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I am currently deciding whether to buy a 996 Turbo/GT2/3 or a Cayman S. I have around $170k..

Here in Australia (not sure how it is in the USA etc.) the prices of both 996's and the Cayman are very similar.

Can anyone here provide some insight into the differences/advantages/disadvantages of the respective cars?

And additionally why did you choose the Cayman over a 996?

Thanks.
 

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What Sam said.

In my early shopping about a year ago, I also seriously considered the 996 turbo. Test drove back to back the Cayman S, no pasm etc., and the 996 turbo with all the hyper-performance options (except no ceramic brakes). Both tiptronic, both "red brakes", etc. Were about the same price. While the turbo was truly like riding bareback on a wild beast (that's how a lot of 4 wheel drive cars feel to me - S8 is another), by instant comparison it was noticeably "floatier" in the front end than the Cayman, which simply felt glued to the ground at all 4 corners. And frankly, putting the foot down gave a close enough facsimile to the "wildebeest" feeling that the steering/front-end float tipped the balance.

Adding in the practical advantages of having the hatchback in addition to the front-trunk and package shelf (which is about the extent of function of the 996's "vestigial backseat"), there is really no contest which of the two designs is more liveable.

Cayman S took it away for me; one look at the PDE1 and the longing began. More than a year later, having watched the same car at the local dealer sitting unsold the entire time, I finally made the deal and the car's been exactly as liveable as I expected it to be, and that's before I've had the chance to get the child seat stuff installed for taking my dot around town with me.

Drive both and see where the variant factors measure up for you; it's difficult to make an incorrect choice between the two you're considering. It's more like the old Supreme Court Justice Potter Stuart's statement about pornography: you'll know it [in this case, which model better suits what you need and want] when you see it.
 

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I also looked at a 996TTX50 before settling on the Cayman S. The big advantage of the 996TT is obviously the power. It's explosive. However, it is also a heavy car by comparison, about 500 lb heavier than the Cayman and you can feel it. It doesn't feel nimble like the Cayman. It doesn't feel as solidly planted as somebody else has already noted. When you take it into a fast sweeping turn, the front end feels light and doesn't give you encouraging feedback like the Cayman does. The 996TT actually has lots of grip but you have to learn to trust the car. The Cayman's handling feels more intuitive. It was these differences that sold me on the Cayman.

Now the 996 GT2/GT3 are a different story altogether. I haven't driven these, but everything I read says those are serious driver's cars. However, they don't have PASM like the 997 models, so you'll be in for a very stiff ride.
 

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I traded my 2002 996 for a 2008 Cayman 2.7 (having moved from California to the east coast, I found it's pretty hard to use 300hp and keep your licence!). I had turned the 996 into a Silver State Classic racecar so the comparison isn't perfect, but the key upsides of the Cayman are:
- Lots more luggage space
- A less floaty front end than a stock 996 (I fitted RoW M030 suspension to the 996 in the end, which cured the float but rattled my teeth over expansion joints)
- A back end I feel happier leaning on: I can feel what's going on back there, whereas I always had trouble finding the line between load-of-traction and oops-there-goes-the-tail in the 996
- With PASM, handling as communicative as a M030 996, and ride better than stock 996

I miss
- being able to install a rollbar easily thanks to the back seat space
- The torque of the 3.6 litre engine
- The menacing looks of a midnight blue narrow 996...
 

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I have a Cayman S, but have driven several 996 GT3's. After several track seasons in a ZO6, the Cayman is way down on power, so I miss that, and the GT3 obviously is closer in that regard. I had a 997S for a year, so I had time to become accustomed to the rear weight bias, although the GT3 is much more neutral than a stock 997S. Given some orientation time, I don't think you will have any problems in learning the GT3's handling dynamics. No, it does not have PSM or PASM. But, I don't see that as an issue. I turn PSM off when on track anyway. The Cayman is a delight to drive, very neutral and forgiving. Combined with its modest power level, it is an ideal car for someone getting started in high performance driving, or, for someone looking for a pure street car. For an experienced driver, especially with track use in mind, the GT3 is simply a more capable car, and very durable. The Cayman can be made as fast on track, but you end up spending as much or more than a stock GT3. All depends on your intended use. And if you care about this sort of thing, nothing sounds much better than the wail of a GT3 at high rpms.
 

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I recently took a hard look into a TT996. I currently own a 2007 CS, I was looking to trade-up for my daily driver.
I test drove the 996 for almost 2 hours. I loved the ridiculous power of the 2xturbo and the "respect" that it commanded from every car around it. I was very close to pulling the trigger on this car.
However, I did not... and when I drove my CS back home from the dealer, I was happy with my decision. For me, the Cayman S is a better "driving" car. It's nimble and crisp steering response is the best of any car I have ever driven.

In summary,
I felt a bit humbled by the 996 power. It is pure speed. It's a heavier feeling car with an intimidating squat and pull factor that will terrify your friends.
The Cayman S is a cornering surgeon. It is effortless in every turn, an axis attached at your hips. It's a carnival ride without the fear.

For a daily driver I am all for the CS.
For the track and scaring friends... it's a TT996.
 

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I sold my 996 C4S for my 08 CS. Love the mid engine handling of the Cayman S, but I miss the power coming out of corner on an all-wheel drive 911.

I would choose the GT3/GT2 over a CS. but I would take a CS over a 996 Turbo.
 
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