ask me. And my boxster has cup holders too...not that I care.
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Old 09-04-2014, 04:30 PM   #5
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I have an 2007 e86 M. I truthfully like my old 2000 boxster S better. Not as fast, but way better balance and far more fun to drive on a regular basis.
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Old 09-04-2014, 05:06 PM   #6
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The way the doors sound when you close them...trust me compare them.

Z4 = clunky, loud, empty, tank-door-closing sound...if tanks had doors

Boxster = quiet, crisp, doesn't sound hollow, just a smooth latch and thats it

Call me crazy, but I think this one small instance highlights the over-arching difference between the two companies, attention to detail. They are both great cars, but all of the little loose ends here and there aesthetically (and sometimes functionally) are semi-fixed in the boxster.
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Old 09-04-2014, 05:58 PM   #7
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it's going to be your car. My opinion shouldn't really matter. Remember, this is a Porsche forum . We're obviously biased....
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Old 09-04-2014, 06:44 PM   #8
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I couldn't help but get a chuckle out of the "no cup holders" listing.
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Old 09-04-2014, 07:24 PM   #9
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When I was shopping, my buddy said "go drive the cheapest used Porsche and then the most expensive Z4 you can find." - Did exactly that and there was no comparison. Porsche drives better, sounds better, feels better. And it's a Porsche! BMWs are all over the place. How boring is that!
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Old 09-04-2014, 07:33 PM   #10
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I also laughed out loud when I read about the cup holders.

Buy the Z4.
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Old 09-04-2014, 08:33 PM   #11
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Sounds like you're a Z4 type guy.
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Old 09-04-2014, 08:58 PM   #12
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I've leased/owned Z3's and 2 different Z4's...including a '07 Z4MC and '11 Z428i

My '02 Boxster S smokes them all. The Z4MC is a crazy awesome car...but really ment only for the track. Boxster has a better balance of real-world driving.

Boxsters are stunningly simple to work on. If you are at all handy with a wrench...don't hesitate. I have to say about the easiest car to work on I've ever had.
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Old 09-04-2014, 10:55 PM   #13
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I've never understood the knock against the 996/Boxster interior.
Some say its outdated but is a 928, 911, 964 or 993 interior "current"?
The Boxster interior is that minimalist space between and old 911 and the move towards more Audi/BMW/MB
Luxury sedan interiors that came after the 996 and 986.
I wish they would have continued that design theme.
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Old 09-05-2014, 05:12 AM   #14
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If you're a big guy I would stay away from the Z4 - you'll look ridiculous driving it. The guy across the street has one and he's pretty big - I'd say abut 6'2" with broad shoulders. I grin every time he goes by because he look like a circus bear driving a miniature car.

The really funny part is that he was going to buy a Boxster but I bought mine a couple of weeks previously and he didn't want to be "samesies".
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Old 09-05-2014, 05:17 AM   #15
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I would go with which ever has been maintained better and has more features. Definitely do not over look things such as seat heaters, cruise control, tirp computer, or a built in navigation system.

The more you're on these forums the more you will get paranoid about the boxster. Many say 2000 - 2004 were the worst years for Porsche...
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Old 09-05-2014, 08:33 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by dbansal View Post

The more you're on these forums the more you will get paranoid about the boxster. Many say 2000 - 2004 were the worst years for Porsche...


I think that depends on the owner. I've been here for a decade now and I'd this forum has provided solid technical information to give an owner a rational view of the things you can do and the things that are beyond your control. A big part of avoiding paranoia is knowing the car's history. If you buy an enthusiast owned car you'll be in much better shape than simply jumping on a mysterious Porsche that grabbed your attention primarily because it met x price expectation.
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Old 09-05-2014, 08:46 AM   #17
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I sold BMW's for over 10 years and have owned many since then, new and old. In March we bought a 12 year old Boxster S and I have more positive comments and more fun driving it. As Gilly says a Porsche is a Prsche an BMW is lots of things some brilliant others less so.
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Old 09-05-2014, 09:23 AM   #18
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I think that depends on the owner. I've been here for a decade now and I'd this forum has provided solid technical information to give an owner a rational view of the things you can do and the things that are beyond your control. A big part of avoiding paranoia is knowing the car's history. If you buy an enthusiast owned car you'll be in much better shape than simply jumping on a mysterious Porsche that grabbed your attention primarily because it met x price expectation.
Yes, that also all depends if you're a proactive vs. reactive kind of person...but completely agree with you.
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Old 09-05-2014, 09:37 AM   #19
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Personally, I feel the seating position is better in the Boxster than the Z3/Z4 series. I'm not a fan of long front end and sitting so far in the back of the car especially when driving briskly. The rotation of the car just feels so exaggerated in the Z series.
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Old 09-05-2014, 11:00 AM   #20
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First, you're asking if you should buy a BMW or a Porsche on a Porsche forum. Expect most everyone to tell you not to buy the bimmer and the boxster is better.

You forgot to add a bunch of CONS for both the Boxster and the BMW.

BMW Cons: Oil Leaks oPlenty and suspension parts (control arms and struts) go out at 70k miles or so. Coil packs go out around this time too. It's atrocious how crappy the parts are on 2005-2010 BMWs. (I owned a 2007 550i so I know what I'm talking about).

Porsche Cons: Do a search on this forum. There are plenty so I won't waste space telling you about them.

My ex-bimmer mechanic told me to budget $2000 a year for BMW ownership if the car is out of warranty. He said you may drop $6k in it for two years then nothing for four or five more, but it equals out to $2k a year on average.

My boxster has not cost me nearly as much on average per year, although it was a first year car and early production to boot and has had a whopping number of things go out on it due to poor build quality.
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