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Discussion Starter #1
A few months ago I was faced with the same decision other members have struggled with....buy a new 2.9 model?...or get a great deal on a leftover 08 "S"?

I test drove both cars, but opted for the 2009 Cayman 2.9 with PDK (no chrono)...seemed like the best choice given that it will be a non-track daily driver and also a car that will frequently endure bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Now that 4K miles have passed and I know how incredible my 2.9 Croc is, I couldn't help but wonder whether or not I made the right choice. Human nature...if the "base" is this good, could the "S" be better?

So today I went out and drove a 2007 Cayman S (w/o chrono), with 18" wheels like mine. Now that I "know" my car, it was easier to notice the differences with the "S". here's what I wondered...and what I found.

Keep in mind that this is TOTALLY subjective...

Nagging Question 1:
Does the Gen I "S" 6-speed seem faster than the Gen II "base" with PDK?

My totally subjective answer:
Yes, and maybe. I definitely noticed a difference in power off the line and more torque through 3rd gear...but not a night-and-day difference. How much? Maybe 15%. Above third gear, the two cars "felt" just about the same. 4th gear in the PDK actually seems like it has a bit more torque in the sweet spot. The "S" has more horses, but the PDK shifts faster, so my real-world 0-60 time only slightly favored the S. (Of course, I'm a little out of shifting practice.)

Burning Question 2:
What are the noticeable differences?

My totally subjective answer:
For one, the engine note. The "S" is much throatier and more imposing. You can definitely hear that dual exhaust. Second, as others have noticed, the suspension seems tighter on the Gen II. Third, shifting is more satisfying on the "S". Fourth, I now know what is meant by "trunk clunk". This "S" tester had it. My 2.9 doesn't.


Burning Question 3:
What seems the same?

My totally subjective answer:
The handling was indistinguishable between the two, as were the driver ergonomics. Most importantly, both were just about as much fun to drive.

The bottom line?

Thankfully for my sanity, I think I made the right choice with the '09.

The extra power of the "S" in the lower gears was fun, but not "oh, man, I'm really regretting my decision" fun. The speed of PDK makes up for some of the fewer horses and, although using my left foot is more enjoyable, the traffic benefits of PDK are a fair trade-off. In many of the areas that matter (for a non-track DD), both the Gen-II base PDK and Gen-I "S" are extremely similar.

If I DIDN'T need PDK and had to make the call again, I'd probably go with the "S". It's an incredible machine.

And I can only imagine how awesome the Gen II "S" must be. Especially with PDK. I'm pretty sure that would blow everything away.

Again, please keep in mind that I've subjectively compared these two models through the lens of my needs. Your mileage may vary. If you're faced with a similar choice, I hope you find this helpful. Do yourself a favor and test drive until they won't let you anymore!

It might also be interesting to know how the non-PDK Gen IIs compare. Anyone?
 

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Thanks for the great post. It's good to hear from the Gen2 non-S at last.

But really, your moral issues are unfounded: How can there be a "wrong" choice between to Caymans?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the great post. It's good to hear from the Gen2 non-S at last.

But really, your moral issues are unfounded: How can there be a "wrong" choice between to Caymans?
Excellent point! But confirmation is a wonderful thing, isn't it? !
 

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It is so nice to see someone make up their own mind based on their own needs without beating themselves up with preconceptions. You win Santa Fe's five Chile award.
 

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Great topic indeed. I wish I could be as rational....;)
 

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I was in the same boat as you, I was looking at a used CS or a brand new Gen 2 2.9

In the end it was a no brainer for me as I managed to get a brand new 2.9 with all the toys for about £4k more than a 18month old CS with slimular options.

I really like the new 2.9, I drove the old 2.7 the old S and the new 2.9 and 3.4. The new S is fantastic but for me the 2.9 was the all rounder, it was as quick around town (not when you got out on the open road etc) and was nearly £7k cheaper.

The old and the new S are great but for me the 2.9 is the sweet spot. Again only my opinion :)
 

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The only bit of personal experience I can offer is that, for me, I got tired of having a base Cayman but mine was an '08. PDK probably would've helped a lot. Wasn't terribly bothered by it status wise, though it did wear on me over time. I thought about getting an '09 Cayman S, actually, but went in a different direction. If I ever get a Cayman again, I'd definitely get an S.. more so for the name than the extra power.

It sounds like you made the right decision to me, and it's good that it was for your own reasons.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
It is so nice to see someone make up their own mind based on their own needs without beating themselves up with preconceptions. You win Santa Fe's five Chile award.
Thanks, Santa Fe! Will I be getting a plaque or trophy or some habaneros soon?

I wrote this post to help illustrate the real-world differences I experienced between those two cars...I never expected you guys to read into that and acknowledge my sensibility! Thanks, though....

I think I'll always have a little bit of "S" envy... Just as some "S" owners may have PDK envy. We always want a bit of "strange", don't we?????? (feel free to read into that as much as you like ;).
 

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Excellent post cuddy. I went through the same decision process ('08 used S or '09 new Cayman w/ PDK), but I didn't go through as thurough a the test process as you. Bloody good comparison. I bought the '09 Cayman and could not be happier. It is a great car and suits my needs and wants as a daily driver exactly. The S thing never affected me one way or another. Even after comparing an '09 S with the Cayman I bought, I still preferred the Cayman. I guess that is the reason Porsche offers both models. My biggest gripe is why everyone refers to the Cayman as 'base'. Sounds a bit sniffy to me. The Cayman and Cayman S are both fabulous cars. The S just has more power.
 

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Even after comparing an '09 S with the Cayman I bought, I still preferred the Cayman.
Couldn't agree more. The 3.4 is faster, for sure, particularly in Gen2 form, but every time I leave my car at the garrage and get an S replacement, I go through two stages:

1) While driving the S, I think "whoa this is quick. I wouldn't be sad if I owned this honey."

2) When I get my 2.7 back, I think "but God-damn isn't my one that bit more special!"

(and then (3) Why do my windows smear...)
 

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I recently drove an '08CS and an '09C back-to-back, both with 6 spds. Having owned an '07 CS myself and selling it some time ago, I was a little biased going into the recent comparo.

You can really feel the difference in torque down low....the S has that bit of extra oomph in the low range. I felt like I had to keep the revs high in the 2.9 to get the same oomph as I get in the S in the lower range. Not sure how I ultimately feel about it but I prefer the pedal feel of the S.

Handling was about the same, and brake feel was basically identical (which makes sense, since the '08CS and the '09C have the same brakes).

I will say that I was more "wowed" by the interior smell and feel in the '09C than in the '08CS, simply because the '09C was a newer car. The '08CS has been on their lot for probably ~18 months.

The '08CS was Ruby Red Metallic on Black while the '09C was Artic Silver on Black. Both with the std leather. Color combo goes to the '09C. I just can't get 100% on the Ruby Red.

I did drive the '09C for a longer period of time simply because having owned an '08CS...I didn't really need to drive it for that long. I felt more at "home" in the '08CS, but also had a lot of fun driving the '09C. The '09C felt more civil...like a daily driver while the S felt more like a wild bandit.

Ultimately, I left thinking for equal money, it's the '08CS for me. It's hard to shake the desire for the S model after having owned and driven one for 6 months. I feel like if I had never owned the S model, I might be more prone to purchase the '09C. It's a little disappointing since I like everything else about that Arctic Silver '09C except for it's lack of power. Fit, finish, color combo, options (it doesn't have xenons, which is a minus), handling, braking is all there and right on par with the '08CS.

In the end, I'm still a little torn. I'd like to spend more time with the '09C, and maybe try out an '09CS and see if I want to wait for a leftover/lightly-used one.
 

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To me it was a clear case; the CS. The difference in price is about $7 K here in the UAE. Now in order to get the LSD in the non-s cayman (LSD is a must for me), one must upgrade the non-s from 17 to 18" wheels which means another $1500.00 and the $7k drops to $5.5K. Here in the UAE the CS are very common compared to the non-s mainly for the above reason, I guess.
:thanks:
 

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Nice comp, carsteve. Especially the analogy of 'civil' to 'wild bandit' between the C and the CS. I couldn't agree more with that. Maybe even a little more so between the '09 models of each.
 

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Ultimately, I left thinking for equal money, it's the '08CS for me.

I feel like if I had never owned the S model, I might be more prone to purchase the '09C. .
Great information on the 08CS used vs 09C new, but I have two more factors...

1) Do you put any weight into the longevity of the 09 Cayman with its new engine block (new oil system, and removal of intermediate shaft, rear main oil leak problems fixed)

For anyone who wants to keep the car long term...some of the mechanical fixes in the 09 seem to be a plus?

2) For use as a daily driver... I wonder if any of you consider the Base more involving because you get to use a wider range of the engine before you are way over the speed limit?
 

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Markstudy--
I guess your last question is the crux of it...it's a personal choice. For daily driving, do you like to have to push your engine aggressively through a wider torque band, or do you want your car to respond quickly with a lighter foot needed?
I think for me, in my 2.9, I wish I had a bit more acceleration from a standstill, but this may be more to the lack of sprts chrono on my car than from not having the 3.4 CS. (The issue might be the same even on a CS without sprts chrono, where the car shifts into 2nd gear much too quickly)
 

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Markstudy-- for me, in my 2.9, I wish I had a bit more acceleration from a standstill,

(The issue might be the same even on a CS without sprts chrono, where the car shifts into 2nd gear much too quickly)
I see your point.

I remember back in my NSX days... the trick was to buy a set of short gears to make the car feel faster.

How would you describe the gear ratios in the Cayman? Is it typical German Autobahn design.... longer gears for high speed, compared the the America thinking- 0-60 times and racing from red light to red light? ;)
 

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Well I certainly feel the 2.9 is a bit of a letdown. I tend to drive around like Miss Daisy, but have the odd mad moment. 90% of the time I am left underwhelmed. I certainly prefer my old TTS on the acceleration front. Love lots of other things about the car though. I do wish I had Sport Chrono as the speed of change can seem ponderous at less than max revs. Just be nice if it was sharper.

Saying that, I dont think the CS is good value for money with the extra Porsche charge. The 2.9 is the sweetspot, but does lack something.
 

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Cuddy K

I was in the same positioin as you. I chose the 08 S leftover, sounds undesirable put that way... But anyway it was a financial matter with me. PDK would have been great, but I do love to shift. I stole my 08 and I agree how could you go wrong with a Cayman...

Happy motoring :)
 

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I believe the real answer is based on the skill of the driver.

I spent most of yesterday at the Porsche test track(s) at Silverstone with 3 good hours of track-time in a 2.9 PDK Boxster, I did some time previously in an "S" PDK demonstrator before i placed my order for comparison.

What i can so now is that for me the "Sport" button is critical to the enjoyment when driving for speed on the track or challenging road, the button changes so much about the car it has to be experienced.

For most novice to intermediate drivers I finished my day believing that a 2.9 PDK equipped car with Sports Chrono, PASM and LSD is about as quick as you need to be in most situations and that I was quicker in this car than a good percentage of casual road drivers would be in a Gen I manual "S".

I don't know if this helps but I felt very happy with the power the 2.9 had on tap and was not wanting for more (yet).
 

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Well I certainly feel the 2.9 is a bit of a letdown. I tend to drive around like Miss Daisy, but have the odd mad moment. 90% of the time I am left underwhelmed. I certainly prefer my old TTS on the acceleration front. Love lots of other things about the car though. I do wish I had Sport Chrono as the speed of change can seem ponderous at less than max revs. Just be nice if it was sharper.

Saying that, I dont think the CS is good value for money with the extra Porsche charge. The 2.9 is the sweetspot, but does lack something.
The difference in 0-100 time is about 0.6 secs which is not a huge amount. If you had the sports pack it drops to 0.3 secs difference which is nothing.

I have to admit when I had the PDK version I felt a bit like that, for me it took the enjoyment away. I know the PDK is quicker on paper but like the DSG in the ED30 it just didnt feel right. I either think you have an auto like we have in the 325d or go for a manual.

Not seen you driving round Reading mate, I seem to be the only white gen 2 at the mo..
 
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