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Old 11-06-2015, 06:41 PM   #1
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Base or S Model

Hi guys...
I've been watching and learning for a while and now here I am

I'm hoping to get a nice unit between 98 and 03 depending on what it is.

My question is what is the main difference between the Base unit and the "S"?

And which one would you recommend I get as I'm new to the sport?

I hope you can help me with the pros and cons, is one more or less expensive to maintain than the other etc.

I do have some mechanical skills but I would love to learn more and be able to some work on it myself.

An old associate told me that you have to get the S. This was his reasoning.

"He says that with the base you will get to many tickets.....With the S you can feel and hear the road more so it keeps your speed in check..."

I'm sure there are many more logical reasons why to get one or the other.

I look forward to all comments, and thanks in advance for all your help.

Bart

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Old 11-06-2015, 07:04 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muskoka Minute View Post
Hi guys...
I've been watching and learning for a while and now here I am

I'm hoping to get a nice unit between 98 and 03 depending on what it is.

My question is what is the main difference between the Base unit and the "S"?

And which one would you recommend I get as I'm new to the sport?

I hope you can help me with the pros and cons, is one more or less expensive to maintain than the other etc.

I do have some mechanical skills but I would love to learn more and be able to some work on it myself.

An old associate told me that you have to get the S. This was his reasoning.

"He says that with the base you will get to many tickets.....With the S you can feel and hear the road more so it keeps your speed in check..."

I'm sure there are many more logical reasons why to get one or the other.

I look forward to all comments, and thanks in advance for all your help.

Bart
I recommend you test drive both. I have a base 2001 with over 280,000 miles on it and have never gotten a ticket, I find it strange that your associate made that comment. The S model has a few more horses but the difference isn't huge. If you plan on taking it on the track then definitely get the S.
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Old 11-06-2015, 07:13 PM   #3
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After driving many 986 Boxsters, the main difference to me is torque. You can definitely feel the difference exiting corners or climbing hills. That said I owned a Base 986 for 10 years and loved the car. My 987.2 Cayman is also a Base. Both are great cars so buy the one you like.
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Old 11-06-2015, 07:40 PM   #4
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S=bigger brakes, bigger engine with more power, more radiators, 6-speed manual transmission. Have you done a search? The topic has been covered much here. The BS about more tickets with a base model is just that, BS!
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Old 11-06-2015, 08:13 PM   #5
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The 98-99 limits you to base only.

I agree with Jager: the comment from your associate makes no sense.

I've owned my 01S for three years and have taken it on two road trips of over 4,000 miles. I did a lot of research before making the purchase, and the main factor for me was the 6-speed in the S vs. the 5-speed in the base for long-distance interstate drives.

The only people who could give you a good response are those who have owned/driven both with similar model years. Car magazines have those people. Here's some research for you.

Porsche Boxster S - First Drive Review - Car Reviews - Car and Driver

Porsche Boxster S - Road Test - Car Reviews - Car and Driver

Search all the C&D reviews for Boxster, and you'll get more information and comparisons to other similar vehicles.

For me, the major differences are lower price and relatively better mpg on the base vs. better acceleration (torque grunt), high-speed cruise "comfort" (these are stiffly sprung sports cars) and braking. But never having driven nor owned a base 986, it's difficult for me to say I wouldn't have just as much fun with it.

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Old 11-07-2015, 05:45 AM   #6
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thanks for all the help guys.

If there is anyone else that can shed a perspective on this I would love to hear it also.

Have fun and drive safe!

Bart
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Old 11-07-2015, 06:23 AM   #7
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Joe B's reply has all the reason you need! I had always wanted a Boxster and, like most here, I always preferred the 986. I would say go with the S. Nothing at all against the Boxster but I have an S and there are times I wish it had a little more power for 2nd -3rd and 3rd-4th pulls. I had a 2003 BMW Z4 3.0i before and it felt faster to me, although I don't think it actually was. As far as tickets go, you can get a ticket in anything.
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Old 11-07-2015, 06:34 AM   #8
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You won't regret either.

The biggest difference is down to more torque and larger tires.

I've owned both. The base can be more inviting to drive flat out then the S. As the S will have you getting to speeds worth a ticket on any road in America with a 3rd gear pull.

The bigger brakes are nice and I would argue needed with the more potent S.

It's all down to that torque difference though, do you want to roll onto the throttle and be pushed forward or would you rather stab the throttle and drive the car more like a Subbie then a Porsche.
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Old 11-07-2015, 07:53 AM   #9
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What Jake said.
I drove both a base & S, each were MY 2000, before buying mine.
Aside from 6th gear and bigger brakes and some suspension differences, the bigger engine really forces you to lift sooner in an S than in a base, because you can get into a heap o' trouble with the fuzz really quick if you're out hooning about.
Approaching redline in 2nd, I can break 60 mph, and in 3rd do 95. That's serious enough to get your car impounded and get a free ride in a police Taurus.
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Old 11-07-2015, 09:45 AM   #10
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Owned both a base '99 and an '01S. While there was a numerical difference, I actually preferred the 2.5 litre 201hp '99 over the 3.2 litre 250hp '01S. The '00-'03 base are 2.7 and 228hp.

Of all those, the '03 in any form has a few conveniences and the glass rear window which can be important in colder climates.

Model year differences and some write-ups on buying a Boxster are here.
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Old 11-07-2015, 11:12 AM   #11
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After owning sports cars with plastic windows for over 25 years, I had to go with an 03 or newer to get the glass rear window. It is a feature that is totally worth paying a little more for.

I drove a few base Boxsters and an S model when I was making my decision. After driving a base and S back to back, I had to have the S because of the acceleration and handling. It is extremely tight handling, but still rides much better compared to other sports cars I was looking at, like BMW Z4's and Honda S2000's. The ride quality of the Boxster was just in another league compared to these other brands and I felt no detriment whatsoever in comfort with the S model compared to the base model.
I've had my 2003 S since 2008 and I've very happy with the choice. So far it has been totally reliable, but I did do the IMS bearing upgrade for the peace of mind.
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Old 11-07-2015, 11:38 AM   #12
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S because you will always be thinking damn I should have paid a little bit more for that S

Last edited by Fintro11; 11-07-2015 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 11-07-2015, 02:00 PM   #13
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S, because to save us from the sea of huge trucks and SUV's, I'm constantly looking to pull away out of others blind spots and the nice torque available makes this a breeze.It just feels really good!
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Old 11-07-2015, 03:06 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by litespeedp View Post
S, because to save us from the sea of huge trucks and SUV's, I'm constantly looking to pull away out of others blind spots and the nice torque available makes this a breeze.It just feels really good!

This exactly. The S is the best highway car ever.

Roll onto the throttle in 6th and it'll push past someone quick and smooth.
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Old 11-07-2015, 03:21 PM   #15
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03 S. better engine (m96.24) better suspension, better brakes, better everything. You get to keep that as long as you own the car.
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Old 11-07-2015, 07:09 PM   #16
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I have a 2000s. Test drove many cars before buying it, and enjoyed both the base and the S. My advice would be, buy the best car you can find! Service records, 1 owner, etc.
Neither model will disappoint you!!
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Old 11-08-2015, 04:31 AM   #17
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Whatever you chose in those years make sure the IMS has been done.
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Old 11-08-2015, 04:54 AM   #18
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Find reviews on the '97 Boxster and on the 2000 base and S models, written when the cars were new. Buy from an individual, not a dealer. Have a PPI done. Look at service records. Take your time.
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Old 11-08-2015, 06:00 AM   #19
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If your aspirations are to own a porsche, does it really matter?, I own an 03 base and absolutely love it, and hey, it's still a porsche :-), if an S model tickles your fancy, why not look at a 996 also. As for tickets, load of old tosh, 90mph is 90mph don't matter if yo are in an S or not.
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Old 11-08-2015, 06:05 AM   #20
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Good point from jpl

996s cost the same to maintain. So the 2 or 3 grand premium at this point over an S can make one a good option if you prefer the different driving dynamics.

That also brings in the topic of options, you are more likely to find desirable options like litronic lights on an S model. And going to a boxster base or carrera base may have less options to offer.

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