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Discussion Starter #1
There are apparently several people in here that were former S2000 owners, and even more who are familiar with the car, so I hope I can get some good answers to some of my questions.

I've had an S2000 for 4 years, and 3 of those years it has been a 2nd car/weekend warrior for me. I've always told myself that the only cars I would get rid of it for would be something made by Porsche or something made by Lotus. I've been a Porsche fan for 20 years, but sort of from afar. I've only driven a base model 1st gen Boxster. Now the thoughts of trading in the S2K for a Cayman have been creeping back into my mind.

Since this is purely a toy, my budget has me looking at a 2006, maybe 2007 Cayman S, or up to a 2008 Cayman. I've read about a lot of people getting a Cayman S and not regretting it... but I haven't read about many S2000 to base Cayman switches. Would I be underwhelmed?

Things I like about the S2000 are: the transmission/shifter, the tossability, the reliability, and the fact that I can wrench on it myself. I've autocrossed a few times and that's fun. I have a hardtop that I never take off, so I know I won't miss the top down part of it. I do not enjoy the lack of torque. My fear is that the Cayman might not be "enough" of an upgrade for me to make the switch, and the Cayman S is the only choice. If that is true, I'm worried that a used '06 or '07 with 50K+ miles might have some reliability issues I don't want to deal with.

What say you, Cayman owners?
 

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I say if you are serious... go to a Porsche dealership and test drive a Cayman or Boxster.
BUT only if your serious...
because after that test drive... the smile is hard to get off your face...
and from there it is a very slippery slope... and curvy windy road !
 

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I think you will enjoy switching to a Cayman S. Both cars handle very well. 2 of my brothers each owned S2000's and loved it. When they "test drove" my car the first thing they both said was, "Wow, this car handles better than the S2000!!"
This forum will provide you with a lot of information on how to prepare your car for track/AutoX events.
 

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I think you should test drive the car for yourself and see. The S2000 is a nice car but there is a whole other level of refinement that comes with a Cayman. The base version isn't a torque monster either but it is a fantastic drive and many members here feel it's a better bang for the buck compared to the S. I had a loaner while my car was getting the paint sealant applied and it was fantastic. One thing you have to do is wring it out when you test drive it. I was really underwhelmed when I first tested the cayman but came back for successive drives, each one pushing the car further. Each time a pushed harder I was amazed at the depth of the cayman's ability, much of which comes from it extremely neutral handling and poise. Like I said drive it for yourself and see.
 

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I test drove a few S2000's right before Honda stopped production. My wife wanted one to replace her Miata... and I'm a big Honda fan myself.

We never bought the S2000, the interior felt a tad small, and the lack of engine updates didn't sell us. Honda (like they did with the NSX) let the car go for too many years with out a bump in HP. The car looked fast enough on paper, but just didn't translate the feel-of-speed the way we were expecting.

I forgot what they called that last year special edition (it came with a hard top) and looked fantastic in bright yellow. But the car just didn't have the road feel, power, and handling that we were looking for.

So we kept the Miata for a few more years... and then went to drive a Cayman one day, just for the hell of it (I'm a Honda fan-boy, but I got tired of waiting for the next NSX or S2000).

DON'T DO IT! You will get hooked! The base Cayman (Gen II) is the car I was hoping the S2000 was going to be. Just a fantastic car with the right amount of HP and Handling for the perfect street sports car. And if you want to bump-up the performance another notch (to a NSX level) the Cayman S (Gen II) is the way to go. I also test drove the Base Cayman (Gen 1)... I think it was equal to the S2000 as far as the feel of speed. So I'd look for a Cayman S if your budget is sticking to Gen 1 cars (2006-08).

I think Honda builds the worlds best engine from an engineering point of view. But Porsche is another step-up with the Cayman when it comes to handling, steering feedback, and the ability to feel the road and the sensation of speed.
 

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I'm one of the people that have previously owned the S2000. I sold the S2000 and bought an E46 M3. Although the M3 had way more power than the S2000, it still didn't feel right. It felt too big and heavy. I then sold the M3 and moved into a Cayman S. It was just what I was looking for. I never did like using the convertible top on the S2000 and the only thing I missed was the shifter. Like what has been previously stated, the Cayman was more refined yet it still handles like a go kart.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm one of the people that have previously owned the S2000. I sold the S2000 and bought an E46 M3. Although the M3 had way more power than the S2000, it still didn't feel right. It felt too big and heavy. I then sold the M3 and moved into a Cayman S. It was just what I was looking for. I never did like using the convertible top on the S2000 and the only thing I missed was the shifter. Like what has been previously stated, the Cayman was more refined yet it still handles like a go kart.
I read a previous post by you some 2-3 years back on the subject, and that was very helpful. Sort of like you, I also used to have a BMW. The 335i was more powerful (the way I had it tuned) than an E46 M3, but it didn't have the handling capability. Still, I felt that despite the gobs of torque and straight-line speed, it was not as fun to drive as the S2000 because of that big and heavy feel. I like my sports cars light and tossable, which is why I like the S2000 (and presumably the Cayman and Lotus).

I'm pretty positive that the Cayman S will be a clear and appropriate upgrade from my S2000, and that I won't miss the S2K TOO bad. What I'm not sure about is whether I'd be selling myself short by getting a Gen I Cayman (non-S). On paper, the Cayman doesn't really seem to be all that much of an upgrade... but I know enough to know that you don't drive cars on paper. I do plan on test driving a Cayman of course before making a decision, but I was hoping for the opinions of some owners, because a test drive only tells you so much.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I test drove a few S2000's right before Honda stopped production. My wife wanted one to replace her Miata... and I'm a big Honda fan myself.

We never bought the S2000, the interior felt a tad small, and the lack of engine updates didn't sell us. Honda (like they did with the NSX) let the car go for too many years with out a bump in HP. The car looked fast enough on paper, but just didn't translate the feel-of-speed the way we were expecting.

I forgot what they called that last year special edition (it came with a hard top) and looked fantastic in bright yellow. But the car just didn't have the road feel, power, and handling that we were looking for.

So we kept the Miata for a few more years... and then went to drive a Cayman one day, just for the hell of it (I'm a Honda fan-boy, but I got tired of waiting for the next NSX or S2000).

DON'T DO IT! You will get hooked! The base Cayman (Gen II) is the car I was hoping the S2000 was going to be. Just a fantastic car with the right amount of HP and Handling for the perfect street sports car. And if you want to bump-up the performance another notch (to a NSX level) the Cayman S (Gen II) is the way to go. I also test drove the Base Cayman (Gen 1)... I think it was equal to the S2000 as far as the feel of speed. So I'd look for a Cayman S if your budget is sticking to Gen 1 cars (2006-08).

I think Honda builds the worlds best engine from an engineering point of view. But Porsche is another step-up with the Cayman when it comes to handling, steering feedback, and the ability to feel the road and the sensation of speed.
The Honda you test drove was the S2000 CR version, which is something similar to a Cayman R vs. a Cayman S. It's the more track oriented version that comes with a slightly better suspension, areodynamics, and saves a little weight by removing the soft top and other stuff.

I suspect you're right... the Gen II base model Cayman is probably right on the money for me, and the Gen II Cayman S would be a dream. Unfortunately, I'm not in the position to drop that kind of coin on a car that I won't get to drive more than 4-5K miles per year. So, I'm back to looking at Gen I Caymans, and I'm trying to decide if the roughly $10K difference between what I can sell my S2000 and mods for and what it would cost to purchase a used Gen I Cayman is worth it. It may be in my better interest to spring another $5K on top of that and just get a Cayman S... or even wait another year or two until the Gen II Caymans fall to my price range.
 

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It may be in my better interest to spring another $5K on top of that and just get a Cayman S... or even wait another year or two until the Gen II Caymans fall to my price range.
I agree. I think the Gen I base Cayman with 245 HP has about the same feel of speed as the Honda S2000 at 230 HP.

So you might want to concentrate on the Cayman S Gen 1 if you're looking to move to a faster car instead of an equal car. Or if you want the mechanical refinements that come with the new engine in the Gen II base Cayman at 265hp... all you have to do is wait, and I'd guess the prices will drop when the ALL NEW CAYMAN comes out at the end of 2012?
 

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Now for the contrarian point.....

The S2000 is considerably more raw than the Cayman. Cayman is more of a GT/tourer.

The Caymen is no torque monster either, if you want torque, go for a Turbo.

The standard Cayman shifer could only hope to be as good as the S2000 shifter.

You will miss your S2000 when you need a repair or maintenence part. If you need dealer assistance, Porsche dealers are like Honda dealers-on crack. How does $250+ for an oil change grab you?

With any 987 prior to '08, you will sweat the IMS/RMS issue-amongst other more minor things.

Good luck.

BD
 

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I made a similar switch. 05 AP2 14k with hardtop always on.
I wasn't looking for more power. I street drive only.
I prefer the shifting of the Cayman, & the power curve. I do miss the VTEC rush, but over all the power smoothness of my 2.7 wins.
I really prefer the sound of the six, even with the quiet stock exhaust.
I also spent ~ $10000 above my S2000, and I feel that I got more than my money's worth. The refinement and the quality are addictive. As is the feeling I get driving curves.
No sub $100000 car looks better to me than the Cayman.
I drove many C's & CS's, and I knew I would be happy with the 2.7 .
Try to drive several Caymans. Driving several and researching years helped make my decision easy, and a happy one.
Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Now for the contrarian point.....

The S2000 is considerably more raw than the Cayman. Cayman is more of a GT/tourer.

The Caymen is no torque monster either, if you want torque, go for a Turbo.

The standard Cayman shifer could only hope to be as good as the S2000 shifter.

You will miss your S2000 when you need a repair or maintenence part. If you need dealer assistance, Porsche dealers are like Honda dealers-on crack. How does $250+ for an oil change grab you?

With any 987 prior to '08, you will sweat the IMS/RMS issue-amongst other more minor things.

Good luck.

BD
Thanks. I wanted the contrarian point. I expect to lose the buttery-smooth short throw shifting feel of the S2000 I clearly need to do more research because I have no idea what the IMS/RMS issue is. I'm no mechanic, but just about everything I've done to my S2k, from mods to maintenance, has been done by me in my garage. I don't expect to wrench around on a Porsche, and I know the parts are much more expensive. That's one main reason I'm wanting to get the newest, lowest mileage Porsche I can afford, and why I'm a little iffy on buying an '06 CS.

I've waited this long, and I can wait a bit longer to find what I really want.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I made a similar switch. 05 AP2 14k with hardtop always on.
I wasn't looking for more power. I street drive only.
I prefer the shifting of the Cayman, & the power curve. I do miss the VTEC rush, but over all the power smoothness of my 2.7 wins.
I really prefer the sound of the six, even with the quiet stock exhaust.
I also spent ~ $10000 above my S2000, and I feel that I got more than my money's worth. The refinement and the quality are addictive. As is the feeling I get driving curves.
No sub $100000 car looks better to me than the Cayman.
I drove many C's & CS's, and I knew I would be happy with the 2.7 .
Try to drive several Caymans. Driving several and researching years helped make my decision easy, and a happy one.
Good luck.
What year, make and model do you now own? How long have you had it, and how long did you have the S2K? You sound like a very similar driver to me. I don't necessarily need a ton more power, but I would like a little more if I'm going to make the switch. The S2000 is raw, as you know, which is sometimes good, sometimes not so much.
 

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Vbb2,

You probably won't get many unbiased opinions from this website, but I concur with those who suggest a test drive.

Start with a Cayman S and then when you actually buy one I'll be looking forward to the pics.....;)
 

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I owned the S2000 ~ 1.5 yr. I did trust its reliability more than the Cayman. i never feared the VTEC range in the Honda. I rarely exceed 6500, and never 7000 in the Cayman. Just being careful.
I'm comfortable buying cars out of town. That helped me find a good buy, and good "fit" for me. I would have preferred a lighter color, but I never turn down a good deal over color. Well, I haven't yet.
As for my Cayman, here's the story.
How a not so wealthy guy drives a Cayman

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Member since 6/07. Some of you met me at the Atlanta national meeting. I was the pony tail guy helping Ken. After lusting after a Cayman ~ 3 years, I got serious early this year.
My goal: A 2.7 MT, low miles, luxury not performance options, evidence of gentle use, private party sale, some factory warranty. Oh, and prefer less than $30k.
Searched Craigslist ( Search Tempest), Autotrader, Cars.com, daily. Southeast, and SW, no salted road areas. Drove many Caymans, C & CS. Knew I would be happy with a 2.7 . Several offers declined. The more I searched, the more I wanted CPO. A private sale with CPO is fairly rare. No sales tax in Ga on a car purchased from a privare owner. A $2000 savings.
Late Febuary a new ad on Houston CL. 07 2.7 black / stone grey, ACC, heated seats, sound package plus, factory CD changer, Bi Xenons, 18" S wheels. Clear bra. Ad did not mention the 21 months of CPO remaining.
Fresh oil change & battery. Condition of interior & exterior as good as I've seen for 18,300 mi. Rear Michelins ~ 4/32nds. Very minimal revs in ranges 1 & 2.
He accepted my offer. I flew to Houston, bought it, drove home to the Atlanta area. Total cost with travel, tag, tax ( zero) title, $30k.
I've added, all from CL: 17" 5 spoke Anteras with nearly new 245/40 & 275/40 tires. I'm old, & I like sidewalls higher than shorter. Thick grey sheepskin seat covers off a 997, very snug fit (Pa). Porsche battery tender (Tn). Boxster spare tire/wheel/jack (Fla).
I guess you could call it a Craigslist Cayman. I still have less than $31k in it.
The previous owner drove it less than 2000 mi, ~ 1.3 yr. Depreciation and sales tax cost him $10,000. I think I can drive it for less than that....
 

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I owned the S2000 ~ 1.5 yr. I did trust its reliability more than the Cayman. i never feared the VTEC range in the Honda. I rarely exceed 6500, and never 7000 in the Cayman. Just being careful.
I'm comfortable buying cars out of town. That helped me find a good buy, and good "fit" for me. I would have preferred a lighter color, but I never turn down a good deal over color. Well, I haven't yet.
As for my Cayman, here's the story.
How a not so wealthy guy drives a Cayman

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Member since 6/07. Some of you met me at the Atlanta national meeting. I was the pony tail guy helping Ken. After lusting after a Cayman ~ 3 years, I got serious early this year.
My goal: A 2.7 MT, low miles, luxury not performance options, evidence of gentle use, private party sale, some factory warranty. Oh, and prefer less than $30k.
Searched Craigslist ( Search Tempest), Autotrader, Cars.com, daily. Southeast, and SW, no salted road areas. Drove many Caymans, C & CS. Knew I would be happy with a 2.7 . Several offers declined. The more I searched, the more I wanted CPO. A private sale with CPO is fairly rare. No sales tax in Ga on a car purchased from a privare owner. A $2000 savings.
Late Febuary a new ad on Houston CL. 07 2.7 black / stone grey, ACC, heated seats, sound package plus, factory CD changer, Bi Xenons, 18" S wheels. Clear bra. Ad did not mention the 21 months of CPO remaining.
Fresh oil change & battery. Condition of interior & exterior as good as I've seen for 18,300 mi. Rear Michelins ~ 4/32nds. Very minimal revs in ranges 1 & 2.
He accepted my offer. I flew to Houston, bought it, drove home to the Atlanta area. Total cost with travel, tag, tax ( zero) title, $30k.
I've added, all from CL: 17" 5 spoke Anteras with nearly new 245/40 & 275/40 tires. I'm old, & I like sidewalls higher than shorter. Thick grey sheepskin seat covers off a 997, very snug fit (Pa). Porsche battery tender (Tn). Boxster spare tire/wheel/jack (Fla).
I guess you could call it a Craigslist Cayman. I still have less than $31k in it.
The previous owner drove it less than 2000 mi, ~ 1.3 yr. Depreciation and sales tax cost him $10,000. I think I can drive it for less than that....

Cool story....thanks for sharing. Oh yeah........and CONGRATULATIONS!
 

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I do not post very much, but here's my take. I have owned Lotus elise/exige and Porsche caymanS. However, I like my s2000 CR ac/radio delete. Actually I liked it so much I sold the caymanS to get a second one. My wife thought I was crazy, but who cares. I beat on the first s2000 CR for 2 years at the track and then sold it. All I did to that car was install some goodridge brake lines, race pads, high temp brake fluid, catch can, and lots off NT01's. With just some very basic mods you have a car you can take to the track and spank. You can beat this car ugly and drive it home, weekend after weekend and it just keeps on running. The front rotors have a tendency to crack and a catch can is required, but other than that I can't think of anything else bad. The car will take a lot of abuse. Now on my second s2000 CR, I have the hondata flashpro, mugen intake, mugen header, and mugen exhaust, plus brake upgrades. The car is a little easier to work on as compared to the Lotus and Porsche. The caymanS steering is numb to me in comparison to a Lotus or s2000 CR. Of the 3 cars Lotus, Porsche, and Honda...I like the s2000 CR best as as a TOY car.
 

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Fwiw, if I were in your shoes I would seriously take a look at a NA2 (97+) NSX at the same time that you are looking at a used 1st generation Cayman.

Maintenance on Porsche's is not cheap.

The suspension on the Cayman is not as sophisticated as the one on the NSX, double wishbones all around on the NSX, McPherson front/rear on the Cayman.

The shifter on the NSX is on par with the S2000, the one on the Cayman does not come anywhere close to the NSX or S2000. I never had trouble shifting on my NSX, on the Cayman when the car gets hot at the track sometimes it does not want to get into gear. My old 996GT3 with the factory SSK had a better shifter feeling than the one on any of the 3 987's that I have had over the last 5 years (2006 Boxster S with factory SSK, 2008 Cayman S Sport with OEM SSK, 2012 Cayman R with factory SSK)

3.2L 8000 easy RPM's on the NSX vs 3.4L M97 that seems to be out of breath before hitting 6700 RPM.

Electric power steering vs hydraulic on the Cayman.

Built in factory LSD on the NSX vs having to go with aftermarket for the first generation Cayman.

Resale value on Porsche's is not that great, they depreciate quite a bit compared to a Honda/Acura. Well maintained NSX's retain their value well, 92 with 70-80k miles still being sold for 28-30k these days.

If these are non issues, then the Cayman offers a modern platform with a better steering wheel, better brakes, the ability to accommodate 17"/18"/19" wheels, modern NAV/Stereo combo, awesome Porche OEM bucket sets ( optional), Xenon's, PSM/TC/ABD, etc, etc.

I owned a NSX for 6 years so that is why I don't feel the need to own another one, but based on what you are looking in a sports car it might be worth a look.
 

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My Cayman S was better than my stock S2000. As my S2000 sits now (SC, geared, larger FSB, lowered, etc.), I prefer the S2000.
 
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