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Old 10-19-2014, 02:41 PM   #1
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Does the 986 suspension lose the test of time?

As we all know, car technology is always evolving. How does the 986 suspension and cornering stand up against today's cars? Is the run-of-the-mill Ford Focus or Mazda MX5 (for example) of today as good as or better than our old Boxsters? I hope not...

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Old 10-19-2014, 03:27 PM   #2
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To do a fair comparison, you would have to compare a brand new unused 986 car with an equivalent alternative - you couldn't pit a 14 year old used suspension setup against a new competitor.....
One of the biggest improvements (according to the experts) is the latest adaptive suspension systems (PASM in Porsche speak) compared to the 986 passive suspension with analogue dampers.
We wont talk about quality aftermarket suspension systems vs off the shelf products, but comparing standard Focus or MX5 damper and spring combo with (say) Ohlins / Eibachs / Bilsteins would not be an objective comparison.....
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Old 10-19-2014, 03:44 PM   #3
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I don't know any run of the mill cars that are equal. The new 981 is still much the same. The overall suspension is the same the geometry is a little different. The electronic systems have taken some big steps though.
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Old 10-19-2014, 04:18 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by clickman View Post
As we all know, car technology is always evolving. How does the 986 suspension and cornering stand up against today's cars? Is the run-of-the-mill Ford Focus or Mazda MX5 (for example) of today as good as or better than our old Boxsters? I hope not...
Most new cars still use either double-wishbone or Macpherson suspension, unless you're talking about the new Maclarens that do not use swaybars.

2012 McLaren MP4-12C: Suspension Walkaround
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Old 10-19-2014, 04:24 PM   #5
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This may not be what you want to hear but the run of the mill Mazda MX-5 has always had a better suspension design than the Boxster. The MX-5 has dual front wishbones whereas the Boxster has the cheaper to manufacture and poor camber curved front MacPherson struts. Given the same power and rubber, a MX-5 can hang with or possibly beat a 986 in the corners (depending on driver, tires, wear/age of the components, etc).

This is a good description of the two suspension designs and their benefits/drawbacks: Comparison between MacPherson & Double Wishbone Suspension System
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Old 10-19-2014, 04:26 PM   #6
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You may not want to know this but the run of the mill Mazda MX-5 has always had a better suspension design than the Boxster. The MX-5 has dual front wishbones whereas the Boxster has the cheaper to manufacture and poorly camber curved front McPherson struts. Given the same power and rubber, a MX-5 can hang with or possibly beat a 986 in the corners (depending on driver, tires, wear/age of the components, etc).

This is a good description of the two suspension designs and their benefits/drawbacks: Comparison between MacPherson & Double Wishbone Suspension System ~ Mechanical Engineering
Well...

Supercharged Mazda MX-5 (Miata) MK2 vs New Porsche Boxster track battle - YouTube
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Old 10-19-2014, 04:37 PM   #7
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Same power, but not necessarily the same rubber. Those MX-5 tires look pretty skinny compared to the Boxster's. They should have been careful to match the tire brand/model and width between the two cars.
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Old 10-19-2014, 08:41 PM   #8
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Same power, but not necessarily the same rubber. Those MX-5 tires look pretty skinny compared to the Boxster's. They should have been careful to match the tire brand/model and width between the two cars.
True, but doesn't the Maita have track day oriented tires plus it weighs a bit less thean the Boxster? Either way the Miata does well against a car that costs considerably more. Not so sure that 1.8 with a supercharger on it is going to last too long.
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Old 10-20-2014, 09:44 AM   #9
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I bought my Boxster because of how it corners including how it FEELS while doing so. I've driven a lot of cars and never found another that has what the Boxster has: rear weight bias with a lower polar moment ( mid-engine, short wheelbase- giving the car outstanding transient response or an eagerness to change directions RIGHT NOW! ), extremely low center of gravity(flat 6, canvas roof), world class steering, Porsche- spec brakes, aluminum undercarriage( try using a magnetic trouble light!),fat wheels and tires, leather interior...
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Old 10-20-2014, 09:54 AM   #10
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Comparing hardware and stats only gets you so far- my car has Soul....

....and yes I've driven a few Miata's including a Mazdaspeed.
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Old 10-20-2014, 10:46 AM   #11
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As we all know, car technology is always evolving. How does the 986 suspension and cornering stand up against today's cars? Is the run-of-the-mill Ford Focus or Mazda MX5 (for example) of today as good as or better than our old Boxsters? I hope not...
Well when you consider that a the first Boxster rolled out in 1996, meaning it was engineered nearly 20 years ago, assuming it takes a year or two to develop, I'd say it's endured pretty well relative to newer Porsches and maybe older Porsches too. Case in point, forum member Pot Hole I believe authored an article comparing a 986.1 to a 987.1 that focused on a track test. Despite the nearly 14 years that separate the initial design to the last of the 987.1 production, the 2.5 Boxster was right in the mirrors of the 987. Obviously weight plays a key factor but in the corners where time is lost or gained, suspension is suspension.
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Old 10-20-2014, 06:30 PM   #12
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The Boxster is mid-engined, which makes it comparable to little else.

Double a-arm vs struts comparison is nearly moot given rest of vehicle dynamics.

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