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Old 02-16-2013, 02:42 PM   #1
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Drove a 987 S - my thoughts vs my 986

So I drove a 2007 987 S manual. I have a 2001 Base manual currently.

Some interesting comparisons I drew up:

The interior is definitely better quality, feels a bit better put together. The clutch also felt a bit easier to use. The seat was a bit softer and more comfortable, as well.

Now, here is where I was surprised. The car just did not sound as good as my base Boxster. The s seems to have a lower, fuller sound, which starts at a lower RPM than the base, but does not increase as gloriously.

For example, my Boxster sounds weak under 5k, but after 5K, it sounds glorious and just screams - the sound enters the cabin well even with the top up. In the 987 S, I felt the sound more subdued and lacking that edge.

Is that strange or just my impression of it? I did read somewhere that some people prefer the sound of the 2.7 vs the 3.2 or 3.4 in this case.

Otherwise, acceleration was better obviously - not night and day, but gradually better. I think I'd be happy in a base 987 too, it definitely has a different character than the S. (It needs to be revved out a bit more and while slower, may equal out in terms of satisfaction.

The ride was better, and steering easier on the 987 too.

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Old 02-16-2013, 03:40 PM   #2
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I understand where you are coming from with this. I also have a 2001 Boxster base and never even tried an S. Why? I felt that the base had sufficient power for me and lower fuel consumption. The question for me is that I don't have the opportunity to use all the power of an S. I don't track mine, don't do autocross.

To take this principle to the extreme if you get a Miata and drive it to 60 mph it is actually a lot of fun . Try that in a Boxster S and you will be jamming on the brakes to hold it back(I would imagine anyway) and you will be constantly exceeding the speed limits.

However the S may have better brakes, clutch and handling etc but I never explore the limits of a base so why would I want an S? My next car might be a 2009 base - the one without an IMS. In the meantime I am happy with my 2001 base.....
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Old 02-16-2013, 04:31 PM   #3
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need more

i have an s and find i want more, typical american, more is better
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Old 02-16-2013, 04:58 PM   #4
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To take this principle to the extreme if you get a Miata and drive it to 60 mph it is actually a lot of fun . Try that in a Boxster S and you will be jamming on the brakes to hold it back(I would imagine anyway) and you will be constantly exceeding the speed limits.

This hasn't been my experience. Bought a Miata in 94. Then built a 225hp turbo Miata in 98. Then bought a factory turbo Miata in 2004. Then bought my S in late 2004.

I have not found a single area where I felt any of the Miatas was better than the S; maybe fuel economy, but honestly, given the vastly different hp level and much lighter weight, the Miata even sucks at that compared to the Porsche.

I love Miatas to this day. Best friend has a 2008 that I get to drive. But to put forth the idea that the Miata allows you to do things you just can't do in an S because the Porsche is just too dang fast... well, honestly, that's the party line on Miata.net, which I frequent weekly and have since 99. Great site, but people tend to romanticize the lack of power in the Miata.

The Boxster 2.7, 2.5 and 2.9 are all great cars, no doubt about it. The 3.2 and the 3.4 are just a little bit faster version of same. In no way do we run out of headroom so fast that the car isn't any fun!

I've not yet driven a 991, but spent lots of time in a 987 Spyder, the fastest Boxster yet, I would imagine, and the difference in his 315hp and my 265 was, honestly, barely noticeable on the street. Certainly not like the difference in driving a Carrera and a Turbo.
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Old 02-16-2013, 05:11 PM   #5
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The conventional wisdom has it backwards. For tracking and autocross the 2.7 is plenty of power.
Certainly enough for a new driver. The extra power of the 3.2/3.4 is better suited for real world driving, mostly in passing cars and merging onto the highway or alluding capture from the po po, cryps, bloods and Zeta s...my typical weekend.
Back when the first Boxster came out 15 years ago the average sedan didn't have nearly the power it has today, for instance the very expensive Bimmer M3 back then had barely 240 HP. Nowadays those sedans have much more power and the 3.2 and 3.4 Boxsters allow you keep a little edge on those V6 Accords and SUVs. However, weight is also a factor and the last of the 986 years were some of the heaviest, as such the power to weight isn't as good. Also, the extra stopping power of the S brakes have loads of utility in the real world. Consider how many accidents could be avoided with just one extra second of reaction time. While again, for the track and autocross, the brakes on the 2.5 and 2.7 are plenty good for the skill set of the average weekend racer.
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Old 02-16-2013, 05:42 PM   #6
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I find the 987 to be just bit less engaging and more refined than the 986. Not an upgrade from a driving reward standpoint. The 981 is another step away from the driver. Porsche thinks they can make up for removing you from the driving experience by making the car faster, but one doesn't make up for the other.

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Old 02-16-2013, 06:15 PM   #7
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^I agree with Porsche making more and more disconnected cars. But if you offered me the 986 S, the 981 S or the 987 Boxster Spyder for a day at the track....I'd have to go with the 987.
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Old 02-16-2013, 06:25 PM   #8
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^I agree with Porsche making more and more disconnected cars. But if you offered me the 986 S, the 981 S or the 987 Boxster Spyder for a day at the track....I'd have to go with the 987.
On a track, always take the latest Porsche for the best times. On the street, usually the oldest Porsche is the best.
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Old 02-16-2013, 06:47 PM   #9
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I think you have it backwards. the oldest Porsche would develop your driving skill on the track most, as the car is doing the least amount of work. For the street the new tech smooth out the rough roads, save your butt in bad weather and the downsides of things like electronic steering aren't as damaging to the driving experience on the street as it would be on the track. And from a safety perspective I'm not crazy about driving old anything on the street. Four points might do the trick on the track but I wouldn't want to test them out in a wreck with an SUV.

The 987 Boxster Spyder is the last Boxster with hydraulic steering. The lightest Boxster made with at least 250 HP. And who knows if the 981 R will be offered in a manual transmission. Porsche is already ditching 7 mt in the 991 GT3. I think the 987 Boxster Spyder might be the last great Porsche roadster from a driver's perspective.
And apparently its still faster than than the 981 Cayman.
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Old 02-16-2013, 08:51 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by rondocap View Post

Now, here is where I was surprised. The car just did not sound as good as my base Boxster. The s seems to have a lower, fuller sound, which starts at a lower RPM than the base, but does not increase as gloriously.

For example, my Boxster sounds weak under 5k, but after 5K, it sounds glorious and just screams - the sound enters the cabin well even with the top up. In the 987 S, I felt the sound more subdued and lacking that edge.

Is that strange or just my impression of it? I did read somewhere that some people prefer the sound of the 2.7 vs the 3.2 or 3.4 in this case.
I own a 986 'S' and a Base 987. My 986 had little to no exhaust sound, only sound I ever heard was from de-snorkling. I have since put a Fabspeed on and it is quite loud now...however it is a Fabspeed sound not a Porsche sound.

As for the 987 Base, I just love the exhaust notes it puts out. It sounds best right at startup.
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Old 02-16-2013, 09:26 PM   #11
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I own a 986 'S' and a Base 987. My 986 had little to no exhaust sound, only sound I ever heard was from de-snorkling. I have since put a Fabspeed on and it is quite loud now...however it is a Fabspeed sound ....
I've got a 986 S and can agree with you that the best sound came from de-snorkeling .... then I put on the Top Speed Pro pipes and race muffler.
Now it sounds like the car should have sounded when they made it in Finland!
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Old 02-17-2013, 03:26 AM   #12
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I have a 986 S, a 987 S and a996 C 4, drive them all a lot and find that each has it's own personality and strengths. My wife prefers the 986 and I suppose I more often go with the 987. I find it is more of an on the edge type of driving experience as it has a good bit more horsepower than the 986 and you feel more responsible for it's handling than the more stable all wheel drive C 4. No bad choice off the 3 certainly.
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Old 02-17-2013, 05:33 AM   #13
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I think you have it backwards. the oldest Porsche would develop your driving skill on the track most, as the car is doing the least amount of work. For the street the new tech smooth out the rough roads, save your butt in bad weather and the downsides of things like electronic steering aren't as damaging to the driving experience on the street as it would be on the track. And from a safety perspective I'm not crazy about driving old anything on the street. Four points might do the trick on the track but I wouldn't want to test them out in a wreck with an SUV.

The 987 Boxster Spyder is the last Boxster with hydraulic steering. The lightest Boxster made with at least 250 HP. And who knows if the 981 R will be offered in a manual transmission. Porsche is already ditching 7 mt in the 991 GT3. I think the 987 Boxster Spyder might be the last great Porsche roadster from a driver's perspective.
And apparently its still faster than than the 981 Cayman.
I stated that the latest Porsche will be the fastest around the track. I didn't say it would teach you to be a good driver.

I want the most involved, connected experience I can have in my sports car both on the road and the track. For that no modern Porsche can compare to an old 911 or 944. To smooth out the bumps and provide convenience, I'll take a sedan.

The early S was about 60 pounds lighter than the spyder.

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Old 02-17-2013, 06:56 AM   #14
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I've got a 986 S and can agree with you that the best sound came from de-snorkeling .... then I put on the Top Speed Pro pipes and race muffler.
Now it sounds like the car should have sounded when they made it in Finland!
What the heck is de-snorkleiing? I've heard it a lot.

We need a glossy on this forum.
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Old 02-17-2013, 07:01 AM   #15
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I have a base 987.2 base, and I can scare myself pretty good with it. I'm not sure I want to add an S to that. Once, from a full stop, I stomped on the accelerator, and achieved about an inch of air under the front tires. (that, my friends, is the beauty of the PDK). I don't weigh a lot, so there was really nothing to hold down the front end.

But I'm never doing that again . . .
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Old 02-17-2013, 07:13 AM   #16
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I understand where you are coming from with this. I also have a 2001 Boxster base and never even tried an S. Why? I felt that the base had sufficient power for me and lower fuel consumption. The question for me is that I don't have the opportunity to use all the power of an S. I don't track mine, don't do autocross.

To take this principle to the extreme if you get a Miata and drive it to 60 mph it is actually a lot of fun . Try that in a Boxster S and you will be jamming on the brakes to hold it back(I would imagine anyway) and you will be constantly exceeding the speed limits.

However the S may have better brakes, clutch and handling etc but I never explore the limits of a base so why would I want an S? My next car might be a 2009 base - the one without an IMS. In the meantime I am happy with my 2001 base.....
I test drove a Miata, and felt it was underpowered when compared to a Boxster. It seemed it was on the edge of its capabilities, while the Boxster has more to give. The Miata will take a corner, but it will toss you around like beans in a can, but the Boxster will corner with grace.

Take you base to an autoX, you'll be amazed how far away the limits are.
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Old 02-17-2013, 09:20 AM   #17
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Anyone have an idea why my 986 seems to sound better at higher rpm full out then the 987S did? The 987S did have a fuller more muscular sound in more of the rev range, but my 986 just sounds more exotic high up.
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:33 PM   #18
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The 986 from 97-99 has a 2.5 liter engine and the intake has an awesome howling sound from 4500-5500 rpm. It's due to the design of the intake and I love that sound. De-snorkling makes it louder. In 2000 they came out with the 2.7 and 3.2 engines and the design of the intake is better for power but less better for sound!!!
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Old 02-23-2013, 07:20 PM   #19
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The 987 interior is definitely a step up - it looks cheap in pictures, like a rental car with that center dash - but in person everything is very nicely made, neat, and machined really well. Feels well put together.

The "s" was fun, but at no point did I feel like It proved a night and day difference to my base 986 in terms of power and response. Interior is a notch up, chassis is a notch up in terms of road compliance and comfort, but in terms of visceral driving feedback, it's really more gradual.

I would really be happy with a base 987 or 981 as well I think - and this is coming from someone who really likes to push the cars and generally love power. (I have a 335i, which feels bloated after driving the Boxster)
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Old 02-25-2013, 05:21 PM   #20
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I got a chance to also drive a base 2008 Cayman, and a base 2009 Boxster with PDK.

The base Cayman was manual and actually felt very similar to my 986 Boxster. Slightly more refined ride, but they, at least to me, seemed to share more things in common in how they felt. Power was a bit more, but really reminiscent of my 986.

The 09 PDK Boxster was much different. The PDK really gives it another character. The car felt much faster too than the 08 Cayman, even though on paper it really doesn't have much power.

It feels like a different car, I am not sure if I like it more or less than the manual. Definitely will need more seat time in order to decide.

I kind of concluded that if I were to get a PDK car, it definitely has to be the S to take more advantage of the PDK and power. The manual makes the base fun enough - but I feel the S probably goes together with the PDK better.

Anyone have any thoughts on the 2008 Cayman feeling similar to the 986 Boxster in general terms, and on the 09 PDK Boxster feeling even more different?


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