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Old 05-22-2010, 01:26 PM   #1
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: CA
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986S vs. 987S, tiptronics vs. 6 speed

Need some advice:

1) I recently test drove a 2001 Boxster S. Wow - it was a "virgin" experience. Now I understand why people drive Porsches (and sports cars in general). Test drove a Z4 also - nothing like it. So I've decided to get a Boxster.

2) I live in San Francisco so I have hills (which gets me thinking about a Tiptronics). I think I like the low end torque on the Boxster. Of course everyone tells me that a manual is more fun.

3) So I go out to drive a non-S and also a Tiptronics. End up driving a 2005S, 2005 and 2003 Non-S Tiptronics.

4) So I've learned I'll take an S over a Non-S any day.

5) But my dilemna is as follows:

a) 986 was much more "noiser" and "point and shoot" than the 987 which had more of a "Mercedes" feel to it. It felt more "fun". But also didn't seem like the build quality was as good (never mind the IMS issues - which is also a pretty major issue).

b) Tiptronics was actually fun despite what others told me. It was easy enough to downshift and that seemed to tell the Tiptronics that I wanted to keep it in a "sportier" higher torque mode. In fact - it felt like it could shift faster than I could shift. Of course - I've also owned manuals in San Francisco - it is a royal pain in the neck. Also, I've heard that IMS issues aren't as common in Tiptronics systems - but who knows. But my biggest issue is that Tiptronics might be more fun because I really don't know yet how to drive a sports car shift. I also don't really understand why someone would ever put it in automatic mode since manual is effectively a customized automatic.

So any opinions/perspective/thoughts would be welcome so I can decide between 986/987 and 6 speed/Tiptronics

Fun and reliability are the two main issues...
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Old 05-22-2010, 02:16 PM   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: NEPA
Posts: 343
I have a 98 tip and wouldn't trade it for a stick for a long time. The first DE I took it to I asked the instructor about manual mode and he said that it takes quite a driver to beat a tip on the track. He told me to just leave it in auto mode and worry abour breaking and hitting my apex. It was sound advise as I was quicker than a lot of younger drivers who had to worry about shifting all the time and everything else. My vote for the Tip. Ed
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Old 05-22-2010, 03:32 PM   #3
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Sanford NC
Posts: 2,313
Better and more better

Both are great cars. Were there improvements in the 987 series over the 986? Yes. But are they vital to your enjoyment? Not to me but it is your $ you are spending and only you can answer that question for you.

Drove stick for probably 30 years. Traffic got too bad and I found I wasn't as tired after the commute if I borrowed my wife's slush-o-matic. So when I went looking for my first Boxster, a TIP wasn't a bad thing to me. Liked my '99 TIP but the '01S TIP I have now is even better as it allows downshifts even when not in manual mode. I run manual mode maybe 10% of the time. TIPs are awfully reliable too. Haven't driven the PDK because I'd be tempted and the Boxster I'd really want costs $94k and change when I configure it. I paid about 28% of that and I have as much fun and receive as much favorable attention. Both my cars have had excellent reliability.

I didn't find the difference between a base and an S that significant and that was between the 2.5L 201HP '99 and the 3.2L 248HP. With the smaller engine, I could keep my foot down longer/stronger before I got to dangerous speeds. But you may find the difference significant.

You may find this site useful.
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Old 05-22-2010, 04:03 PM   #4
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Clarksville, Tn
Posts: 339
I'm 35 and have had my '01 S for a while now. Love the 6 speed as I think it gives me better control of the car.

Where you live and how much you drive the car will ultimately determine your decision. I've been to SanFan and unless my car was a 3rd vehicle, I would go tiptronic. WHY? Just too many elevation changes and if you don't treat the clutch right, you will burn through them quickly due to uphill stop and go's.

The S is faster and has the better performace goodies on it than the base. Just me, but wouldn't go with the base no matter what. In fact, you may get the mod bug and do some things to enhance the already potent S powerplant.

As far as the 986 vs 987, I do love my 986S and if optioned out well, I don't think the interior looks bad at all. Full leather and other options plush it out quite a bit. I also think the exterior is a little more classy than the 987. Just more sculpted and not as many sharp angles.

And Ahhh, the seemingly controversial IMS issue.....Ok, it's an issue and I do think about it a little, but seriously, there are more than a few great fellas on this site that can aid if you were to go through one.

You can have it remedied now for $3500 or wait and your engine may blow. I'm honestly ready to flip a coin on it and either take it into one of these guys or wait until the engine blows and update completely to a new 3.6 liter motor and a little better suspension at the same time to handle the extra power.

My S is a pure "fair weather only" toy and I really don't care to get rid of it anytime soon. Not that I don't love the new Boxster's and the new level of performance they carry, but I still see too many similarities between my '01 S and the new ones. Kinda makes me wonder just how long Porsche can milk their parts department....

Either way you go, stay with the S and do some searching for the right car with the right options for the right price.
'13 S - Guards Red / Luxor Beige - Options - Loaded to the Hilt!!

'01 S - Guards Red / Beige - Surrendered - 04.18.12
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