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Old 02-08-2005, 11:36 PM   #1
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Lux reviews the 987S (long)

I finally had a chance to check out the 987S in detail during lunch break. Now keep in mind that I own a ‘04 S which has an improved interior, glass rear widow, glovebox and other little improvements over the ’02 and older models so my opinion might be different than that of a ’97-‘02 owner. So with that said, I was not entirely impressed. Matter of fact, I’d say I was disappointed. I expected improvements. What I noticed were just changes, and not all of them for the better.

So what did I like and didn’t like?

Let’s start with the exterior:
The side vents really are MR2’ish. My coworker who tagged along also mentioned this before I even said anything. They are large and in-your-face and sort of look “tacked on”. I think if they were body-colored they would look much better. The optional 19” wheels were on the car and these were also in-your-face gaudy. They aren’t really ugly but they’re not exactly cool looking either.

Walking to the front, the new front end looks damn good. Matter of fact, the teardrop headlights look much better than the 997’s round/oval lights. But again, I still prefer the fried-egg Litronic lights of the 986 when coupled with the Aerokit bumper. Without Aerokit I’d give the nod to the 987.

The back end of the car is another story. The rear lights look sort of chopped in, for lack of a better word. There’s a weird line that drops down the rear quarter panel to the wheel well (where the rear lights mate up to the body). It doesn’t look as fluid as the 986’s rear that has a horizontal line.

So now onto the interior:
First thing I notice upon opening the door is that the door itself is incredibly flat and boring. The speaker grills are an absolute eyesore. The storage cubby in the door is small and flat. The door pull is flat. Matter of fact, this “flat” theme is carried throughout the interior with the center stack, center console, glovebox, and dash. I know that they did this to mimic the old 911 interior (which I’m definitely not a fan of) but why couldn’t they keep the Boxster’s progressive? The organic shapes of the 986 are so much better. It might be blasphemous to say, but I can’t stand the 993’s interior. I thought Porsche made great strides with the 986/996 interior but now it looks like they’re regressing. I guess it’s cheaper to tool up the same thing for both cars so we’re stuck with this interior.

And for all the hoopla about improved materials, I just don’t see it. Maybe improved over the early year Boxsters but I’d say it’s equivalent to my ’04 in some areas and even inferior in others. A lot of the pieces were painted silver such as the gigantic arm on each side of the seats, the seatback lever, the door handles, etc. However, the paint had a very high gloss to them. It makes the parts look very plasticy and cheap. I don’t know if this had the “silver painted” interior and that standard is still a soft-touch paint. I think the soft-touch looks much better.

The standard seats were nothing to get excited about. I’ve got the sportseats and they look much better with the perforations in the leather.

The steering wheel is…friggen ugly. It looks like it was lifted from a Chrysler Sebring or something. Again, the silver accents on either side are really an eyesore.

The new gauge cluster is much improved. Gone is the cheap-looking amber backlight in the 986, now replaced with a cool blue color. Personally, I prefer BMW’s reddish color for legibility at night though. Also, the digital speedo is located in the center instead of the left.

The turn signal and wiper stalks are definitely an improvement. But then again, it’s hard to make them any worse than what’s on the 986. I can almost swear I’m going to break off the turn stalk everytime I use my blinkers.

Window switches have been moved to the doors and I’m not a big fan of that. I like them on the center console. It’s a lot more ergonomic for me to be driving with my left hand, shifting with my right and being able to quickly hit the window switches. Small detail…but it’s the details that make a good car great.

The cupholder must be a running joke at Porsche. Not only is it even more complicated than in my ’04, but it seems even more flimsy. And now both cupholders are directly above the glovebox. Great if you’re a double-fisted drinking passenger. Bad if you’re the driver.

The much-touted “shorter throw” gearbox is still long and ropey. The 15% reduction for the S means nothing and pales against the B&M in my car. The 987S will still need a short throw shifter. I didn’t get a chance to try out the Base model with a claimed 25% reduction in throw so I can’t comment on that gearbox.

The rearview mirror, sun visors, rear seatback hooks and glovebox latch seem to be all carryover from the 986.

My coworker said it best after we got done dissecting the 987. He said that the interior looks like it was lifted from a Japanese car. It just has a very sterile, boring feel to it.

So how did the car drive? I don’t know. I ran out of time and had to go back to work. But regardless, short of having a 340hp motor I would not part with my 986. To me, there are as many annoying things (if not more) than there are improvements. I will say that everything here is nitpicking since I already own a 986. The 987 is still a very nice car. So there you have it. Just my humble opinion, your mileage might vary, yada yada yada.

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Old 02-09-2005, 01:52 AM   #2
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Ok, you have to drive it now...
I loved the comment on 993 interior. I absolutely love the 993 C4S look, but the interior is just AWFUL. I have mixed feeling with the 987 interior. It looks not bad with the full leather...but I honestly liked the 996/986 style.

and BTW, this cupholder thing is NOT a European thing, I think you are right. The engineer at Porsche that gets to design these must be either:
a) a new hire
b) a summer job
c) punished for previous years low performance

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Old 02-09-2005, 06:23 AM   #3
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As posted elsewhere, I too do not like the new Box styling. The outside has been made porkier, which is not to my liking.

I find the interior to be just bizzare. I don't know what was intended but they missed the mark.

Having said that, the 986 is a tough act to follow.
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Old 02-09-2005, 06:50 AM   #4
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Went down to the dealer service lot where the PCA was holding a track driving seminar and saw the 987 and 997 in the service lot (both in Silver). Hard to believe but The 997 is longer than the newest Corvette.

Lux, can't believe you didn't imediately jump in and drive it!
The interior and look of the car are secondary to me. And a distant second at that. From everything I have heard the new S is kick ass to drive. Not a single complaint and one magazine rated it above the 997. The performance seems to be on a level that is shared only by the Lotus elise. But the day when I pay $50K for a Toyo 1.8 engine will never come for me.

In terms of the styling it doesn't fit the performance. Well that's just my take, albeit from a former design student. I took one class on auto design taught by a former GM interiors designer, OMG that was sooo much work 7 10 illustrations per critique and that's just one class. Anyhoo This direction towards a more organic circular design is too common amongst roadsters these days. I was hoping that Porsche would have gone in a more aggresive approach like incorporated the Turbo headlights or something similar. (I'm actually considering doing that conversion myslef, I know its expensive but I think this car's performance is worth it). The classic round eyed Porsche/VW look is classic but the past is past. The amoeba shape lights and modern exterior mirrors were indicating a move toward more Italian (Ferrari/Maserati) designs.

I was however expecting a radical change on the interior because consistency or gradual change in the exterior of a successful car's is now the standard in the industry. The Miata and the Boxster were both the best selling car's in each make's history and both kept the design in tact for 7-8 years. I was hoping to see a more minimalist desing this area, keeping consistent with the pure sports car ideal. Instead Porsche went with the Cayene approach of a more LEXUS enviroment. Rather than introducing a smaller steering wheel like on the S2000 (one of my favorite features) they went with a bigger wheel. It would have been cool if Porsche introduced two different interiors, one for the S with a sharper edge to include less novelties and more necessities (like a legitimiate kevlar racing seat not in leather), harness bar, lots of carbon, a higer stick shifter or closer to the steering wheel and overall weight reduction.
The car magazines would have loved that.
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Old 02-09-2005, 07:08 AM   #5
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I don't really dig it. I think the 03/04 "S" is one of the biggest bargains in sports cars, especially when you can buy a new leftover for $8/10k off msrp.
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Old 02-09-2005, 07:12 AM   #6
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8-10K off?
really? what did that total price come out to for you?
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Old 02-09-2005, 08:14 AM   #8
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58K is not bad at all. Needs a Boxster red interior

But my 2000 S had a mere 10,000 miles. Snuck home with that one for 30K and a six month powr train warranty.
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Old 02-09-2005, 09:02 AM   #9
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Thumbs up 987 vs 986

Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonc32amg
I don't really dig it. I think the 03/04 "S" is one of the biggest bargains in sports cars, especially when you can buy a new leftover for $8/10k off msrp.
I concurr. I bought mine 2003S in Dec of 2003with 3300 miles for 47-48 there abouts. I love the car. The 987 has some improvements with a nice bump up in hp but to justify spending for a new car again I don't think so. I'll wait a couple of years since I'm having a blast with mine anyway and then when the engine gets tweeked a couple of times then at that point get it.
I don't want to sink thousands of dollars into a car to modify it. The 986 is plenty quick as is, in NY with 55 mph speed limits which is rediculous what is the difference whether it goes from 0-60 in 5.5 sec or 5.2 as in the 987. I do think that the 987 interior is nicer than the 986. Well at least it looks richer to me. The workmanship I would say is the same. Cluster lay out seems better and larger and the center console looks more modern with the 987. I prefer the Carrera alloys which I have in my car. That is the long and short of the 987 vs 986
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Old 02-09-2005, 05:11 PM   #10
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That Base 2004 with less than a 100 miles is only $39,000! That only $10K more than I paid for my 2000 S.
but I plan to spend at least $5,000 on wheels,aerokit and hardtop.
My Boxster's low mileage and good condition should keep it at around $25K for a few years. A $7-10K depreciation I can stomach. A $25,000 hit like the original owner of my car took (at least, he traded it in for an Acura) is too much for me to shrug off.
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Old 02-09-2005, 10:22 PM   #11
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The new cup holders can come in handy.
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Old 02-09-2005, 11:24 PM   #12
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Lol ! this is too funny !!!
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Old 02-10-2005, 04:42 AM   #13
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HAHA.

Lure them in with a shiny car, then keep'em there.
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Old 02-10-2005, 07:16 AM   #14
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BOB LIKES IT . The olde handcuff trick hmmmm.
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Old 02-10-2005, 07:38 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tool Pants
The new cup holders can come in handy.
Got to love Asian women
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Old 02-10-2005, 07:54 AM   #16
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is this to keep her from messing with the radio?

Genius.
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Old 02-10-2005, 08:05 AM   #17
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agreed...

style is important, and I think the 987 is a step back. as a guy who just picked up a 986 in the last year, I'm glad. For me, it's similar to the 993 to 996 transition..a big step back in exterior styling.
On performance stuff, I also agree that the upgraded performance of the 987 is just not worth the bucks to eat the depreciation of owning a new one.
I'm so stoked with my 986, I just can't tell you...I smile everytime I get in our around the car. I drove a bunch of 986's before I bought this one, and they all made me smile. The car I bought was from a guy who thought he needed the latest and greatest...ok. So, after paying $56K for his 01's and dumping $15k of mods into the car, he eats $35k of depreciation over the three years he owns it and moves on to an '05... I pick it up for the remaining $36k with 24k miles, a year of warranty left, the performance of the '05s (after all the engine and suspension mods) and styling that I like better than the '05. Some people wouldn't be happy with a 'used / older style' 986...but I'm stoked with it. It takes all types...I'm just happy to be part of the food chain. ;-)
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Old 02-10-2005, 08:44 AM   #18
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While I think the performance improvements are noteable, I'd have to agree that the styling, especially the interior, are for the most part bland, ugly, and inferior to the 986 (with the exception of the nose, which I like very much). Another poster noted that the styling was secondary in his positive appreciation of the 987, and while that point is very valid, and shared by many driving enthusiasts, I believe the larger market-place, to which the Boxster is squarley aimed at, demands a more 'total package', and styling rates highly on the list.
I get out to the track 4-5 times a year, so I'm no stranger to the driving enthusiast mentality of 'Who cares what it looks like, so long as it goes like stink' mind-set. My brother's WRX STI is a rolling monument to that motto. I believe a Boxster owner, for the most part, is after something more. A touch of grace, elegance, some stylin' cheese to go with the engine whine as it were. As noted above the 993 RS has a similarily f'ugly interior, but superior performance numbers to the 986 crop. If it's out and out performance one is seeking, the new Z06 or the afore-mentioned STI are the way to go, and will cost you less in the bargain. If, on the other hand, you're looking for a gorgeous drop-top that you can live with day-in and day-out, whose styling and appointments, as well as it's performance characteristics make you feel special and refreshed, there are few cars, and none for the money, that accomadate you like the 986. Sadly, the same cannot be said for the 987, for while it's performance improvements are good, it's G-35 like interior and generally squashed look leave one cold. In my 986, all I want to do is stay in it all day (this winter already feels way longer than any other and it only February...) while during my opportunity to view the 987, all I wanted to do was get out.
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Old 02-10-2005, 09:06 AM   #19
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it sounds like i am in the overwhelming minority, but i like the 987. I think the exterior is georgous. The lines are true to form of what makes the boxster great. Although the one i saw had 18's on it, which actually look small in the massive wheel well opening on the new 987 -- which makes 19's an necessary aesthetic upgrade. I dont like that a whole lot.

The interior, while there are a few things I like more on my 986, i like a lot. The seats are beautiful, the trim in nice and all in all i think they did a good job on the upgrade. All things being equal, I would rather have a 987 S than my 986 S on almost every level.

then again, what do i know -- i just answer the phones and take out the trash.
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Old 02-10-2005, 10:16 AM   #20
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I like it too

[QUOTE=Richard Truss]it sounds like i am in the overwhelming minority, but i like the 987. I think the exterior is georgous.

Indeed the 987 is a gorgeous car! What I believe guys are commenting that there is nothing revolutionary in the 987 vs other 986's. If I had money to burn I would buy the 987 in a snap. All the comments here are regarding the esthetics and design of this or that, all of which are subjective evaluation by the individuals. Suppodsedly the car rides and handles better than the 986 as evaluated by countless magazines. They can't all be wrong about the performance of the 987. As time passes the the 987 will be tweeked with more performance and updated with more ameneties as Porsche has done since 1948

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