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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Howdy folks, i am in a situation where i have two wonderful options to choose between:

• 987.1 Cayman (2008 2.7l)
Or
• BMW 135i (2008-2010 n54 engine)

I actually have the Cayman right now (I have the PSE system and sport package with chrono), its frankly an amazing car and it handles like a dream, but I’ve come to the realization that if i want more power (substantial increase) i will have to dump atleast $8k+ ($CAD) into it. With long tube headers running for $3k alone it pushes me away from seeing a future where i can tune this car. Granted, in twists and turns this car is amazing, but i want a bit more kick out of the straights. I know some of you will suggest to sell the 2.7 for the 3.4l but that is a bit out of my price range and I am not looking to do that.

The bmw 135i seems like a good call in this case, to my understanding the n54 engine has a ton of tuning potential and I’ve always been interested in throwing a big single turbo in one of these. Of course the 135i doesn't have a LSD (neither does my Cayman), and its also around 200lbs heavier than my 987.1 and has a longer wheel base so I'm sure I’ll notice the difference in handling.

That being said...I wanted to get some input on what people think about this move, and whether or not it makes sense. And perhaps gives some insight on reliability and what i can expect if i go down the 135i route with a n54. And perhaps any other cars within this price range, I was also intrigued by the E46 M3. I know this is a Porsche forum and I might get some bias or flack, but any suggestions are appreciated. Even if its alternative options to beef up the 987.1 2.7L
 

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It's not because it is a Porsche forum that I say what I think is the best way to manage these kinds of dilemmas, but rather I finally stopped making it an either/or decision.

Or put another way, If I came to the conclusion that I desired another toy, I approached it like I was starting from scratch, rather than including the toy I already had. Of course there are times that I could easily part ways with a car/truck/motorcycle that I just wasn't enamored with, but that often wasn't the case.

One of the advantages of this approach is that you can spread the miles over multiple vehicles, which literally reduces wear and cost of ownership for each. And regardless of how enjoyable any vehicle may start out to be, familiarity can dull the honeymoon. Alternating between vehicles does just the opposite.

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It's not because it is a Porsche forum that I say what I think is the best way to manage these kinds of dilemmas, but rather I finally stopped making it an either/or decision.

Or put another way, If I came to the conclusion that I desired another toy, I approached it like I was starting from scratch, rather than including the toy I already had. Of course there are times that I could easily part ways with a car/truck/motorcycle that I just wasn't enamored with, but that often wasn't the case.

One of the advantages of this approach is that you can spread the miles over multiple vehicles, which literally reduces wear and cost of ownership for each. And regardless of how enjoyable any vehicle may start out to be, familiarity can dull the honeymoon. Alternating between vehicles does just the opposite.

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Beautifully put, i think seperating myself from what i have and what i want is a really mindful way to look at these dillemas. It’s difficult nonetheless, i really should get into a 135i to have a better opinion
 

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Beautifully put, i think seperating myself from what i have and what i want is a really mindful way to look at these dillemas. It’s difficult nonetheless, i really should get into a 135i to have a better opinion
So, let's say you set your mind to one. At a glance, you need somewhere between 18k and 25k to fetch one with plenty of life left in it. Perhaps even a really nice example if you take time off the table. (I'm an old geezer, so patience has become my ally, rather than the worst influence in these matters)

So first go about sorting whatever needs to be sorted in order to fund the acquisition. Once that's tacked, it far more enjoyable to shop, again with no anxiousness or hurry, but rather waiting for just that 135I that is capable of being smitten by.

The first time two toys are available and they both scratch different itches, you will absolutely love those mornings where you haven't even given it a thought of which you will take that day. It's a delight. And another bonus is if you decide to do maintenance or modifications to one of them, that's no longer near the burden because you aren't in a quandary.

I currently have a very well sorted ND Miata and a recently acquired 987.1 Boxster. You'd think that there would be a lot of overlap between the two, but it's amazing how different they accomplish the mission. (top down roadster with amazing cornering prowess) And I am constantly asked which is my favorite. It's not even the slightest misleading when I respond "The one I'm in at the moment"

Life is short. (way shorter than many realize) I found that I have way more enjoyment out of two or more cheaper depreciated grin machines than I would out of one late(est) model anything. And once you get a rhythm at this model, you start to accumulate.

By the way, I know little about 135I's. I just might go read up on them. :)

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.I wanted to get some input on what people think about this move, and whether or not it makes sense. And perhaps gives some insight on reliability and what i can expect if i go down the 135i route with a n54
Modifying the 2.7 just to reach the stock power of the 3.4 would be more expensive than upgrading to a 3.4 would cost. You wouldn't even reach the stock power of a N54. Nobody should modify a 2.7.

The N54 can make awesome power, but you have to be willing to accept that dumb and expensive things are going to break. Can you afford a $300 valve cover every few years so that it doesn't leak oil onto the turbo and catch on fire? This article is worth a read: It’s Time To Have That Talk – N54 Reliability – Precision Sport Industries

The 135i is a mini.
Not the generation that Aphuzes wants to purchase.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hmmm. Quick Google or Carvana search renders a bunch of these


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Right on, the manual transmission, and m package ones as it comes with an oil cooler (not 1m) is the one im looking at. I see them go from $14k-20k CAD. I think they are well priced for the performance. A lot of interesting work can be done to these little buggers
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Modifying the 2.7 just to reach the stock power of the 3.4 would be more expensive than upgrading to a 3.4 would cost. You wouldn't even reach the stock power of a N54. Nobody should modify a 2.7.

The N54 can make awesome power, but you have to be willing to accept that dumb and expensive things are going to break. Can you afford a $300 valve cover every few years so that it doesn't leak oil onto the turbo and catch on fire? This article is worth a read: It’s Time To Have That Talk – N54 Reliability – Precision Sport Industries



Not the generation that Aphuzes wants to purchase.
Precisely! I've looked far and wide and there is no effective way to get substantial gains out of a 2.7 (without making a bad investment in my opinion). Sure headers, IPD plenum, tune, etc will all add little by little but nothing like what im looking for. The N54 does come with its stupid problems, i've come to understand things like wastegate rattle, HPFP, valve covers, and crap like that comes with the ownership of those cars. But the n54 comes with forged rods while the n55 comes with cast rods, along with a few other things makes the n54 more desirable for tuning at least.

I think it comes down to the experience I'm looking for, I love the refined ride the Cayman provides, it's always predictable when it kicks out and it's such a well balanced car that feels very connected to the road; but upgrading to a 3.4 is not a option im able to take on right now; and more performance is what i'm looking for. I think the short wheel base of the 135i (which is slightly longer than the caymans), the coupe styling, being a bit wild and unruly, and not being much heavier, along with the ability to work on the engine much more is what peaks my interest.

Would you have any other cars as recommendation in this price range while considering the thing's i've said?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
It also has the engine in the wrong place.
You want hp? Get a C5 or C6 Z06?
Good options, but i think the corvettes are slightly more expensive, they're around 30k from what I can see. No replacement for displacement though right?
 

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E90 N54 owner. You're right the N54 is highly tunable, but the added power will expose other shortcomings (cooling, suspension, possibly fueling), and depending on the gains over stock you're seeking, be aware the MT is more robust than the AT. Also, the BMW electronics seem to have many more issues than we see reported for the 987. There was a fair amount of forum debate over whether all or just earlier N54s came with forged internals. I do love the low-end torque of the N54.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
E90 N54 owner. You're right the N54 is highly tunable, but the added power will expose other shortcomings (cooling, suspension, possibly fueling), and depending on the gains over stock you're seeking, be aware the MT is more robust than the AT. Also, the BMW electronics seem to have many more issues than we see reported for the 987. There was a fair amount of forum debate over whether all or just earlier N54s came with forged internals. I do love the low-end torque of the N54.
Thank you for the insight! Yeah I’ve come to understand that if im upgrading one thing another thing needs to follow. I think my worry is how much I’ll need to put into the suspension to be happy with it (I’ve heard about how it has plenty body roll). At the end of the day i think I’m looking for something to be rough with, the cayman has been phenomenal with taking a beating and throwing it around corners (i know this forum isn’t fond of it but i really do love going sideways a lot in that car). Im just looking for that extra… oomph if you will.
 

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You're comparing apples to oranges. In the handling / road feel department, the Bimmer will feel like a basic economy car compared to the 987. The 1 chassis, which I think is closely related to the e36 chassis, just can't compete. I can't speak to what type of power you can squeeze from the n54, but I can tell you there are tons of plastic cooling pieces that fail at alarming rates. Ask me how I know?? To me, it's a no brainer: 987.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
You're comparing apples to oranges. In the handling / road feel department, the Bimmer will feel like a basic economy car compared to the 987. The 1 chassis, which I think is closely related to the e36 chassis, just can't compete. I can't speak to what type of power you can squeeze from the n54, but I can tell you there are tons of plastic cooling pieces that fail at alarming rates. Ask me how I know?? To me, it's a no brainer: 987.
Yup you got that right, plethora of bad parts throughout that bmw. It’s unfortunate because it has such a great platform to build off of, that frame really could have done wonders for bmw (probably why they have a focus on the m235i’s now)
I’ve had a few friends suggest a 2013 audi s5 now, another car to consider at this point but frankly at 4000lbs and a longer wheel base it might steer me away. I just wish i could turbocharge the 987.1 for a fraction of the price. I love everything about the cayman :/
 

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I know I sound like an tape recorder stuck on a repeating loop, but since you are really just describing ONE itch that the Cayman doesn't scratch, although you are willingly admitting that it does scratch a lot of other itches, and fantastically so, then search for something that addresses that itch. Or put another way, expand your stable of horses so that you have all the bases covered at some point.

Grab something that is fully depreciated but is a HOOT to push the gas pedal down on. Sure, it's a different mission statement than your Porsche, but that's the idea!

The only alternative is to throw all your eggs in one basket and get a high horsepower to weight ratio car that handles like a Cayman. Problem is, that's just another Cayman, but one that co$t 6 figures. Lol

For much le$$, I have accumulated a "stable" with the Mazdarati, for when I am in a go-cart mood, a 987.1 for when I want that Porsche flavored (refined) ride-on-rails, a few motorcycles for various missions, all of which have hp/weight ratios that cars can only dream of, and ironically the most powerful vehicle is my F150 Ecoboost, tuned to 450RWHP/600lbs torque.

Only the truck required a car payment. Everything else was me quickly pouncing on an opportunity that just popped up.

I'd love to see you keep your Cayman and go find something that can breath a little fire and scratch that 0-60 itch. Heck, go rent a hotrod for a day and have a ball. Then give them back the keys and the car until you need your next fix. :)



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I've owned 2 135is over the years, a 2008 and a 2012, and now a 2007 Cayman S. The 135i was a fun car, but very handling limited from the factory. It understeered badly due to not enough rubber up front, as well as factory run flats. Once properly set up with wider non-runflat tires on Apex racing wheels(245 in the front, 255 rear) and Ohlins R&T coilovers, it became an absolute weapon of a backroad barnstormer though, with great handling balance.

The problem for me was reliability and resale value. I didn't want to be sitting on a timebomb (mine had several major issues during my ownership including a failed oil cooler that bled oil all over the place) only to have it be worth peanuts when it came time to sell. So, I jumped ship to the Cayman S, and for the most part have been happy with it, minus some issues not of it's own doing. (It was damaged in shipping).

I've getting ready to move on from the Cayman after 5 years, and likely will be within a couple thousand dollars of what I paid for it on resale, plus it simply has so much more soul than the BMWs did. There is no substitute for that sound.
 
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For those folks who have tracked their cars extensively, would it be fair to say that the way to better track times is to upgrade suspension, tires and brakes rather than add HP? I think the answer to the OP’s question about BMW vs Cayman is about which part of the car you want to upgrade. If you keep the Cayman, the upgrade money is likely about better handling than power.
 

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For those folks who have tracked their cars extensively, would it be fair to say that the way to better track times is to upgrade suspension, tires and brakes rather than add HP? I think the answer to the OP’s question about BMW vs Cayman is about which part of the car you want to upgrade. If you keep the Cayman, the upgrade money is likely about better handling than power.
It depends on how long the straights are at a given track. It takes a LOT of handling to make up for the other car having 100 extra HP at somewhere like Road America or Daytona.
 

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@up - I've eaten new Mustangs GT alive in my 987.2S on Road America, that's 140 horses more, lol! Then came a GT350 that was a superior car.

Anyway - the choice is simple - 987.1 base. I am going to buy one for my wife in tiptronic, she loves mine so much. Put exhaust on this thing.
 
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