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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've been cross shopping the TT-S Coupe, Boxster S, Z4, and M3. The TT-S has kinda won my heart with its gorgeous look inside and out, brick wall brakes, astounding grip, and on top of all that, a much lower price than the others. But perhaps I'm missing something, and I'm looking to be convinced otherwise, thus my post to the Porsche crowd.

The Z4 interior is beautiful but in a different way than the Audi, more elegant and less racy, and it has that fantastic engine, but the body roll, even in sport mode (though in fairness, I didn't really test sport-plus), seemed like too much, and it feels just a little too soft for me comparatively.

I get what some of the auto-journos say about the TT-S having less road feel than the Boxster S (same goes for the M3), but this strikes me as less important than the weight some seem to give it other than when driving at ten tenths. The TT-S otherwise seemed to have a more comfortable and forgiving ride, and since I'm going to be using the car for commuting as well as back road blasting, the TT-S would seem to offer the better balance at least comparing it to the base suspension on the S. (I didn't drive one with PASM.) Also, the Porsche interior, at least unless you spend $5-$10,000+ on options, leaves a bit to be desired, and my wife found the passenger accommodations cramped compared to the TT-S. (I walked into the dealers expecting to love the Porsche the most, but surprisingly, didn't, and once you add PASM, etc. to get it to TT-S spec comparability, the Boxster S is 40% more expensive! I'm having a hard time figuring out what I'd be buying there other than the badge, and just a little more power esp. when first taking off at the obvious expense of mileage, but would love to be enlightened.)

The M3 again has that monster engine, great road feel, and a businesslike but spacious interior, but like the Porsche, it's WAY more money once you option it up, and I feel shallow for saying this, but the shape just doesn't do it for me aesthetically, and I see so many of them on the road that it would feel like buying a $70,000 Honda. That said, BMWs also have the option of the extended maintenance program covering basically everything but tires (incl. clutches and brakes) up to 100k miles, and these dual-clutch auto-manual systems scare me - I can imagine needing to replace one of these at 90k for thousands of dollars, not to mention chewing through brakes, etc. This alone is enough to make me consider both the Z4 and M as serious alternatives.

So, Boxster S drivers, would you do it again? Did you cross-shop the same cars? Others? What problems have you had? Did you factor in other considerations I'm not mentioning here?

By way of background, I'm 39, married with a dog and one child on the way, live in the SF Bay Area, plan to use the car to commute, also have a sportbike which I've taken repeatedly to track schools, etc., and frequently drive either highway 1 or over the mountains to my in-laws in the redwoods outside Santa Cruz. (Most regular sporting Sunday drive: From the 101 to Highway 92 west to Skyline Blvd. to Highway 9 south all the way to Santa Cruz. I also regularly end up driving the very curvy highway 17 in the rain, and may move back to Santa Cruz, making this a daily commute route.) And and all thoughts appreciated.
 

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Having read your post and the types of roads & conditions you'll be driving in, if you decided to buy the Boxter S I would highly recommend opting for LSD. The Quattro TT-S is doubt good value.
 

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You should see if you can convince them to let you drive the cars you're interested in on a road similar to what you're going to be driving.

The Boxster S is probably going to have the best feel on a windy road of any car you could reasonably commute daily, other than a base model Boxster.

Cars like this don't come alive driving down Stevens Creek Auto Row, you need to get them on 9, Page Mill, etc.

I don't think 17 is all that scary in the rain, nowhere near as scary as the people who drive it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Cars like this don't come alive driving down Stevens Creek Auto Row, you need to get them on 9, Page Mill, etc.

I don't think 17 is all that scary in the rain, nowhere near as scary as the people who drive it.
Totally agreed on both counts - I actually think 17 is a lot of fun and only a pain when the idiots are out (most of the time ;)), and nowhere near as tight as 9.

Fortunately I got a little more time in all the cars than that - not nearly as long in the Boxster S or TT-S as the BMWs though. (Enough to take a few sharp curves & ramps, but nothing like a cruise up Page Mill.)
 

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When I started my search in 2007 I basically had the same list except for the Audi. After my S4 experiences I had no intention of going round with them again. So for me is was the M3, M roadster and Porsche. Porsche was either Boxster, Cayman or used 911.

I dropped the M roadster off the list simply due to range. The Z4 doesn't likely have this issue but as you note is softer.

The M3 had much going for it. Better dealer, that lovely V8, and yes it looks much like another 3 series. In some ways it seems like overpaying but I see it as stealth. Something I liked about the S4, looked like an A4 except a couple badges. And I've always liked the balance of any of the 3 series cars. The dealer and I really couldn't come to terms and more importantly it didn't drive like a Cayman.

Of the Porsches the RS60 sorta stole my heart but after I realistically considered how often I'd really have the top down dropped it from the list. A very clean 911 Targa was a close runner but after driving it vs the Cayman a couple times well in the end I bought the Cayman. Since I think of a Cayman as a Boxster sans sunroof I would expect a Boxster S to do equally well.

I've used to Cayman for commuting in the summer and don't find it overly harsh. No PASM. The M3 or 911 probably would have came off a bit more comfortable for commuting. The one thing that I find commuting in the CS is it sort of feels like using a race horse to pull a plow. It works but why bother. Pure magic though when the right bit of road is clear.
 

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I just sold my TTS (special orderd Suzuka Grey, owned for a year)...
This is what I missed/didn't like when I owned it:
-Super Light Steering
-No manual offered
-No balanced Mid-engined handling
-Leather sags/stretches in the seat area
-DSG issues... recall... lag...
-Too numb feeling

Advantages:
-Cargo space
-AWD
-Cheaper Servicing Cost
-Fuel Economy

You can see my car here:
http://353s.fotki.com/audi/353s/

 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks NavanoD (and Greywolf, Shark Racer and Capercat too). Love that color NavanoD! (I'm thinking either white or orange, or if Boxster or Cayman, white or perhaps the cream white with brown top.)

For those of you who've driven both, does the Cayman drive much differently than the Boxster?

It's interesting - I guess maybe I'm weird, but I just don't entirely get the fuss over the heavy wheel. I mean, yes, when you're really going for it, extra road feel is nice and the extra weight doesn't matter, but when I'm driving to work in the morning with a cup of coffee in my hand, I think I actually prefer the somewhat lighter weight, and I still certainly found the ride totally engaging. You point it in a direction, and it goes exactly where you point, fast, hard and smooth, snow, rain or shine, but when you want to just cruise, you can just put it in D and cruise.

I guess I'm talking myself into this - I was won over by the really noticeably better ride & interior of the TT-S while still remaining nearly if not just as quick and sporty as the Boxster S. Perhaps the super communicative feel matters more when you get to the point of sliding around on a track and wanting to throttle steer it a lot, but for ordinary street driving, or even up to 8 or 9/10 fast driving, the better ride in the Audi seems like a worthwhile tradeoff.

One thing does really concern me though - I've seen the stuff about the recall, what was your experience here? Why did you end up selling yours and what are you swapping to?
 

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Although I've never driven a TTS, I want to comment on how the "feel" is like in the Boxster (and I'm sure in the Cayman too). I always feel like I'm "wearing" the car not just driving it. I feel like one with her. Every other car I've driven just feels like I'm driving a machine, not Porsche, it feels like we're linked telepathically!
 

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"married with a dog and one child on the way, live in the SF Bay Area, plan to use the car to commute, also have a sportbike which I've taken repeatedly to track schools, etc., and frequently drive either highway 1 or over the mountains to my in-laws in the redwoods outside Santa Cruz" = forks in the road.

Assuming another safe and sizable vehical to haul the kid (and the people/gear that happily accompanies for the next 15 years or so), a Boxter S (+ right exhaust system) might be be the "rational" (noise/tingle/grin/risk level) replacement for bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
"married with a dog and one child on the way, live in the SF Bay Area, plan to use the car to commute, also have a sportbike which I've taken repeatedly to track schools, etc., and frequently drive either highway 1 or over the mountains to my in-laws in the redwoods outside Santa Cruz" = forks in the road.

Assuming another safe and sizable vehical to haul the kid (and the people/gear that happily accompanies for the next 15 years or so), a Boxter S (+ right exhaust system) might be be the "rational" (noise/tingle/grin/risk level) replacement for bike.
Yep - I haven't decided to sell the bike just yet but was thinking the sme thing. This car is actually a replacement for my wife's Honda. We totaled it on the 18th of last month when I was in a multicar pileup caused by this lying clown not paying attention and slamming into the car in front of him in traffic (he then later made up a story trying to make it my fault, though thankfully he's such an idiot he contradicted what he told the CHP on the scene). She's going to drive the F150 SuperCrew from now on, and I'll drive whatever sports car I buy.

The wife is not pressuring me to get rid of the bike at all, but funnily enough, after the accident, I'm feeling it myself. We got rear ended in stopped traffic after the a-hole two cars behind us hit the car behind us, rammed her into us, and us into the car in front of us, and I can't escape the feeling that on the bike, I would likely have been seriously injured. And a few years ago, we got clipped from behind in the same Honda by a drunk pulling out of a bar in L.A., no injuries in the car, but the same logic applies - if I'd been on the bike, I would not have avoided it coming from behind like that, and would likely have been seriously injured. Of course, I've dodged a few mishaps on the bike that would have ended badly in a car by virtue of increased maneuverability, but I may be feeling my mortality and sense of responsibility more than I used to, and I can't escape the feeling that the level of people's driving in this country has really dropped precipitously in the last 25 years.
 

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Design wise especially the interior, the audi tts is stylish tour d' force. You gotta love those baseball mit seats.

With that said, while i haven't driven the latest 2010, the last TTS I drove had overboosted numb steering , felt quite heavy for a small car when you really got on it, was not partiularly stiff, with a bit of cowl shake. Not to mention the turbo lag. I mean all the makeup in the world is not going to hide the underpinnings of what essentially amounts to an overboosted 4 wheel drive 4 cylinder beetle.

Look it's your dough but if you want to buy what is trully a supercar for the real world. Which can connect you to the road the way few other cars can. A car which has the balance of a gymnist. Then you really want a boxster. The TTS while nice is still a sportscar-lite in my book.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Design wise especially the interior, the audi tts is stylish tour d' force. You gotta love those baseball mit seats.

With that said, while i haven't driven the latest 2010, the last TTS I drove had overboosted numb steering , felt quite heavy for a small car when you really got on it, was not partiularly stiff, with a bit of cowl shake. Not to mention the turbo lag. I mean all the makeup in the world is not going to hide the underpinnings of what essentially amounts to an overboosted 4 wheel drive 4 cylinder beetle.

Look it's your dough but if you want to buy what is trully a supercar for the real world. Which can connect you to the road the way few other cars can. A car which has the balance of a gymnist. Then you really want a boxster. The TTS while nice is still a sportscar-lite in my book.
Thanks GTSilver. You sound a lot like the guys on LotusTalk comparing the Elise SC or Exige to the Cayman. ;)

I wouldn't go so far - heck, the TT-S very nearly keeps up with the Cayman S and Carrera S in C&D's Most Recent Lightning Lap and they seemed to get the same impression from driving it that I did, and that's on a big track with long straights that favors big HP. No cowl shake or perception of flex in the one I drove or reviews I've read either, it just felt perfectly solid, but perhaps the one you drove was off or needed tightening up (and if it was a roadster, I imagine this would be a little less stiff than the coupe I drove as well).

The more I think about it, the more it seemed to me like the TT-S coupe gave just about the ideal combo for me - comfort and design plus an entertaining ride and speed when you want it. Of course, if you're one of those few drivers spending a lot of time on the track, then yes, being able to wring out that last 1% may matter more than for even most sports car drivers, but otherwise, in the real world where you're much more often taking a fast cruise up a local twisty road at 6/10 rather than 9/10 and also commuting every day on crappy highways, it seems like the Audi's balance of comfort, quickness and handling make a better compromise. But I guess it's different strokes! I think I've talked myself into a TT-S.
 

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Thanks GTSilver. You sound a lot like the guys on LotusTalk comparing the Elise SC or Exige to the Cayman. ;)

I wouldn't go so far - heck, the TT-S very nearly keeps up with the Cayman S and Carrera S in C&D's Most Recent Lightning Lap and they seemed to get the same impression from driving it that I did, and that's on a big track with long straights that favors big HP. No cowl shake or perception of flex in the one I drove or reviews I've read either, it just felt perfectly solid, but perhaps the one you drove was off or needed tightening up (and if it was a roadster, I imagine this would be a little less stiff than the coupe I drove as well).

The more I think about it, the more it seemed to me like the TT-S coupe gave just about the ideal combo for me - comfort and design plus an entertaining ride and speed when you want it. Of course, if you're one of those few drivers spending a lot of time on the track, then yes, being able to wring out that last 1% may matter more than for even most sports car drivers, but otherwise, in the real world where you're much more often taking a fast cruise up a local twisty road at 6/10 rather than 9/10 and also commuting every day on crappy highways, it seems like the Audi's balance of comfort, quickness and handling make a better compromise. But I guess it's different strokes! I think I've talked myself into a TT-S.
I hear what you are saying and yes I drove a TTS convertible as opposed to the coupe which of course would be stiffer.

Listen, I can see why you'd like the TTS it is imo a very good sports car. But the Bosxter/Cayman are great sports cars. While I'm not a huge fan of the auto mags, even they have consistantly rated the Boxster/Cayman at top of their class.

And were not just talking about being a track star here like the elise (although the Boxster and Cayman give up little on the track to the Lotus) It's really all about the setup: a mid engine NA 6, perfectly balanced steering, a very well set up suspension package, ideal geometry and great brakes. All this in a rigid lightweight package. Believe me the difference between the Boxster/Cayman and most other cars out there is immediately noticable the first time you get going down a twisty bit of balcktop. And the greatness of this car reveals itself to you everyday you drive it.

The problem I had with the TTS was once ou get beyond the superior design and finish it didn't seem that different a drive than some of the souped up Lancers, WRXi etc., i've driven around the block a couple of times. No dis they are very good cars but for me the boxster/cayman are in a class by themselves.

If you prefer the comfort and style of the TTS than definitely go for it. I wish you the best but hey you asked for our opinions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Absolutely I did, and I'm much obliged for the input! I went back and drove it again this afternoon but was convinced and went ahead and placed my order. Let the wait begin. :)
 

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I forgot to mention, the TT-S carries a big K-04 turbo, it can be quite laggy before it decides to fire, scooting across a busy intersection from a stand still may be a bother. Enjoy their not a bad little number.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I forgot to mention, the TT-S carries a big K-04 turbo, it can be quite laggy before it decides to fire, scooting across a busy intersection from a stand still may be a bother. Enjoy their not a bad little number.
Thanks - yeah, before I pulled the trigger I drove it again (good advice Shark Racer), not too far but longer and harder and on some more interesting roads.

I actually thought the wheel on this one was plenty heavy, perhaps not quite as much as the M3 or Boxster S but just the right level of "meat" when taking a corner at speed, yet still very commutable. You're right though Capercat, the one thing I noticed is that it does seem to take off a little slower for that first second from a stop (or at least if you're gentle on the throttle - maybe you need to really hit it if you want it to launch and I didn't want to try this on a brand new car that I wasn't buying). I don't think this is the turbo though, as it should have more than enough power even with the turbo contributing nothing to push the car off the line instantly - I think it's the DSG deciding that it's really time to go. I tried it in sport mode with a little more gas but without gunning it, and it seemed to take off noticeably faster, and I'll be curious to see how mine responds if I actually give it some real gas when taking off - could be that the DSG thinks you just want to roll off the line unless you hit it, in order to avoid launching you into the car in front of you. :)
 

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I don't think you went wrong with the TT-S. This was the other car I was closely comparing to the Cayman. For me, 90% of this purchase was about those little "road feel" things, which is why I settled on the Cayman. If you drove both and the Porsche didn't justify the price difference for you, then that's all that matters. I think the TT-S is really a very nice package that I'm sure you'll love.

Congrats!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I don't think you went wrong with the TT-S. This was the other car I was closely comparing to the Cayman. For me, 90% of this purchase was about those little "road feel" things, which is why I settled on the Cayman. If you drove both and the Porsche didn't justify the price difference for you, then that's all that matters. I think the TT-S is really a very nice package that I'm sure you'll love.

Congrats!
Thanks XMatt. I was digging around and now realize this may just be a feature of these automanual dual clutch gearboxes - I see forum references and articles describing lag issues for the 911 PDK and Boxster PDK, the M3 DCT as well (though theirs seems to center more around hitting it when already rolling than from a stop). I've also seen some references to how to drive properly around it and/or retrain the DSG, so hopefully I figure it out as long as I don't have the problems that some of the prior owners have had with failing mechatronic units and temp sensors (the latter resulting in the recall), etc., and hopefully Audi has dealt with these by now. Wish me luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
:picsplz::picsplz::picsplz::picsplz::picsplz::picsplz::picsplz::picsplz:
Please:dance:
No worries, will post pics as soon as she arrives!

Of course, she has to be manufactured first (no matching units to be found), and now, after NavanoD's post, I'm surfing like crazy on DSG issues and getting paranoid... and given the reports of PDK and M3 DCT hesitation issues as well, wondering if I don't need to get a manual Cayman instead...
 
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