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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I took my pristine 2011 987.2 base in for some minor service last week. I was given a 2015 981 base for the loaner. I knew they shouldn't have loaned it to me, but I couldn't resist. The sticker was in the trunk, and it is optioned out to about 70k. I drove it for 4 days. Here are my thoughts:

1. The 981 is a major upgrade in the interior. Makes my 987.2 feel old school. I never liked the 987.1 interior. The 987.2 interior is ok, but not great (carpet on the doors???). The 981 is a huge jump inside and feels like it matches the price. I immediately noticed how much more comfortable and nicer the 14 way seats are. It also feels like the cabin is quite a bit larger, perhaps an illusion, but a good one. I feel like I have a bit more space to spread out. The console, however, has no storage space at all. The little cubby under the radio is gone. The top is improved, and with the top up it doesn't feel like a convertible at all. At first I thought the automatic top latch was silly, but it grew on me after some use. Loved the quality and feel of the interior... it was just great.

2. The car in general feels a touch larger. And it is, but only very slightly. Perhaps it's the improved cabin, but the whole thing seems larger. Good or bad..? For me, good for overall comfort as a daily driver.

3. This car had the optional power steering plus. As soon as I hopped in I noticed how soft the steering was and hated it. Very noticeable coming from a 987. It does firm up at speed, but I still wasn't thrilled. I don't know why anyone would want it. Yuck.

4. The exhaust note (with the optional sports exhaust turned off) was noticeably improved. With the sports exhaust turned on, it was fantastic, but not sure about the crazy price for that option.

5. Brakes were much better that the 987.

6. MT Shifter was somewhat improved. Felt great at notchy. Didn't stall once,.. which I can't say about my 987. Everything for the driver falls to place even better than the 987, which was great to start with.

7. Optional sports suspension. Didn't notice it at first. It did seem rather jiggly over rough patches of roads. Personally, I wouldn't pay for it.

8. Auto start/stop surprised me at first. Once I realized what was going on, I kind of liked it.

9. Stock tires had way more road noise than the stocks on my 987.

10. Stereo and nav : Had the optional Bose. After I tuned it and got rid of the Bose "thumping" it actually sounded and worked great. I was quite pleased with all aspects of it, and I'm fairly picky about these things. The FM sounded like crap though (worse than my CDR-30) until the HD radio kicked in, then it was very good. Nav was pretty good.

So, all-in-all, I really liked the car. Here are my impressions after getting back in my 987.2:

1. Much better steering. Worse brakes. My 987 drives more like a go-cart, which I like! It felt small and confining inside. The interior felt like I was going back in time 25 years.

2. I like the front end styling of the 987 more, but that's obviously very subjective.
 

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Thanks for the nice review.
 

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Good points, I too like the 981 better then my past ride, I think that the car has improved to the point that, as you say "matches the price."

I spent nearly 7 years in a 987 but now would have to say the there is no going back! :)
 

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I loved my 981 CS, but it felt bigger and less go-carty compared to my 987.2 Spyder, which really feels viseral. And the steering is better on the Spyder. Brakes are just as good on the track I'd say (one DE event in each).

The 987.2 interio is retro, but still looks good (no carpet on the doors in the Spyder). And it is delightfully simple compared to all the buttons in the 981. I notice it right away in my Macan. Lots and lots of real estate devoted to buttons on the console. The 987 is clean. Just a real handbrake. Can't get one of those on the 981 either.
 

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From my point of view, the steering feel is one of the most important characteristics when I buy a car, with that in mind, I will take a 987 before I take a 981. But with that said, I've only driven 986/987's, and currently own a 987.2 S.
 

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I too think the interior is a big improvement in the 981 over the 987. Although with the 981 there seems to be way to many buttons and switches that make for an overly busy appearance IMO. I find it easier to relax and focus in a cabin that is much less busy.
 

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Sorry this is meant to be funny...

In a market that has turned to the SUV's as the luxury status car of the moment (I parked at a restaurant last night, and it was 10 SUV's and one car in my section)... I make a joke that the 981 got slightly bigger, slightly softer, and even got Porsche's big SUV interior shoehorned in to it. All in an effort to appeal to SUV buyers who want bigger, softer, more comfort and luxury (even in a sports car).

The 987 in comparison is too small, too raw, too hard to squeeze into... its a go-cart. Not what luxury SUV owner want after floating around town in their living room size cockpit on an overstuffed leather chair.

I'm so happy Porsche made the 987. Its a raw sports car like the 1960 and 70's.... but with all new parts vs buying a 40 year old car. Its getting harder to find a car with less stuff (luxury) between me and the road. ;)
 

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987 is a little small for me inside. I am 6'2" and about 235. WIth the seat all the way back I felt too close to the windshield and not low enough to have a clear view of the road when compared to both the 981 and the 991.

987= small
981= medium + Face 1" further away from wind shield
991= large +1.5-2"
 

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As noted above, the 987 interior *is* old school; it really was even before it went out of production. That quality is something a lot of people like about it, particularly since aside from the styling it all works very well, uses quality materials (mostly) and is well put together.

You never mentioned your perception of relative performance differences between the two cars?
 

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Op - you mention that the brakes are better on the 981 than on the 987 and I can understand why you may say that, but I am of the opinion that it is no more than an increase in brake sevo effort that gives this impression. I have no complaints with 987 brakes, as although they require more effort, you can modulate them better and they certainly don't lack stopping power if you need them.
 

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...and, if you plop the gt3 master cylinder into a 987, the pedal feel is better than a stock 981. Less effort and reduced travel = more confidence. Like Trev says, while they may feel different, they are in no way inadequate or inferior than the 981.
 

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I had a 987. I have a 981. It's totally understandable that posters here are focusing on the differences. Backing away from the trees to see the forest, however, for the most part they are very much alike. Both are great cars, and indeed many of the differences we label "better" or "worse" are so labeled as a function of our subjective tastes. When compared to any other car (even a 911), the 987 and 981 then becmone relatively almost identical in my view. Again, I've had 'em both.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
As far as performance between the cars, I felt like I could notice the 10HP increase of the 981. It actually felt like a bit more than 10HP to me. The 981 gearbox was slicker, the brakes improved, and everything else felt more refined, except for that terrible power steering plus (option). As a daily driver I would prefer the refinement. As an occasional driver I think I actually prefer less refined. Oh, and it did feel just a touch larger, and it is.
 
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