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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been driving my Cayman S daily, though winters here in Colorado Springs, CO for the past three winters. I run Porsche recommended Michelin Pilot Alpins on a spare set of standard Cayman S 18" wheels. My previous car was a '98 Audi A4 quattro with a fat rear sway bar and two sets of wheels, with summer and winter tires respectively. I have yet to get stuck in the Cayman and have always made it to my destination but have had to turn around on icy hills on several occasions.

I REALLY like the balance of this mid-engined car. I don't miss the inherent understeer of my previous Audi, but I do miss its ice- and snow-worthiness.

This summer I plan to replace standard open differential with a Quaife TBD 'limited slip' differential to help with slippery and loose surfaces and to enjoy the dry performance benefits.

So, my dilemma is do I proceed with my plans to increase the winter-worthiness of the Cayman, or to I give up and replace it with a 997 911 C4?

Anyone here with experience with both a Cayman with winter tires and limited slip, and a 911 C4 with winter tires on snowy or icy roads?

My assumption is that the C4 will always be better with snow tires. but how much better... subjectively?

So, if the standard Cayman S with winter tires has a winter-worthiness rating of 5, from 1 to 10, 10 being the best performance on icy or snowy surfaces. Where would a Limited Slip put it? Where would a C4 be?

  1. Cayman S with summer performance tires: 2
  2. Cayman S with winter performance tires: 5
  3. Cayman S with winter performance tires and Limited Slip: ???
  4. 997 911 C4 with winter performance tires: ???
  5. 997 911 C4 with winter performance tires and Limited Slip: ???
  6. Audi A4 with winter tires: 9 (would be 10 if not for serious front-weight bias.)
 

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I live a little north of New York city and was thinking of trading in my Cayenne winter car for a more fun 997 C4 or Targa 4 as we don't see that much snow here and I totally miss driving the Cayman in the winters. Upon posing the question wether the C4 or Targa 4 will be okay for winter use, my dealership's service department head told me that I am better off using the Cayman S as the winter car instead of a C4 or Targa 4, as he said it handles better than the 997 x4 in the snow when fitted with 17 inch wheels and winter specific tires. He's been to Germany several times to test out all the different Porsches, and explained that for non-PCCB brakes on the Cayman S you can go down to the 17 inch wheels that's standard on the base cayman, and elaborated that from MY 09 on wards both models share the same size brakes, only caliper color is red on the CS, so the 17" wheels that comes standard on the base Cayman today will definitely fit the S. That way a skinnier tire set up can be used. Limited slip will definitely help too, but between 997 x4 vs. Cayman on 17" rims, the Cayman he said is better.

I don't have any personal experience regarding this matter, but I do trust his opinion. After all they're turning down a potential sale of a 911 with this recommendation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the input.

I can believe that the Cayman would handle corners better due to the front-rear weight balance. And, I like the 17" wheel and snows suggestion. I'm sure the narrower width will help.

But I still wonder about simple forward traction... getting up short steep icy hills for example. Are the limited slip and the narrower tires just getting me incrementally better traction where the 911 997 C4 might provide a twice the traction?

It looks like the 997v2 all wheel drive is the same as the Magnetically Actuated Clutch arrangement in the new Turbo that apportions up to 100% front or rear on demand. I have a hard time believing that in a forward-traction situation, that ANY two-wheel drive arrangement could beat it.

My wife's '94 Audi S4 with snow tires can stop on an Icy hill near our house, and start from there no problem. My car, of course, without limited slip and without the narrower 17" wheels, just spins the tires on the same test. I have to back down the hill and get a running start.

I understand I am talking about subjective evaluations... and I really want to keep the Cayman. I just don't want to spend a thousands of dollars making it a little better i the snow, when there may be a much better solution for similar money.
 

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I've been driving my Cayman S daily, though winters here in Colorado Springs, CO for the past three winters. I run Porsche recommended Michelin Pilot Alpins on a spare set of standard Cayman S 18" wheels. My previous car was a '98 Audi A4 quattro with a fat rear sway bar and two sets of wheels, with summer and winter tires respectively. I have yet to get stuck in the Cayman and have always made it to my destination but have had to turn around on icy hills on several occasions.

I REALLY like the balance of this mid-engined car. I don't miss the inherent understeer of my previous Audi, but I do miss its ice- and snow-worthiness.

This summer I plan to replace standard open differential with a Quaife TBD 'limited slip' differential to help with slippery and loose surfaces and to enjoy the dry performance benefits.

So, my dilemma is do I proceed with my plans to increase the winter-worthiness of the Cayman, or to I give up and replace it with a 997 911 C4?

Anyone here with experience with both a Cayman with winter tires and limited slip, and a 911 C4 with winter tires on snowy or icy roads?

My assumption is that the C4 will always be better with snow tires. but how much better... subjectively?

So, if the standard Cayman S with winter tires has a winter-worthiness rating of 5, from 1 to 10, 10 being the best performance on icy or snowy surfaces. Where would a Limited Slip put it? Where would a C4 be?

  1. Cayman S with summer performance tires: 2
  2. Cayman S with winter performance tires: 5
  3. Cayman S with winter performance tires and Limited Slip: ???
  4. 997 911 C4 with winter performance tires: ???
  5. 997 911 C4 with winter performance tires and Limited Slip: ???
  6. Audi A4 with winter tires: 9 (would be 10 if not for serious front-weight bias.)
I drove my CS all winter. I don't think C4 is going to be much better because the only problem I had getting around had to do with ground clearance. The C4 is just as low as the Cayman...I think. If there's a difference in ground clearance that would be advantage C4. Cayman with winter/performance tires (I had Pirellis) will handle winter just fine and is a ball to drive in the winter without Limted Slip. There's enough weight in back to pull it though most anything.

Unless we're pro-rallying, arguing about which car is better in winter is really pretty much up to what you like driving in winter. I drove an A4 to work for 6 weeks this winter. It was great but it had really old all season tires. It still worked but it was not impossible to slide the thing around quite easily, especially turning and especially the front wheels. A little power mid-corner would tighten things up and I learned to use that. My regular car, a 3.2 A6, was in for some work. I liked the A4, but it had aluminum trim on the interior that looked very cheap to me. I also didn't like the non-linear feel of the turbo motor. It had great power though.

A4 with proper winter tires would allow some very crazy antics, I'm sure. Is that "better"? To me, you can either get through or you can't. The rest is feel and fun. Cayman is more fun.
 

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My relevant experience is:
- 911 Carrera (2WD) with LSD and winter tires (5 winters)
- CS without and then with Quaife and winter tires (4 winters)
- A6 Quattro with AS tires (2 cars - 8 winters)

The CS pre-Quaife was inferior to the 911. The Quaife made a very significant improvement (subjectively 20%) and brought the CS on par with the 911. With the Quaife I have no problem with driveways/hills that had stopped me in my tracks.

However, the A6 with its AWD, higher ground clearance and greater weight is my vehicle of choice on bad snow days even with "just" AS tires. With winters it would be practically unstoppable. I think it's axiomatic that AWD beats 2WD in the snow with comparable tires.
 

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You need a 1968 Oldsmobile Toronado with a bazillion pounds over the front wheels. I had one of those, it would go anywhere. :)

Actually I did have a C4S that I drove briefly in the snow (with summer tires) as well as the Cayman (again with summer tires) not necessarily on purpose, we just get freak snow storms at times. :) I was able to get around in both as long as the snow wasn't too deep or the slope too steep, snow tires would have made it better. I don't really recall one car being far superior to the other because the C4S will only divert so much power to the front wheels, so if you don't have traction up front anyway, I'm not sure that it much matters, but of course could in certain circumstances. Then again maybe the better balance of the Cayman keeps you out of situations that the 911 would let you get into, again hard to say and likely dependent on the circumstances at hand. I don't think the C4S is anywhere near as fun on the track though! :)
 

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You need a 1968 Oldsmobile Toronado with a bazillion pounds over the front wheels. I had one of those, it would go anywhere. :)

Actually I did have a C4S that I drove briefly in the snow (with summer tires) as well as the Cayman (again with summer tires) not necessarily on purpose, we just get freak snow storms at times. :) I was able to get around in both as long as the snow wasn't too deep or the slope too steep, snow tires would have made it better. I don't really recall one car being far superior to the other because the C4S will only divert so much power to the front wheels, so if you don't have traction up front anyway, I'm not sure that it much matters, but of course could in certain circumstances. Then again maybe the better balance of the Cayman keeps you out of situations that the 911 would let you get into, again hard to say and likely dependent on the circumstances at hand. I don't think the C4S is anywhere near as fun on the track though! :)
Buick Lesabre here! A tank.
 

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I find it hard to believe all wheel drive won't win every time. My previous experience with S4 Quattro and current Subaru says AWD is best for pure winter driving. Must admit tho I've never driven a C4.:cheers:
 

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I also have a hard time believing that in a straight forward test a Cayman would ever beat an AWD vehicle. In minimal snow will in handle better in corners? In a lot of cases, I'd wager so. I've driven my CS w/winter tires in 2 winters and prior had an Audi TT with AS tires. The TT easily beat the CS in terms of winter traction, but I've never gotten stuck in either car.

Personally, I wouldn't base the C4 vs CS decision solely on winter performance. Will the C4 have better winter traction? Most likely. Will it be able to get through conditions that the CS can't? Possibly, but how often will you run into that vs how much do you enjoy the Cayman's handling?

Either way, if your biggest concern in life is choosing between a Cayman S and a 911 C4, I'd say things are going pretty well :) There is no wrong choice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks everyone...

STLPCA
I assume the 911 Carrera you spoke of was a C2, not C4? 'Axiomatic that AWD beats 2WD', i agree, nice vocabulary. Thanks for the input regarding the Quaife on your Cayman.

Ken
Thanks for the input on the C4s and Kansas snow vs Cayman.

Ken and Christopher
No thanks on the Tornado or the LeSabre. I did some time on the opposite end of the spectrum as a teenager in a Fiat 128 in Arkansas. 55mph front-wheel-spin on rain soaked highways... three-wheel drifts around tight corners... football players used to pick up the back end and turn it around backwards when I'd parallel park it. Burnt exhaust valves, broken throttle linkage... Those were the days.

Maks
Yes, nice to be worrying about Porsche snow performance rather than where I'm going to get my next meal, or where I can hide in order to not get shot. We are all VERY, VERY fortunate people!
 

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Try a set of studded snow tires along with your limited slip on the Cayman. We put a set on my wife's Audi TT Quattro and can pretty much ignore the conditions.
 

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..
  1. Cayman S with summer performance tires: 2
  2. Cayman S with winter performance tires: 5
  3. Cayman S with winter performance tires and Limited Slip: ???
  4. 997 911 C4 with winter performance tires: ???
  5. 997 911 C4 with winter performance tires and Limited Slip: ???
  6. Audi A4 with winter tires: 9 (would be 10 if not for serious front-weight bias.)
7. Cayman S with proper winter tires: 10

Huge difference from the Alpin-Sport high-speed type tires to nordic winter tires like the Nokian Hakkapeliitta.
 

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7. Cayman S with proper winter tires: 10

Huge difference from the Alpin-Sport high-speed type tires to nordic winter tires like the Nokian Hakkapeliitta.
+1

As stated few postings above it is axiomatic that AWD will beat 2WD with similar tires in slippery conditions but I would bet my money on Cayman with Real Winter Tires(tm) and with some form of mechnical limited slip (LSD/TBD) against AWD with summer tires or "high performance all seasons".

With proper winter tires and LSD/TDB Cayman's ground clearance will become the issue, not the traction itself.
 

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7. Cayman S with proper winter tires: 10

Huge difference from the Alpin-Sport high-speed type tires to nordic winter tires like the Nokian Hakkapeliitta.
Huge in several ways. Hakkas really work in snow and even ice, but take a big toll in day to day handling on wet or dry winter roads. If the roads around you are really deep a lot of the time, you want something like Hakkas or the ice versions of many popular winter tires.

If you drive in snow only occasionally, like I do living in Chicago suburbs, Pirelli 340s are pretty great, giving very decent dry and wet road handling in cooler temps and what I would call very decent snow performance. I never got even close to stuck even with the full stock tread width front and rear.
Only problems occurred when snow was deeper than the ground clearance of the car.

I knew I could have bought winter tires with better snow traction, but I've had Blizzaks with amazing snow traction for the 3% of the time I'm in snow but the rest of the time, my car was mush. Not worth it. Performance Winters have the right balance for me.

Michelin Alpins are also a very nice tire, but i got Pirellis because of the good experience I had with a set of P210s on my M3. I really like driving the CS with the Pirellis. I'd leave them on for driving around town all year. They're that good, but any winter tire will wear quickly above about 60F, so I'm putting them away for next winter.

If you want max snow traction for a winter rally or you drive on rural unplowed roads a lot, you probably need Happas or something near them, but you will pay a price in fun factor on dry roads.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Nokian Hakkapeliitta R

Thanks yvind, klehtine and SixIsEnough,

I see that Nokian makes tires for the Cayman. Very happy. Thanks for the recommendation. I'll replace the Pilot Alpins with these when they wear out, and probably stick with the 18s. This fall I'll do the Quaife TBD diff, and let folks know how that does, with the Alpins. When I get the Hakkas, I'll post a third time with feedback.

Peace.
 

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Nokian does not make Hakkapeliitta for the Cayman, it just happens that they come in a dimension that kind of fits.
I need 18" wheels and then I end up with 225 front and 245 rear, they are slightly smaller than factory specc, but it is well within acceptable limits.

Porsche does not recommend these as far as I know, but then I never asked, either.

I had Pirelli Sotto Zero the previous two seasons, they are usable when they are new, and very good on wet and cold roads, but snow and ice performance is not even close to a real winter tire.
Most ordinary cars have summer tires with quite less performance on wet or dry roads than these.
Speed rating was 240, but they start to feel less solid at around 200-220, so it's not like the ps2 in the summer.
They eventually wore out, no thread left, and then they are useless, which really is no surprise.

The real winter tires will also be rather wide, and that helps wet and dry road performance, but it will never be anything like a summer tire, they are unstable at speed, not very precise, and there is less grip.
Still, due to the car and the tire width, they will perform very well compared to winter tires that ordinary cars run on.

It all comes down to what you want.
For me, the winter tires are more fun, because I can really have fun with the car when conditions are good, with nice snow on the roads.
On dry or wet winter roads the driving is never fun anyway, so that does not really matter.

Biggest drawback for me is if I go down europe for skiing, then there will be lots of driving on autobahn and similar roads, normally you never encounter snow or ice before entering the mountain villages in the alps.
Autobahn on real winter tires is not good, both handling wise and the speed rating dictates very low speed, and I suspect they will wear out pretty fast, and more so the faster you go.
 
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