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Old 09-12-2006, 06:18 AM   #1
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Question 2002 Boxster S or 2003 Boxster?

Help me decide...I'm going insane.

I want the glass, but I also want the power...booo

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Old 09-12-2006, 06:36 AM   #2
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you can get glass from the aftermarket for about $1000-$1300 installed.
Getting more power will cost you allot more.

But this should not be the only factors you consider. Mileage, service history, exterior/interior wear, are as important.

If all things are roughly the same between the 03 and 02 S,
I wouldn't hesitate in getting the S. You'll end up 2nd guessing
yourself forever if you don't get the S. You don't need that.
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Old 09-12-2006, 07:05 AM   #3
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not sure if this will help.........but i was in the same situation.....

my choices were a 2001 S with 30,000km out of warranty or

2002 with 10,000km in warranty

i picked the 2002 because of the warranty and honestly the extra 20h.p just doesnt justify that much of a power gain. if it was anything over 50h.p maybe. that extra year on on my warranty really came in handy when i had my rms leak. i had the rms leak taken care of on the last day that my warranty expired. if it had happend in the 2001 s i would of been screwed.

do consider the rear glass window on the 2003. i personally like the front and rear bumpers on the 2003. more of a finished car then my 2002. power shouldnt be your only concern. the boxster has plenty of power for highway driving and street driving in the city.
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Old 09-12-2006, 07:28 AM   #4
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03 would be the deal for me, all things being equal (they rarely are though!).
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Old 09-12-2006, 07:35 AM   #5
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an extra 20 HP? I agree 20 HP you woudln't really notice.
but difference between the 3.2 and 2.7 is DEFINITELY noticeable.
Its enough of a difference to classify the S with the standard 911's at my local Autocross events. I've bettered 911 lap times with less power many times.
The hardtop M3's times are a bit closer vs. the 986S and the driver usually tips the scale in that match up.


The 2.7 Boxsters run against the Honda S2000 and they go back and forth for quicker times usually. I am rarely slower than the S2000 even in the hands of some very very good drivers even though the S2000 only has 10 less HP than the BoxsterS. And the S2000 is one very well layed out car. The engine actually sits behind the front shock mounts and not forward of them. Good competition between those two. Now add S power and suspesnsion to the Boxster and its not so close.

Also I've said this before but at this particular curb weight I feel the car behaves very differently with 240HP-250 than it does below that. Both are fun no doubt but very different experience. Hard to describe but coming out of corners both fast and slow the car seems to "come alive" with the xtra HP/Torque.

For every day driving I doubt you'll see a difference other than highway merging/passing. There is no deficiency with either but they are different.
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Old 09-12-2006, 07:43 AM   #6
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Buy a little S emblem and trick yourself into believing you have 20 more horses. Besides, the 03 might accualy have more power depending on condition, like people say, once they change out their maf and o2 sensors they kick themselves for not doing it earlier. So unless you have a G-tech like me and go test the 0-60's, you shouldnt count on factory rated horsepower.
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Old 09-12-2006, 07:47 AM   #7
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I would go for the S.

Besides the obvious power gain, the S will provide a much better resale value in years to come.

Not to mention the brakes and suspension.
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Old 09-12-2006, 08:21 AM   #8
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I too would go for the S.
May I ask what the '03 is going for? And what options does it have?
Thanks and good luck. I'm in the middle of my search as well
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Old 09-12-2006, 10:47 AM   #9
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BUY A CORVETTE!!!

Sorry... still waiting for Porsche to respond about my RMS leak... it's been a week and I'm still driving the courtesy vehicle and my car hasn't been touched...

I wonder if they are waiting for me to give in and pay for the repair myself?

In regards to the topic at hand I personally bought the S for the extra power and handling which is noticeable on a track. If the primary purpose of buying the Boxster is for looks and non-competitive driving fun the base model will foot the bill. I doubt I would ever need the S for anything I would do outside of a track event. For me the warranty would be nice but I plan on keeping the car past the warranty and will risk having to pay for repairs at some point. If I was that concerned about a warranty I would buy a new(er) vehicle, extended warranty, or whatever gives me 2-3+ years of coverage.

Either way, you'll enjoy yourself!
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Old 09-12-2006, 02:16 PM   #10
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Not even a question..
Get the S...
The 2003 Boxster is a fine car... but the S has the edge if you want the extra power..
it is noticable. The brakes have a better feel as well. I was comparing an 05 non S to a 2001 S and went with the 2001 S. You wont regret it!
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Old 09-30-2006, 02:56 PM   #11
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get the S 100% I cant believe your even considering the non-S
Does anyone know the the avg 1/4 mile of the non-S? for the boxster S it is usually in the very low 14s or high 13s which is outstanding. I doubt the non-S will be even any close. I am thinking mid 15s for the nonS.

To put it in comparison m3's are in the mid 13s on their 1/4 mile
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Old 09-30-2006, 06:30 PM   #12
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I bought an S... but because it was a great deal and a beautiful car. I'd say it comes down to which car you like best from a color, options and appearance point of view and how hard you really drive. Sure the S is faster but I'd bet there are a lot of people go faster in their base than I often do in my S. You only need the power if you're going to use it.

Other than that warranty is a big issue, if you want to get an extended warranty tey usually expect you to purchase it while still under factory cover, the 03 may still be in warranty.

Personally I love the glass window and would rather have factory than afternmarket, if you think adding glass after market makes things equal make sure you compare what you will get. I believe the after market glass is smaller and early ones had stitching issues.

How do the colors, interiors and options compare? If they were both base models and the same price which would you pick based on the options?

Toucgh choice, good luck! Bottom line, you'll be thrilled with either I think!
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Old 09-30-2006, 08:05 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aBsOlUt
I would go for the S...the S will provide a much better resale value in years to come...
Hi,

Sorry, have to disagree, this is a falacy. Boxster sales/production are split pretty much 50/50 between Base/'S'. So, the resale isn't higher because the model is no more rare, when the time comes, there'll be plenty of competition. And, if you consider the premium it costs to get into the 'S' to begin with, any increased resale price will pretty much just account for this, they do not depreciate at a lesser rate than the Base.

Now, if the Base suits you, and you put the difference between the two in the bank, you'd actually come out ahead at the end..

Happy Motoring!... Jim'99 (pre-'S')

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Old 10-01-2006, 01:04 AM   #14
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Sales may be equal, but it sure doesn't seem like used car availability is, especially for equivalent pricing. When I was hunting autotrader and craigslist I'd usually see 3-4 regular Boxsters for every S, and the S's would always be at a premium.

Horsepower aside, you might also want to check out the low end torque difference between the S and non-S engines you're looking at. Having that extra workhorse grunt to get around the city really made a difference to me when I was testing different cars (sorry Honda!).


-David N.
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Old 10-01-2006, 09:02 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David N.
Sales may be equal, but it sure doesn't seem like used car availability is, especially for equivalent pricing. When I was hunting autotrader and craigslist I'd usually see 3-4 regular Boxsters for every S, and the S's would always be at a premium.

Horsepower aside, you might also want to check out the low end torque difference between the S and non-S engines you're looking at. Having that extra workhorse grunt to get around the city really made a difference to me when I was testing different cars (sorry Honda!).


-David N.
2000 Ocean Blue S
Hi,

Your contribution is interesting. Could be that 'S' owners hand onto them longer, or that 'S's have a shorter turnover time once up for resale. But, it's more probable that it's simply the fact that since '96, when the Boxster was 1st introduced overseas, the Base model outproduced the 'S' model 107,802 to 52,198 total units, or more than 2-to-1 (because the Base was issued for 4 model years before the 'S' was introduced and so there are so many more around).

I'm not sure what you mean when you say that the 'S' would always be at a premium. Do you mean that it simply sells for more than the Base? That would figure since it's original MSRP is higher. Do you mean that they sell for more than Edmunds or Kelley state are the used values of the 'S'? If so, and all things being absolutely equal (same miles, color, options, zip code) then that would indicate a lower than anticipated depreciation, and would truly be a premium. There are Base models which sell for more than some 'S' models, and if one is looking for a used car, they should probably go for the most car for the money, Base or 'S'.

True the 'S' has a better torque curve and outright more power. But, almost 35% (55,604) of all Boxsters sold were the Base model before the 'S' was introduced. Consider that Boxster production was 50/50% Base/'S' since 2000, and so since then, 52,198 of each model have been produced. (source Porsche Group Annual Report).

But, if people weren't overwhelmingly satisfied with the Base, the production of the 'S' model would never have occured. It wasn't introduced due to lagging sales, all units produced, Base and 'S', were sold in 2000, 2001, 2002. Sales didn't start to lag until the '03 model year and have been doing so ever since.

I drive a '99. It's not a Base, because there was no 'S' available to choose from - it's a pre-'S'. For two seasons now I have driven it and I have also driven several 'S' models. While the 'S' does have more bottom-end, it doesn't have that much more and while it's got more power, again, not appreciably so. I can honestly say that for what I use the car for, my Pre- 'S' is perfect and the additional price and maintenance costs of the 'S' (Headers, Exhaust, Brakes all more expensive), it would be a waste. I could trade it for an 'S' today if I wanted to, but I don't.

Some people drive it harder, or Track the car and for this, the 'S' would be an improvement (albeit slight). And for some, they just have to run in the Big Dog pack (no value judgement, some simply do), and so nothing but the 'S' will satisfy (for these people, if an RS model were produced, they'd ditch their 'S' in favor of the RS in a heartbeat). Also, recently it seems, we're experiencing a large influx from the Ricer Crowd as Boxsters become more affordable. This is evidenced by the numerous Header, Intake, Forced Aspiration, Spoiler threads we've seen in the past few months. That's OK, but it's certainly influenced the traditional overall view of the Finesse over Power debate.

But, you get 99.9% of the Boxster experience in the Pre- 'S' or Base model, and this is something which is rarely communicated to prospective buyers. You can get into it for thousands less and for the most part, unless you belong to one of the aforementioned groups, you'll be very satisfied.

For the most part, virtually all Sports Cars (MGs, Triumphs, Lotus, Porsche (save a few special models), Austin-Healeys and such) were traditionally underpowered, especially when compared with their American contemporaries. But, they offered styling, handling, lightness, close-quarter fit like a glove, which attracted people in droves. The Boxster nestles neatly into this tradition

People looking to buy a used Boxster should truly drive both models. If done unbiasedly, I suspect many people won't see the physical advantages of the 'S' worth the additional cost (I'm not accounting for Bling or Bragging Rights). Some will, to be sure, but I believe that many won't...

Happy Motoring!... Jim'99

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Old 10-01-2006, 10:50 AM   #16
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Quote:

"I'm not sure what you mean when you say that the 'S' would always be at a premium. Do you mean that it simply sells for more than the Base? That would figure since it's original MSRP is higher. Do you mean that they sell for more than Edmunds or Kelley state are the used values of the 'S'? If so, and all things being absolutely equal (same miles, color, options, zip code) then that would indicate a lower than anticipated depreciation, and would truly be a premium. There are Base models which sell for more than some 'S' models, and if one is looking for a used car, they should probably go for the most car for the money, Base or 'S'."

Originally Posted by MNBoxster


I meant for the same year model, the S's were always a lot harder to find, and when compared same year, the price difference was fairly substantial Base to S (15-20%). You're right, that's certainly just a factor of MSRP, but I think it still speaks well of the S variant that it retains its premium over the course of six years and a market full of cheaper-priced non-S's to compete with. KBB-wise, I was just looking at S's but they did seem to match the price-range (hovering around individual sale and up to dealer used prices based on condition, and of course on Craigs most people were asking for the moon and more for their car).

Personally, I was comparing up against a 2000 M Roadster (of course I wanted 2001+, but talk about rare and expensive!), so having close or better torque and engine performance was important to me. At the end of the day I found an outstanding deal for an S from someone that lives 300 yards away from me, who could probably have sold it to carmax or something and made more money. Carfax and Porsche PPI later, the car was amazing, I grabbed it, haven't looked back since.


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Old 10-01-2006, 11:32 AM   #17
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My .02, if your not a do it yourselfer (mechanic) than get a car with a warranty
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Old 10-01-2006, 07:53 PM   #18
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Jim,

Great post ! When I started looking for a Boxster at the beginning of this year, all my friends said "you gotta get an S". After looking at and driving about a dozen different Boxsters ( 1999 - 2001 ), I ended up buying the one I did because it looked the best, drove the best, and felt the best of all the cars I had seen. I really did not notice a huge difference between the S and non S models when I was behind the wheel. If I thought the increased price of the S was justified by the performance, I would have gladly paid the premium...

Nick

Quote:
Originally Posted by MNBoxster
Hi,

Your contribution is interesting. Could be that 'S' owners hand onto them longer, or that 'S's have a shorter turnover time once up for resale. But, it's more probable that it's simply the fact that since '96, when the Boxster was 1st introduced overseas, the Base model outproduced the 'S' model 107,802 to 52,198 total units, or more than 2-to-1 (because the Base was issued for 4 model years before the 'S' was introduced and so there are so many more around).

I'm not sure what you mean when you say that the 'S' would always be at a premium. Do you mean that it simply sells for more than the Base? That would figure since it's original MSRP is higher. Do you mean that they sell for more than Edmunds or Kelley state are the used values of the 'S'? If so, and all things being absolutely equal (same miles, color, options, zip code) then that would indicate a lower than anticipated depreciation, and would truly be a premium. There are Base models which sell for more than some 'S' models, and if one is looking for a used car, they should probably go for the most car for the money, Base or 'S'.

True the 'S' has a better torque curve and outright more power. But, almost 35% (55,604) of all Boxsters sold were the Base model before the 'S' was introduced. Consider that Boxster production was 50/50% Base/'S' since 2000, and so since then, 52,198 of each model have been produced. (source Porsche Group Annual Report).

But, if people weren't overwhelmingly satisfied with the Base, the production of the 'S' model would never have occured. It wasn't introduced due to lagging sales, all units produced, Base and 'S', were sold in 2000, 2001, 2002. Sales didn't start to lag until the '03 model year and have been doing so ever since.

I drive a '99. It's not a Base, because there was no 'S' available to choose from - it's a pre-'S'. For two seasons now I have driven it and I have also driven several 'S' models. While the 'S' does have more bottom-end, it doesn't have that much more and while it's got more power, again, not appreciably so. I can honestly say that for what I use the car for, my Pre- 'S' is perfect and the additional price and maintenance costs of the 'S' (Headers, Exhaust, Brakes all more expensive), it would be a waste. I could trade it for an 'S' today if I wanted to, but I don't.

Some people drive it harder, or Track the car and for this, the 'S' would be an improvement (albeit slight). And for some, they just have to run in the Big Dog pack (no value judgement, some simply do), and so nothing but the 'S' will satisfy (for these people, if an RS model were produced, they'd ditch their 'S' in favor of the RS in a heartbeat). Also, recently it seems, we're experiencing a large influx from the Ricer Crowd as Boxsters become more affordable. This is evidenced by the numerous Header, Intake, Forced Aspiration, Spoiler threads we've seen in the past few months. That's OK, but it's certainly influenced the traditional overall view of the Finesse over Power debate.

But, you get 99.9% of the Boxster experience in the Pre- 'S' or Base model, and this is something which is rarely communicated to prospective buyers. You can get into it for thousands less and for the most part, unless you belong to one of the aforementioned groups, you'll be very satisfied.

For the most part, virtually all Sports Cars (MGs, Triumphs, Lotus, Porsche (save a few special models), Austin-Healeys and such) were traditionally underpowered, especially when compared with their American contemporaries. But, they offered styling, handling, lightness, close-quarter fit like a glove, which attracted people in droves. The Boxster nestles neatly into this tradition

People looking to buy a used Boxster should truly drive both models. If done unbiasedly, I suspect many people won't see the physical advantages of the 'S' worth the additional cost (I'm not accounting for Bling or Bragging Rights). Some will, to be sure, but I believe that many won't...

Happy Motoring!... Jim'99
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Old 10-04-2006, 08:33 AM   #19
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BentleyJava,

Have you made your purchase yet? I had the exact same dilemma as you - I wanted to spend about $28K - $33K, and was debating between a 2001/2002 'S' or a 2003 Base. I took 60 days to research and call around to hound technicians in IL & MI to get their opinions. I also test drove 8 Boxsters before I decided on my car, a 2001 'S' with the sport package. Maybe you won't be surprised by what the techs told me, but I was... slightly.

Test Drives:
1998 2.5 Silver
2001 2.7 Lapis
2001 3.2 Meridian Metallic
2002 3.2 Black
2002 3.2 Black
2003 2.7 Black
2006 2.7 (Silver - service loaner discounted 10%)
2001 3.2 Arctic Silver (my car)

Sales people want to push toward the newer car, or at least whatever they have in stock. I made an effort to walk past them and talk to the guys in service. This is where I get a lot of my info from. Feel free to correct any numbers that are incorrect. EVERY SINGLE tech told me the same thing - a 2003 is a better overall vehicle than a 2001/2002 & a 2005/2006 is much improved over every Boxster before it, but for performance, the 'S' in any model year is a better choice than the base in ANY MODEL YEAR. Now that's for performance minded people only. I realize that the glass rear window, improved front fascia & glovebox mean a lot to people. It meant a lot to me, I just didn't go with it. EVERY TECH said this, though. EVERY ONE!!!! And to be honest with you, I agree.

I was able to test drive a few of the 'S' models for 30 minutes - hour, and I can tell you that even a 2001/2002 S feels quicker than a 2006 base, let alone a 2003 Base. Here's why: It's not just hp, the S has considerably more torque. Even a 2006 base model has only 199 lb/ft. I'm not sure about a 2003 - maybe 195 lb/ft??? Not sure. The first Gen 'S's have 225. And yes, it matters. Add to that, that you get 1/2 litre of displacement and 6 short gears that are closely spaced to improve acceleration. Even if the "numbers" don't seem all that far off, the "feeling" does. I'm serious when I say that a 2001/2002 'S' feels faster than a 2006 Base. I couldn't really afford the 2006, but they wanted me to drive it so I figured "why not?" And of course... the brakes & suspension on the S...

I'm certainly not a Porsche expert - I am new to the family (08/02/06) but from my research, and test drives combined with talking to guys at: Loeber Porsche, Rizza Porsche, Napleton Porsche, Porsche Exchange, Fred Lavery Porsche & Midwest Eurosport, this is the advice I'm giving you. A used S is only marginally more expensive, but the overall value seemed worth it to me. Your service bills are surprisingly going to be the same on a Boxster, whether you drive a base or an 'S.'

Happy hunting - swing the 'S' if you can.
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Old 10-04-2006, 09:47 AM   #20
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Thanks to everyone for all of your interesting posts.

I still haven't made a decision - The only Boxster I have driven is a 99 base, which is where I caught the bug. I just love this car. My first car was a Miata (which I loved) and I currently have a TT (for commuting). My father used to race MG Midgets in the UK and is also a huge Porsche fan, he's owned a 924, 944 and currently a 993. He also worked in the car industry for 20 years and still swears that out of every car he's even driven, the 944 had the best steering, followed by a Ferrari 355 and then the Boxster. He's my old man, so who am I to argue.

I think you're all right that I'm going to be happy no matter which Boxster I end up with. I'll take the advice and drive the 02S and the 03...or maybe I'll hold out for an 03S....

I'm enjoying even thinking about owning this car, so I can't imagine what it's going to be like when I can park one outside my house...

-Adam

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